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The gendered emotional labor of male professional 'freesurfers' digital media work

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Clifton EversORCiD



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2019.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Male professional freesurfers are paid to live an aspirational lifestyle and communicate this through media. In this article I argue that a ‘stoke imperative’ from the surf industry necessitates they do emotional labor. Stoke is surf vernacular for a clustering of feeling thrilled, joyful, pleased, happy, optimistic, excited, and satisfied. The surf industry manufactures and commodifies stoke to profit from it. Emotional labor is often assumed to be what women are ‘naturally’ predisposed to and ‘better at.’ It is gendered. I show how the male professional freesurfers’ emotional labor involves negotiating expectations of masculinity as they do their media work through social media and other digital technologies, such as micro-celebrity. The article attends to both a representational and a materialist networking of gendered emotional labor and micro-celebrity. A clearer understanding of what is taking place at the nexus of gender, emotional labor, and the work of sport will help to interrupt any smooth reproduction of gendered stereotypes about suitability for and unfair remuneration of roles in sport occupational settings in the ‘new economy.’

Publication metadata

Author(s): Evers C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Sport in Society

Year: 2019

Volume: 22

Issue: 10

Pages: 1691-1706

Online publication date: 19/03/2018

Acceptance date: 06/10/2017

Date deposited: 25/10/2017

ISSN (print): 1743-0437

ISSN (electronic): 1743-0445

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/17430437.2018.1441009


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