Although women's soccer in Germany re-emerged after its ban from 1955-1970, the German soccer culture and system remain rooted in a restrictive gender ideology that privileges men. Using broader discussions around gender and sport as a point of departure, while also taking the historical background of women's soccer in Germany into consideration, I employ the theoretical framework of critical feminist sport studies alongside McDonald & Birrell's method of "reading sport critically" to examine how this ideological context is experienced by German women in the sport. The thesis is based on semi-structured interviews with 11 girls and women, ages 14-24, in recreational and elite soccer. Findings indicate that German soccer remains a male-dominated space wherein women are considered second-class players and strategically rendered invisible. Despite being viewed as failing to conform to hetero-patriarchal ideologies and gender being instrumentalized to police their participation, the interviewees show that stigmatization and empowerment can coexist.
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