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The role of physical education and other formative experiences of three generations of female football fans

Pope, Stacey and Kirk, David (2014) The role of physical education and other formative experiences of three generations of female football fans. Sport, Education and Society, 19 (2). pp. 223-240. ISSN 1357-3322

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Abstract

The experiences of female sports fans have been largely marginalised in academic research to date and little research has examined the formative sporting experiences of female spectators. This article draws on 51 semi-structured interviews with three generations of female fans of one (men's) professional football club (Leicester City), to consider the extent to which sports participation at school and elsewhere influences female football fandom, and also explores the influence of the family in channelling young females into or away from sport. We begin by examining the extent to which women had opportunities to experience football at school and how the type of school they attended affected these opportunities. We consider continuities and discontinuities between each generation's experiences by examining the influence of sexist teachers, the ubiquity of what the women viewed as 'body conscious girls' and the effects of peer pressure. Finally, we examine the ways in which families obstructed or facilitated young females' interest in football, and the importance of mainly male role models within and beyond the family. We conclude with some reflections on feminist praxis and its relevance for young people's formative sporting experiences.