Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Resisting, Affirming, and Negotiating: Female Athletes Representations in Self-Created Photographic Images


Movement Science Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Physical Sciences and Mathematics


This presentation explores the ways in which female college athletes negotiate their intersectional identities through photographic images. Panelists are members of a research group examining self-representations of female athletes. Popular press media images tend to highlight female athletes femininity and beauty (Duncan, 2006) whereas college sport media is changing and often shows the women in action (Kane & Buysse, 2005). 18 female athletes participated in self-designed photo shoots in which they determined the location, pose, clothing, and overall aesthetics of their photographs. Following the photo shoots, the athletes selected their favorite image and were interviewed about the photograph in terms of the process of representing themselves, their intended message, and the imagined audience. Five major themes emerged from the data: constructing the image, aesthetics, sport context, identity, and audience. Body politics were the central site of analysis as athletes photographs convey their negotiations with multiple, shifting social identities. Their self-representations both contest and embody, sometimes simultaneously, the stereotypes and stigmas associated with female athletes. Athletes in this study understood and navigated the social and cultural norms already written on their bodies and present in the media. They actively confirmed and resisted these norms to make sense of and construct their own mediated identities. The presenters in this panel will theoretically situate the study and describe the method, present the results, and discuss the implications of the findings. This panel presents research focused on body politics, representation, and identity, fitting theme four of the conference.

Conference Name

National Women's Studies Association Annual Conference

Conference Location

Cincinnati, OH

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