Feminization of the 2002 World Cup and women’s fandom

Kim Hyun Mee, Hong Sung Hee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The history of soccer shows a happy union of masculinity and nationalism. In the case of the 2002 World Cup games, however, at least in Korean society, soccer seems to have become a feminized event, with the main ‘masculine’ symbols associated with soccer losing their powers. This claim that the World Cup hosted in Korea was ‘feminized’, is based on the following two factors. First, Korean women participated in the games in unprecedented numbers, as the majority of consumers and active supporters. It is said that half or two thirds of those cheering the games were women.2 The participation of women pushed out the ‘soju (cheap and popular Korean liquor) packs’, ‘bad language under the pretence of cheering’ and the ‘hooligans’ who romanticized collective violence. Instead, they filled the stadium and the streets with style, vibrance and energy. Second, women transformed the soccer games into a space where they could project their ‘sexual desires’, hence breaking the linkage of harsh solidarity and tension between the macho male players and the equally macho male supporters. The cheerleaders, who had been the only women shared between those two groups of men, disappeared, while women in stadiums, on the streets, and in front of the TV screens enjoyed imaginary and direct ‘heterosexual’ romance with the male soccer players. In short, women brought soccer, which had been the symbol of men’s exclusive homosocial solidarity, out into the ‘open world’ of romance and fantasy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Inter-Asia Cultural Studies Reader
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781134083978
ISBN (Print)9780415431347
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2007 Kuan-Hsing Chen and Chua Beng Huat; chapters © 2007 the contributors, All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)


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