Library Dissertation Showcase

How do perceptions towards gender and sexuality impact social interactions within male university football and rugby teams?

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2020

This research project has investigated attitudes towards the issues of gender and sexuality within male university football and rugby teams and how these attitudes shape team interactions. The aim was to establish whether male university football and rugby teams conform to the hegemonic masculinity which views the ideal athlete as a hypermasculine heterosexual male or whether university players have more inclusive attitudes towards gender and sexuality. Ideas from feminist theory have been used to analyse attitudes and behaviours of these male players. Semi-structured interviews and covert non- participant observations were the chosen research methods. Four football players and four rugby players were recruited for the interviews using snowball sampling. The observations were conducted using convenience sampling during one training session and one match per team, equating to four observations. Data was then analysed using thematic analysis and three key themes were identified, these were: Partial conformity to hegemonic masculinity, challenging hegemonic views on women and contextual responses to homophobia. Overall, this study found that the players conformed to some aspects of hegemonic masculinity, such as aggressive behaviours. However, they challenged the subordination of women and homosexuals as they respected women in sport and had inclusive attitudes towards gay players. Homophobic banter was used occasionally however, the players were willing to challenge discrimination of homosexual players in football and rugby.

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