• Speaking pictures, silent voices: female athletes and the negotiation of selfhood

      Intezar, Hannah (2021)
      Combining Mikhail Bakhtin's (1990) theoretical position on Architectonics and Erving Goffman's (1979) writings on visual content analysis, the aim of this paper is to explore how female athletes are caught in a complex matrix of power, post - feminist neoliberalism, and self - presentation. The visual images they choose to portray are, therefore, perfect for determining how this cohort of women negotiates social discourses around identity and femininity. Appropriating the Bakhtinian notion of architectonic unity, not only provides an alternative theoretical lens for enquiries concerning the body, identity, and selfhood, but also initiates some thought provoking questions around neoliberal feminism and 'new femininity.' This paper advances on previous research by exemplifying how Serena Williams (considered the greatest female tennis player of all time) combines both her femininity and strong physicality to self - shape a myth - like persona, setting her apart from traditional stereotypes of femininity and 'femaleness.'