International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Football Uniform Controversies: A Critical Sociology of Fashion and Semiotics
John Paul

This paper is a study of visual controversies found in select football uniforms worn by teams in the United States. Using visual semiotics and the theoretical guides found in the sociology of fashion, I critically scrutinize representations of memorialization, militarization, sexism, and racism embedded in: (1) the 2010 “mining tragedy” jerseys and supporting images of the University of West Virginia football team, (2) the 2013 “wounded warrior” jersey worn by members of the Northwestern University football team, (3) the “lingerie-style” uniforms worn by the women in the Legends Football League, and (4) the “Redskins” name and logo worn by members of that men’s National Football League team. While I find ideological meanings within these fashions, it must be acknowledged that many in fact do not. Thus my goal is to create a “double vision” for the reader (an awareness that images have layered and often divergent meanings) for the purposes of opening dialogue, critique, and critical debate.

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