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‘Everything is said with a smile’: homonegative speech acts in sport

Smits, F., Knoppers, A., & Elling-Machartzki, A. (2021). ‘Everything is said with a smile’: homonegative speech acts in sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport 56 (pp. 343-360)

The acceptance of gay males in sport is growing in various western countries. However, research also suggests that young males, including athletes, tend to engage in homonegative speech acts, often called microaggressions, that make it difficult for them to navigate practices of masculinity.

The authors used solicited diaries or diary logs written by (non-)heterosexual young male team sport athletes (aged 16–25) to investigate how they experienced and heard expressions of homonegative and heteronormative microaggressive speech acts. They drew on Foucault’s notion of discourse, Butler’s conceptualization of performativity of heteronormativity and Sue’s work on microaggressions to examine how microaggressive speech acts by young male athletes reflect current sexual and gender cultural norms.

The results revealed how homonegative speech acts were embedded in a gay aesthetic and abject femininity and used to endorse a desirable heteronormative masculinity. They  concluded that homonegative microaggressive speech acts contribute to the preservation of discursive heteronormativity in sport despite growing acceptance of non-heterosexual male athletes.

Uitgever(s): SAGE Publications,


‘Everything is said with a smile’: homonegative speech acts in sport

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Froukje Smits
Annelies Knoppers
Agnes Elling-Machartzki

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