Sex, Power, Status, and America's Pastime




Brownson, Connie A.

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Sport groupies figure prominently in popular culture, portrayed primarily as vixens determined to seduce athletes for many reasons including the desire to engage in promiscuous sex, to elevate their social status, or to secure financial stability. Relevant literature, however, in the social sciences is scant at best. Grounded in exchange theory, this qualitative research presents a thorough investigation into groupie motives and behavior, their social exchange interaction with athletes, and how this phenomenon relates to the larger social world. The sample consists of twelve female confirmed sport groupies. Demographic data was collected through a brief survey instrument and narrative data through open-ended interviews. The groupie-athlete relationships are analyzed conceptually in relation to the marginalization of women through sport; patriarchy as the social structure m which gender relationships are negotiated; sexuality objectification and commodification and its relation to the disempowerment of women; and the sexual deviance of sport groupies. The findings support the belief that as long as the power differential between genders remains imbalanced, women will continue to utilize their physical and emotional resources within cultural norms or as deviants to enter relationships with men to achieve the level and type of power and status they seek.



groupies, sports, social structure, sexual behavior


Brownson, C. A. (2003). Sex, power, status, and America's pastime (Unpublished thesis). Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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