Initial Blog Summary--Group #6

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In Carty's article, Textual Portrayals of Female Athletes, she argues that although female sports have come a long way since Title IX, women are still being portrayed as sexual objects and as feminine in the media. Historically, women have been portrayed as submissive and fragile in advertisements because the ads target to a male audience. Because women's athletics are becoming more popular, many ideas regarding gender differences are being deconstructed and our society is becoming less of a patriarchal hierarchy. Carty discusses three types of feminism: radical feminism, postfeminism, and politicized feminism. Radical feminist thinkers believe that the advertisements displaying women athletes as feminine take away from their athletic achievement and add to the social constructions surrounding women. The postfeminist perspective is that women are displaying their empowerment and femininity to deconstruct gender differences. Politicized feminists think that the ads are blurring the line between males and females by having the women reclaim their femininity by choice. Carty uses several commercial and magazine ads that appeared in women's magazines or during women's sporting events as examples that illustrate each feminist category. Carty also talks about how different races are displayed in these ads due to the race's historical background. Carty discusses how while white women are often displayed as feminine and sexual, African-American female athletes are displayed as muscular and athletic. She articulates that African-American women must first prove their athleticism before becoming sexualized in these ads due to stereotypes surrounding race.

Questions: Are the ads deconstructing the ideas about female athletes or are they simply a new way to sexualize women? How are desire and ideas about sexual orientation being constructed by these ads?

In McKay and Johnson's Pornographic eroticism and sexual grotesquerie in representation of African American sportswomen, they discuss how the media is resorting to racism and sexism in an effort to delay the deconstruction of racial and gender hierarchies. A muscular and fit female body is becoming a desirable body type to have for both men and women. In an effort to retain the gender hierarchy, the media continues to talk about these bodies as masculine. The authors argue that African-American female athletes have been provided with the greatest barrier because historically, they have never been viewed as "desirable or as having beautiful feminine bodies." In particular, the black female buttocks was considered "sexually grotesque" and her whole body was deemed sexually deviant. The authors suggest that the media is still displaying black female bodies as exotic and not normal, which causes men to relate female athletics to deviant behavior. The authors use the Williams sisters as an example for how the media displays their bodies as deviant and masculine.

Questions: Who or what is influencing the media to display ads in this way? How are female advertisers or writers dealing with this issue?

1 Comment

I have the same question as you. I am wondering if we focus too much on the right of women problem that everything can be evidence or can indicate that our society has an unfair perspective on women. David beckham is a famous and outstanding football player. However, for my friend and I, he is just a sexy and handsome man, who happens to be a football player. We have no idea about football, would cup or something like that, but we like handsome boys. Therefore, we love to see David as much as boys do, but for different purposes. So, I think, it may be the same for men to see sexy women. We may care about to much about if we women get the equal treatment as men. So, we become too sensitive about that problem.

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