Footballing Femininities: The Lived Experiences of Young Females Negotiating the 'Beautiful' Game

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


Within an era shaped by postfeminist rhetoric, female bodies are more visible within sports and beyond, and ‘girls’ are being celebrated or chastised for their determination, their drive to succeed and their ability to seize life chances—they are construed as powerful actors with freedom to choose (what to buy, what sports to play, where to work). Anita Harris (2004) and Angela McRobbie (2007) eloquently represent these new ‘celebrated’ postfeminist subjectivities in the image of the “Future Girls” and “Top Girls” who are thought to have successfully transgressed gender barriers. Based on research focused on girls’ lived experiences of football, we look to shed light on the complex discourses of young femininity and the way that footballing femininities are embodied and negotiated in postfeminist times. Participation in football by females is increasing globally, especially within England where it is considered to be the number one sport for females. Football thus offers a particularly illustrative research setting to explore new modes of female subjectivity within a sporting context. Drawing upon data generated by a range of participatory methods—moving methods such as football workshops, training diaries, drawing tasks and focus groups—this chapter looks to better understand the tensions of the postfeminist era for young females who see sports such as football as both an opportunity to assert their ability to move freely within masculine fields and simultaneously a threat to their ‘can do’ subjectivity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNew Sporting Femininities: Embodied Politics in Postfeminist Times
EditorsJessica Francombe-Webb, Kim Toffoletti, Holly Thorpe
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Sport
  • Physical Culture
  • Feminism Theories
  • postfeminism
  • Gender


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