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Online fantasy sports : an opportunity for women to enter the arenas of sports and technology?

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sarah R. Wright (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site: http://library.uncw.edu/
Advisor
Colleen Reilly

Abstract: Sports and technology are two male-dominated realms, a characteristic that leaves less room for women to become involved. Fantasy sports, gaining popularity on the Internet, combine sports and technology. This thesis explores the ways online fantasy sports offer a unique playing field for both genders and an opportunity for true equality within that space. This exploration is accomplished through ideological discussion of sports and technology and rhetorical analysis of online fantasy sport websites and other online material by means of sport/gender and feminist theories. Scholars argue that sports and technology influence gender identity development. Male hegemony continues to thrive in sports because of existing stereotypes. Fantasy sports may eliminate many of these stereotypes because they are played online and, thus, certain aspects of the physical world do not apply. Also, trends show the gender gap in technology is decreasing, which disrupts male hegemony, yet technology still remains a male-dominated world. Studies indicate that women exhibit technological competence, yet come across barriers preventing them from becoming involved in computer technologies. The barriers and stereotypes of both technology and sports may be eliminated through knowledge and education, especially by encouraging a conscious awareness of gendered-thinking and the limitations of this thinking. Fantasy sports are currently male-dominated, yet there are few, if any, psychological or physical reasons why women cannot become involved in this activity. The exclusionary rhetoric of many fantasy sport websites hinders the involvement of women because women are often degraded or ridiculed for their interest in sports on certain fantasy sport websites. Yet many women are expressing an interest in fantasy sports, evident through websites such as Femmefan.com. This thesis outlines proposed characteristics of a female-oriented fantasy sport website, which might foster more female participation in fantasy sports. Conscious efforts to promote fantasy sports towards the female population could help decrease the gender gap in sports and technology and provide equality in the fantasy sport environment.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Fantasy games, Sex differences in sports, Women in technology
Subjects
Fantasy games
Sex differences in sports
Women in technology