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uni'wissen 01(3)-2011_ENG

noted was a strong tendency toward political correctness on the topic of gay soccer players. No one wants to be branded as an anti-gay tra- ditionalist. The researchers were astounded at the strat- egy people use to avoid coming across as being homophobic: “They talk a lot about how fans and the media stir up resentment against gays which is in fact not the case, as may be seen by the example of well-known gay politicians like Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit.” Again and again, a deep-seated aversion to homosexuals reared its head under the politically correct surface of their statements. To the team’s surprise, this disposition often emerged in connection with the ever-ominous topic of showering: “‘I don’t have anything against homosexuals, but I wouldn’t shower with them,’ was a sentence we often heard.” While homophobia and sexism in soccer have become more visible in the past years, racism has changed its outward appearance and be- come more subtle. Racially motivated violence among fans in the professional leagues has be- come more uncommon. “Some people have tak- en this to mean that the issue has lost its rele- vance,” says Degele. “That’s not exactly true. Of course there has been progress in the past years, but the lower leagues in particular are still struggling with xenophobia and racism. Fans of higher-league clubs have become more careful.” The dimensions of intersectionality are flexi- ble. This may be seen clearly through the ex- ample of soccer, the sociologist explains: “The historical perspective is very important. If you only consider the currently existing dimensions, you might fail to identify important develop- ments.” Gender and ethnicity, for instance, are modern inventions. “When soccer began to be- come popular a hundred years ago, they were not central dimensions. What was most impor- tant back then was class.” As the dimension of gender in soccer developed, it absorbed a lot of the original lower-class associations of the sport, and this makes it interesting to ­determine what shifts in this relationships are currently taking place or will take place in the future. All inequality is not created equal: Intersectionality research studies the relationships between the four dimensions class, body, ethnicity, and gender. Photos: konradbak, Liu, Deklofenak, Kovalev (all from Fotalia) “Recent studies show that more ­attractive people earn more money and also enjoy certain advantages in everyday life” 22