Steven M. Ortiz’ new book The Sport Marriage: Women Who Make It Work (University of Illinois Press, 2020) offers an in-depth analysis of and perceive insight into what is means to be an athlete’s wife in a male-dominated institution of professional sports.
Ortiz draws from three decades of research that focuses on the experience of women who are married to male professional athletes. He found that these women were faced with enormous challenges as they attempted to establish and maintain their family and marriage. He found that the traditional sport marriage is career dominated and that the men prioritized their careers over everything else. Women who were married to pro-athletes were encouraged to own their subordination by following unwritten rules and strategically managing their self. These women were expected to contribute their emotional and physical labor to their husbands’ careers while adjusting to public life and trying to maintain the privacy of their family life. They were expected to manage power and cope with pervasive groups, over-involved mothers, a culture of infidelity, and husbands who prioritize team loyalty over all.
Steven M. Ortiz is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Oregon State University.
Michael O. Johnston, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at William Penn University. His most recent research, “The Queen and Her Royal Court: A Content Analysis of Doing Gender at a Tulip Queen Pageant“, was published in Gender Issues Journal. He researches culture, social identity, and collective representation as it is presented in everyday social interactions. You can learn more about him on his website, Google Scholar, follow him on Twitter @ProfessorJohnst, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.