Five College Women's Studies Research Center

Imagining Female Sports Fans

On Tuesday, April 3 at noon in the Ainsworth Classroom in Ainsworth Gym at Smith College, Kim Toffoletti, Five College Women's Studies Research Associate from Deakin University, will give a talk entitled “Imagining Female Sports Fans.”

This presentation examines how women sports fans have been represented in film. It surveys those films where women appear as supporters of sport and the gender stereotyping of women’s sports fandom. Particular attention will be paid to the 2006 movie Offside, which tells the story of 6 Iranian women football fans who attempt to gain access to a World Cup qualifying match. Offside, I argue, offers a different rendition of the female sports fan than can be found in existing cinematic accounts. Focusing on the ways that women negotiate their illegitimate status in the sporting arena, and the pleasures they derive from watching sport, this talk reflects on the extent to which Offside unsettles western myths of the Muslim woman as either ‘liberated’ or ‘oppressed’. These themes are tied into a consideration of how portrayals of female sports fans influence broader social perceptions of women who follow sport. This talk is co-sponsored with the Smith College Program for the Study of Women and Gender. (Toffoletti flyer)