The contemporary female tennis star: ideologically inhibited or a symbol of power?

Beavin, Joe (2012) The contemporary female tennis star: ideologically inhibited or a symbol of power? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The objective of this dissertation has been to delve deeper in to the ideological nature of sporting texts in the field of women’s tennis. Not only does tennis represent a sport where female participation has been viewed as socially acceptable for a long period of time, but also an area where female tennis stars are benefitting from the increasing financial rewards and commercial opportunities that male players are. Looking specifically at newspaper articles and advertisements, the target was to determine whether these two media forms represented female players as predominantly independent and powerful individuals or if coverage is still orientated towards the perpetuation of beliefs around objectification and subordination. In correspondence with financial success, four female players were chosen from the Forbes rich list for analysis. These were Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki.
    One of the most striking findings that emerged in the analysis of both the newspaper reports and advertisements was an analogy which portrayed the female tennis star like a boxer, warrior or soldier. Although these metaphors gave the impression of elevating the players to a superhuman status, they were often open to alternative readings and therefore the impression of autonomy and power was undermined by the feeling of a gendered ideology. However, it was also apparent that positive changes have been achieved in creating greater equality in tennis and this is reflected in the coverage around these female stars. The writers have seemingly had no choice but to address these developments directly. In obtaining these results, a critical discourse analysis around Hallidayan linguistics was chosen for the study of newspaper articles. In addition, a semiotic analysis embodying the ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes, Isabel Pedersen, Rosalind Gill and Jonathan Bignell was selected for the advertisements.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2014 16:26
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 12:32

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