Middle Aged Men in Lycra and the performative irony of watching Tour de France

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Middle Aged Man in Lycra (MAMIL) is a cultural phenomenon associated with a
gendered and conspicuous practice that can be inclusive by attracting individuals not previously engaged in physical activities as well as exclusive due to its gender and socioeconomic conformity. Inspired by the works of Linda Hutcheon and Judith Butler, we argue that the MAMIL is an ironic figure constituting a complex and multifaceted character deeply embedded in a particular cultural context. By analyzing a TV advertising spot for Tour de France 2021 which embraces the MAMIL, the purpose of this study is to illustrate how ironic communication is productive as it leads to multiple performativities of irony. We identify four performativities in the spot which are: Irony as a way to cope with an aging male body; Irony as a way to identify with competitive elite sportsmen; (Self-) irony as enabling an exclusive male community and masculinity through humor; and Irony as legitimizing mass media consumption of cycling. We argue that the irony reaches beyond a mere humorous stance and serves a legitimizing and preservative function of road cycling as a male-dominated terrain.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCommunication and Sport
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1102-1120
Publication statusPublished - 2023

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Performativity, Road cycling, Advertising, Masculinity, Situated knowledge

ID: 328797606