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Making fútbol straight again: Homophobia, misogyny and the politics of Alexis Sánchez’s sexuality

Radical Americas

UCL Press

Chile, football, sports, sexuality, homophobia

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      This essay examines the media frenzy around the ‘love-life’ of Chilean football star Alexís Sánchez, particularly the 2017 announcement of his romantic involvement with actress Mayte Rodríguez. It discusses the media coverage as a poignant example of misogyny and homophobia in Chilean football culture, as well as one of the forces that perpetuates that culture. During the years of the 2018 World Cup qualifying process, Chile accrued the most severe fines of any country for homophobic behaviour at football matches. This fact has attracted some, but not much, attention. There are few spaces of such extreme gender segregation as football. Once football’s capacity to develop proper masculinity and heterosexuality was widely accepted, football directors, journalists and fans pushed women outside of the sport. The relationship between homophobia and sexism has a long history in the construction of football fandom, play and organization. Media played a crucial role in reinforcing the heteronormative and misogynist aspects of the sport. This essay discusses how these long-standing prejudices have hurt women journalists, fans and athletes. Please note that this essay was previously published in Spanish in De Cabeza.

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      Most cited references 12

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      ‘Sexismo y Cosificación: Cómo Trata la Prensa Deportiva a las Mujeres en la Cobertura de la Copa Confederaciones.’

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        ‘Exceso de Fútbol y Sexo Ponen en Duda Titularidad de Alexis Sánchez.’

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          ‘Lo que No Sabes de la Relación Entre Alexis Sánchez y Mayte Rodríguez.’


            Author and article information

            Hofstra University, USA
            Author notes
            Radical Americas
            Radic. Am.
            UCL Press
            17 October 2018
            : 3
            : 1
            © 2018, Brenda Elsey.

            This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited • DOI:

            Pages: 5
            Custom metadata
            Elsey, B. ‘Making fútbol straight again: Homophobia, misogyny and the politics of Alexis Sánchez’s sexuality.’ Radical Americas 3, 1 (2018): 3. DOI:
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