Fantasy sports have the opportunity to provide a sporting community in which gendered physical presence plays no role—a space where men and women can compete and interact on a level playing field. Whose Game?: Gender and Power in Fantasy Sports
(Temple UP, 2020) shows, however, that while many turn to this space to socialize with friends or participate in a uniquely active and competitive fandom, men who play also depend on fantasy sports to perform a boyhood vision of masculinity otherwise inaccessible to them. Authors Rebecca Kissane
and Sarah Winslow
draw on a rich array of survey, interview, and observational data to examine how gender, race, and class frame the experiences of everyday fantasy sports players.
This pioneering book examines gendered structures and processes, such as jock statsculinity—a nerdish form of masculine one-upmanship—and how women are often rendered as outsiders. Ultimately, Whose Game?
demonstrates that fantasy sports are more than just an inconsequential leisure activity. This online world bleeds into participants’ social lives in gendered ways—forging and strengthening relationships but also taking participants’ time and attention to generate negative emotions, stress, discord, and unproductivity.
In this interview, Dr. Kissane, Dr. Winslow, and I discuss displays of masculinity, “jock statsculinity” as a type of hybrid masculinity, and connections to social networks, exclusionary practices, and heterosexuality. Whose Game?
is an excellent analysis of how fantasy sports contributes to the production and reproduction of gender in leisure activities. Likewise, the book contributes to the literature on the intersection of gender, class, and sexuality in sport. I recommend this book for students, professors, and anyone else interested in sociology of sport, gender and masculinity, media, and sexuality.
Dr. Rebecca Kissane is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Lafayette College and Editor-in-Chief of Sociology Compass.
Dr. Sarah Winslow is the Senior Associate Director of the Honors College, Director of the National Scholars Program, and Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice at Clemson University.
Krystina Millar is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University. Her research interests include gender, sociology of the body, and sexuality. You can find her on Twitter at @KrystinaMillar.