Reflecting Masculinity: An Autoethnographic Exploration of a Stay-at-Home Father/Sports Fan’s Presentation of a Masculine Identity by Dale Anderson , Wayne State University
Miller (2008) calls for a move away from experience based authenticity justification in sport scholarship. Miller takes particular exception with authethnography (AE) as an experiential genre of scholarship. While I accept Miller’s position that critical analysis of sport does not need to be grounded in authenticity claims stemming from participation in and/or fandom of sport. I do think that it is vital that any sociological exploration of the role of sport and identity be rooted in critical self-reflexivity.
My role as a stay-at-home father has created a need to develop more nurturing and relational aspects of my identity. My self-perceived requirement of manhood has manifested itself in an identity of “authentic sports fan.” I examine my re/presentation of sport tropes to cope with an internalized pressure to be masculine in my public presentation of self. Using autoethnography, I explore my identity construction, via sport fandom, to maintain the appearance of masculinity. In the spirit of Miller’s critique of the focus on experience to gain legitimacy in the sport scholarship, I examine my own struggles with legitimacy “talking sports” due to a lack of sporting success. I close by reasserting the importance of autoethnography as a vital tool for critically analyzing the relationship of society and sport.
As alluded to by Miller, experience is a cornerstone to the sports’ epistemology. AE provides space for critical examination of the sociological implications of self presentation. A critical cultural approach to sport scholarship would benefit greatly from the incorporation of AE and critical ethnography.