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“Every Body Has A Story”: A Multimodal Analysis on the Discursive Construction of the Athletic Form
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Media and Communication Studies.
2018 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study sought to examine how the prototypical male athletic form and the prototypical female athletic form are discursively constructed when a sports magazine has full control of what material to produce and publish. What makes up the ‘athletic form’ involves all the various traits and characteristics that are attached to the notion of what it means to be an athlete and what it means to have an athletic figure. The theoretical foundation was built on theories about gender in the media with a strong focus on objectification and (hyper)sexualisation, and previous research on gender in sports reporting has shown evidence of a strong gender bias where women athletes are both objectified and sexualised while women’s sports in general is portrayed as significantly less interesting and valuable compared to men’s sports. In order to study the discursive construction of the athletic form, the material – the 2017 edition of ESPN Magazine’s The Body Issue – was analysed through the method of Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis. While there were several features and traits that were universal to both genders, such as toughness and strength, there were also differences of significant importance. There was a distinct clash between the notion of being athletic and being feminine as athleticism was not deemed a feminine trait, and efforts were even made to show how the women athletes are still “normal women” despite being athletes. Plus, a male athlete’s body was depicted as being purely about function with its appearance not a matter of concern. A female athlete’s body, on the other hand, was likewise about function but large emphasis was also focused on the notion of attractiveness and beauty, and that women athletes are not only tough and strong but also beautiful. Overall, the construction of the female athletic form contained a sexual aura that was forever present.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. , p. 52
Keywords [en]
Athletic form, gender, sports media, objectification, (hyper)sexualisation, discourse
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-40512ISRN: JU-HLK-MKA-2-20180191OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-40512DiVA, id: diva2:1220352
Subject / course
HLK, Media and Communication Studies
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2018-06-29 Created: 2018-06-18 Last updated: 2018-06-29Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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