"Josh Wears Pink Cleats": Inclusive Masculinity on the Soccer Field

Adrian Adams

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133 Citations (SciVal)


In this ethnographic research of a college-based soccer team at a large liberal college in Northeast America, I document the existence of more inclusive versions of masculinity that contrast conventional understandings of male teamsport athletes. Using participant observation and 21 in-depth interviews, I show that these men demonstrate metrosexual and inclusive behaviors and attitudes. The styles of masculinity these men enact are more relaxed, liberal, and inclusive; they are well styled, well groomed, gay friendly, and they are emotionally and physically close to other men. They are far removed from the traditional orthodox sporting masculinities of previous generations. Symbolizing their difference, their gendered expressions also extend to the wearing of pink soccer boots (cleats), without homophobic judgment from teammates. I discuss the wearing of pink cleats as a symbolic sociological moment, revealing the changing nature of masculinities among this group of college-based soccer players.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-596
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • metrosexuality
  • inclusive masculinity
  • sport
  • masculinity
  • soccer


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