The notion of sports fandom is generally built on the ways men understand and relate to sport. In this research, we explore how women, who come together in an online place, define and understand sport with the goal of better understanding female fandom. Using Coakley’s ((2004) Sports in Society: Issues and Controversies. New York: McGraw-Hill) framework for conceptualizing sport and Lenskyj’s ((1994) Women, Sport, and Physical Activity: Selected Research Themes. Gloucester, ON, Canada: Sport Information Resource Centre for Sport Canada) feminist approaches to competition, we analyzed the profiles of women bloggers who write about sports in two online communities, BlogHer and Women Talk Sports, to examine their relationship to sport from a feminist perspective. The analysis suggests that women’s interest is predominantly reflected, not through consumption, but through participation. In addition, women in these networks complicated dominant ideologies about the role of sport as many of them considered participation and competition as a site for building connections and empowering other women. Finally, women who wrote about sport fandom engaged in the construction of “woman’s perspective” on men’s sports and in advocacy of women’s sports. We argue that these women bloggers offer an alternative approach and, thus, may challenge the masculine understanding of performance-oriented institutionalized sports.
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- women bloggers