Got Balls? Examining the Association between Sports Fandom and Hegemonic Masculinity
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This research explores the role of the Big 4 sports leagues (NBA: National Basketball Association, MLB: Major League Baseball, NHL: National Hockey League and NFL: National Football League) in the reproduction of hegemonic masculinity in North America. It has been argued that sports reinforce damaging and oppressive masculine values. Few studies, however, examine the extent of this phenomenon. A quantitative methodology is employed to examine the extent of the association between sports fandom and the propensity for North American hegemonic masculinity. This study shows that sports fandom is positively associated with hegemonic masculinity. However, when controlling for demographic and other external variables, the association only remains significant for high intensity fans. This research sheds light on the complexity of the association between sports fandom and hegemonic masculinity, and asserts that this association is more selective than it appears. The implications of this study include exploring how and why there is a positive association between high intensity sports fans and hegemonic masculinity; the potential contribution of the Big 4 sports leagues to what Connell (2003) terms a ‘global gender order’; and the broad social consequences of hegemonic masculinity beyond sport. Finally, the implications segue into the task of developing campaigns to halt and reverse the spread of hegemonic masculinity.