Inclusive masculinity and the gendered politics of men's rugby

Eric Anderson, Rhidian McGuire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Citations (SciVal)


This ethnographic research uses one year of participant observation and 24 interviews to examine the construction of masculinity among team-members within a highly successful rugby squad, at a high-ranked academic university in England. We find that the players and coaches share a sporting field in which variations in their gendered belief systems are sharply contested. Teammates believe their coaches to be exhibiting an out-of-date, orthodox version of masculinity, and instead of adopting their coaches' perspectives on masculinity, players take a more inclusive approach to masculinity-making. The players on this team - all of whom identify as heterosexual - contest three fundamental principles of orthodox masculinity: homophobia, misogyny, and excessive risk-taking. These men do not degrade women or gay men in any measureable manner, and they are emotionally supportive of each other when ill or injured. We suggest that these results require a new way for theorizing about masculinity, and we therefore propose inclusive masculinity theory to frame our data and discuss our participants' complicated association with the political project of adopting more inclusive attitudes toward masculinity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-261
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Gender Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2010


  • homophobia
  • inclusive masculinity
  • masculinity
  • sport
  • rugby


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