Latin American athletes have achieved iconic status in global popular culture, but what do we know about the communities of women in sport? Futbolera is the first monograph on women’s sports in Latin America. Because sports evoke such passion, they are fertile ground for understanding the formation of social classes, national and racial identities, sexuality, and gender roles. Futbolera tells the stories of women athletes and fans as they navigated the pressures and possibilities within organized sports.
Futbolera charts the rise of physical education programs for girls, often driven by ideas of eugenics and proper motherhood, that laid the groundwork for women’s sports clubs, which began to thrive beyond the confines of school systems. Futbolera examines how women challenged both their exclusion from national pastimes and their lack of access to leisure, bodily integrity, and public space. This vibrant history also examines women’s sports through comparative case studies of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and others. Special attention is given to women’s sports during military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s as well as the feminist and democratic movements that followed. The book culminates by exploring recent shifts in mindset toward women’s football and dynamic social movements of players across Latin America.