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Pecha Kuchai Presentation on Female Imagery and the Body

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Michael Black

on 23 September 2018

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Transcript of Pecha Kuchai Presentation on Female Imagery and the Body

Female Imagery and the Body: Hegemonic Masculinity and Remaking Femininity
An observation of the ESPN Magazine cover over the last year notes:
Subordinate Image
Maternal Image
Pregnant Image
MMA star Ronda Rousey, who originally appeared as one of six special “Body Issue” covers in 2012, graces the cover of the 96-page special interest publication
Hegemonic Masculinity
" A (particular kind of) masculinity that dominates women and other men".
Female Athletic Bodies
They are also trapped in the code!
Sexual Image
Powerful
Strong
Physical
Aggressive
Violent
Dominant
Sexualized
Vulnerable
Powerless
Inferior
Athletic
On 9 occasions women were shown naked

8 Women were portrayed as pregnant
or subordinate/maternal

5 Women were portrayed sexually
Institutionalized by Media/Imagery as Sut Jhally notes via:
"Ritualization of Subordination" where gender identity is culturally constructed.

"There is nothing natural about gender Identity". It results in a "binary identity" - males expected to act opposite to females.
Femininity is cultural - none of it is biologically determined
"Posed Gender codes are guided by particular images and sets of interests"
"Our Fantasies are your realites"
Strong
Action
Powerful
Direct
Athletic
Confident
How can one resist these images?
Make "Strong" the new "Pretty" (Ali)
Sut Jhally's, "Codes of Gender" notes how
American popular culture reflects, and in turn
shapes
, normative ideas about masculinity and femininity
In these Images Rousey is:
In these Images males are:
How does Rousey view her own femininity?
Does she adhere to the traditional notions of what it means to be feminine in this culture?
Rousey sees herself as feminine
"Feminine as F--"
Muscularity with a purpose
And:
She resists being a "do nothing b----"
She does not want to be "pretty" and being "taken care of".
"Just because my body has been developed.... doesn't mean its masculine"
There are spaces where the "remaking" of femininity are taking place.
There are also commercials which portray Rousey as dominant, and assertive
Jally notes that males/masculinity in advertising is:
about power, control, confidence, intimidation, independence, and activity
are typically shown in upright positions, looking prepared and assertive, with a direct gaze.
project power and confidence, sometimes bordering on outright menace and threat
Summary
This presentation utilizes Goffman and Jhally's Codes of Gender as they relate to the imagery associated with female athletes
Hypothesis:
The portrayal of images of female athletes "reflects, and in turn shapes, normative ideas about masculinity and femininity" (Sut Jhally)
This portrayal reinforces "hegemonic masculinity" (Connell)
However, there are cultural spaces where this hetero normative "natural" assumption about female imagery can be resisted.
Female athletes have the potential to remake the commonsense notion of what it means to be feminine in this culture
It identified ways in which female athletes are objectified, sexualized, and normalized in stereotypical notions of what it means to be feminine.
This perception of female athletes is part of a hegemonic masculinity which relates to the domination of women by men
This presentation also recognizes that there are cultural spaces where these "normative" ideas can be questioned and opposed.
References
The Codes of Gender. Written and directed by Sut Jhally
Bridges, T.S. (2009). Gender Capital and Male Bodybuilders. Body and Society, 15: 1, 83-107
Ali, Laila, and K. E. Olson (2012). “Strong is pretty, and Olympics are proof”. San Francisco Chronicle, August 16th.
http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8147390
ESPN The Body Issue, July 23rd, 2012. ESPN
Morris, S. & K. Warren. (2010) Codes of Gender, Study Guide. Media Education Foundation
Encoded Meaning
Rousey is a female athlete and athletes can be feminine and sexy, so why not flaunt it?
Presenting her this way helps promote her image as a feminine woman so she should embrace it.
Decoding the Message
Preferred Reading:
The decoder (male) acknowledges that women athletes can be sexy and understands that this depiction fits into the norms of the codes of gender.
Oppositional Reading: (My position)
In seeing the oppositional reading there is recognition that this representation subordinates females and athletes within hegemonic masculinity where femaleness and femininity and seen to be subordinate
Full transcript