|Title||A casual obsession: Inside the British Sock Fetish Council|
This paper interrogates the self-fashioning of masculinity by football casuals through a case study of the British Sock Fetish Council (BSFC). While most studies contextualise casuals within a discourse of hooliganism, their use of dress as a means of negotiating shared masculine identities remains under-researched. Founded in 2011, the BSFC quickly grew to over a thousand card-carrying members, holding meets in Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, and London, and at football matches throughout the United Kingdom. Within the BSFC, the term fetish does not denote a sexual predilection; rather, it acknowledges the members' obsession with clothing and emphasises the subtextual tensions inherent in their individual and collective practices. Their deployment of socks as a seditious garment continues a long tradition of men who have positioned socks as the locus of deviance and travesty in their dress.
The BSFC's use of dress to assemble individual and group identities was mediated by highly constructed, self-generated imagery disseminated via social media, which played a significant role in establishing consensus on inclusive and hybrid masculine identities within this community. Central to this activity was the member's cultural production including a series of socks that repurposed the iconography of male labour and protest in order to establish a point of sartorial conflict.
This paper will discuss the formation of the BSFC and how their self-reflexive use of social media to construct group practices revealed how socks functioned as a liminal space of sartorial transgression that enabled casuals to hybridise their gender practices to queer hegemonic masculinity.
|Keywords||hybrid masculinities, socks, casuals, football hooliganism, fetish|
|Conference||Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear Symposium|
|Accepted author manuscript|
File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
|Published||01 Aug 2022|
|Journal||Critical Studies in Men's Fashion|
|Journal citation||9 (2), pp. 187-206|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI)||https://doi.org/10.1386/csmf_00059_1|