Home List of Titles From cake stalls to mission statements: the changing roles of the women's supporter group in the culture of Australian Football League clubs
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- From cake stalls to mission statements: the changing roles of the women's supporter group in the culture of Australian Football League clubs
- Gye, Lisa
- Men have always dominated Australian Rules football. To date, only men have competed in the premier competition, the Australian Football League (AFL). Until relatively recently, the game was almost exclusively administered by men. It was not until the appointment of Elaine Findlay to the Fitzroy Football Club board in 1985 and Beverly Knight to the Essendon Football Club board in 1993 that women began to take up roles of governance in relation to football. If one were to attempt to categorise the structure of gender relations within Australian Rules football culture throughout the history of the game, one might argue that Australian Rules football is structured by patriarchy in that it is men, and particularly those who embody the kind of ideal masculinity required for success in the sport, who hold the most powerful positions in its organisation, playing groups and administration. While this is a useful way to understand the general field of gender relations in Australian Rules football, it does not necessarily account for specific relations that many women have with both the game and the clubs they support. Despite the overtly masculinist characteristics of Australian Rules football culture, women have, since the game's very beginnings, been critical to the ongoing success of the game in general and the AFL, in particular. The nature of women's engagement with and support for Australian Rules football needs closer examination if one is to understand how they negotiate their own spaces within this masculine domain. This chapter examines the role played by women's supporter groups within AFL clubs by undertaking a case study of the women's supporter groups at the St Kilda Football Club---the St Kilda Angels and the Saints Hearts. These groups have been selected as they represent, as argued below, the two different kinds of women's supporter groups, one that is largely self-managed (the Angels) and one that is mainly managed from within the club itself (the Hearts). The fact that the two different groups are aligned with one club and its administration makes them a useful point for comparison. The aim of the examination is to determine whether, in this instance, St Kilda's women's supporter groups allow their women members to negotiate and occupy meaningful and empowering roles that impact on the culture of this particular Australian Rules football club in ways that achieve positive outcomes for the women involved.
- Publication type
- Book chapter
- Women, football and history / Robert Hess and Nicki Wedgewood (eds.), Chapter 8, pp. 153-171
- Publication year
- AFL; Australia; Australian football; Fans; Gender studies; Football; Sports supporters; Women
- Maribyrnong Press
- Publisher URL
- Copyright © 2011.
- Peer reviewed