The rough riders: An exploration of theatricality, masculinity, identities and voyeurism in Canadian football

Jorge Sandoval*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article explores the notions of performance and performativity through the activities of the male fan base of the Canadian football team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders (CFL/Regina Saskatchewan). It considers the carnivalization of fandom through the lens of the theatrical event and examines how normative gender identities are simultaneously constructed and reconstructed on the field and in the stands. Saskatchewan's football team, The Roughriders, has the biggest fan base within the Canadian Football League. Male fans practice orthodox masculinity by cheering the team with cultish fervor fuelled by alcohol, chants and, paradoxically, by costuming their bodies in forms of high camp drag. This action transforms the traditional football field into a spectacle in which inverted forms of gender display and voyeurism form no small part. Green body make-up, wigs, masks, watermelon helmets and fake breasts queer fans' bodies through performative gestures that temporarily reconstruct genders. Finally, the article considers these actions in relation to the celebration of the hyper-masculinized body of the athletes positioning the football stadium as a highly theatricalized third space in which two representations of masculinity are performed simultaneously.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-106
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Studies in Men's Fashion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • theatre
  • performance
  • performativity
  • body
  • spatiality
  • dress
  • costume
  • heteronormative

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