'Do full-grown men really play netball?’ Stigma and Men’s Experiences of Playing for an Elite London Netball Team

Nicola White, Philippa Velija, Brian Mcdonough

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    Abstract

    This article draws on Goffman’s work Stigma to provide a critical perspective on how elite male players manage their identity in a ‘female sport’. Following interviews with players from an all-male netball team in London, England, we critically discuss the different strategies that male netballers use to construct and manage their stigmatized identity(ies), through a variety of stages and strategies associated with stigma management over time, these include; Passing, Group Alignment, and Normalization, strategies which change over time. The article highlights how the individual strategies for stigma management adopted by the male players are a consequence of wider gender relations in sport and the ways in which most sports continue to be organized according to sex segregation. The men in this study experience stigma for playing netball because it is perceived as a sport for women, by exploring the experiences of male netballers it emphasizes how the continued gender binary approach to sport continues to create stigma for male and female athletes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1212-1226
    Number of pages15
    JournalSport in Society
    Volume26
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2022

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