subjugated to the existing hegemonic practices of male fandom andthe opportunities it continues to provide for acquiring and reinfor-cing masculine capital.For all its complexities and nuance, we would contend that thissort of rupture ultimately promotes and sustains hegemonic forms ofmasculinity, which include stereotypical, discriminatory, and prej-udicial attitudes that uphold the power and dominance of Whiteheterosexual men over subordinate masculinities and women infootball culture. This, in turn, reinforces the notion that, while mostmale fans might profess support for more women in men’s footballin the United Kingdom, the stadium must remain, essentially, amasculine space. This is not only a reassuring and pleasurable placeto watch the match, but also a site for enhancing and reinforcingdifferences between men and women by both promoting andaccepting sexist and misogynistic practices. In this way—anddespite claims about fan irony and friendly banter—we wouldargue that sexist abuse and forms of sex discrimination remaindamagingly entrenched in the culture of men’s football in the UnitedKingdom. More reluctant male fans—and some females—arebroadly complicit toward promulgating the hegemonic model inrelation to their own and others’gender-based practices. Indeed,some female fans seem pressed to embrace sexism and stereotypicalassumptions about women as fans, even as other females might(Ahead of Print)8Cleland, Pope, and Williams
strive openly to resist such views and practices (Dunn, 2014;Jones,2008;Pope, 2017).Overall, we would argue that there issomeevidence of acultural shift regarding the position of those fans who engage withU.K. club message boards, but that deeply embedded constraintsand hostility remain. Moving forward, as Dunn (2014) pointed out,there is little agreed policy on how sexism is to be challenged inU.K. football, with antisexism campaigns targeting the treatment ofwomen in the men’s game yet to gain popular support. But, as wehave seen with various high-profile and successful antisexisminitiatives driven by social media—#MeTooand #EverydaySexismimmediately come to mind—establishing momentum can be animportant element in achieving more widespread support for equitychange, even in a masculinist preserve such as U.K. football. In thiscontext, we would argue that many male fans seem to have graspedreasonably well the“theory”of a positive gender shift in footballculture, but support for concrete change to the entrenched citadelsof cultural masculinity across the men’s game in the UnitedKingdom still seems rather elusive.Notes1.We use the term“football”to describe the association game, thoughwe are aware that“soccer”is the preferred term in some parts of the world,particularly North America.2.Ultrasare a subcultural group of mainly young fans who are highlyorganized and committed to a particular club.