Gender and Power in Fantasy Sports

How'd your bracket do after the weekend's NFL playoffs games? This week's review looks at the gender and power politics behind fantasy sports.

Whose Game? Gender and Power in Fantasy Sports

Kissane, Rebecca Joyce. by Rebecca Joyce Kissane and Sarah Winslow Temple, 2020
230p bibl index, 9781439918869 $94.50, 9781439918876 $34.95, 9781439918883 $34.95

Whose game?: Gender and Power in Fantasy Sports book cover

Using a detailed, multimethod approach, Kissane (Lafayette College) and Winslow (Clemson Univ.) focus on everyday players participating in fantasy sports leagues in the US. They concentrate primarily on gender, while also highlighting the intersecting domains of race and class privilege, to compare and contrast fantasy sports participation with consumption of traditional spectator sports. They analyze the gendered experiences of men and women as related to their participation in and perceptions of the male-dominated space of fantasy sports, showing how gender influences those experiences. In particular, they illustrate how both structural and ideological factors work to advantage men and disadvantage women in this space, emphasizing how women either resist or reproduce the existing stereotypes. A major contribution to the discourse is in their newly coined concept of “jock statsculinity.” As they explain, this unique, expanded, and more accessible form of masculinity is found only in fantasy sports: a new, gendered way for male players to perform their masculinity. In the end, the authors conclude that fantasy sports is a gendered space that ultimately reproduces the stereotypical ideologies of gender, race, and class found in traditional sports, a domain which by all accounts favors “white, class-privileged men.” These findings adeptly answer the title question of who dominates and controls fantasy sports.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower- and upper-division undergraduates. Graduate students, faculty, and researchers. General readers.
A. Curtis, Lake Erie College
Interdisciplinary Subjects: Women’s & Gender Studies
Subject: Science & Technology – Sports & Recreation
Choice Issue: Mar 2021

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