‘No hint of bulging muscles’: The surveillance of sportswomen’s bodies in British print media

Amy Godoy-Pressland

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14 Citations (Scopus)
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Since the inception of second wave feminism, feminists have placed female bodies at the centre of the equality discourse. The female body is a contested site for feminist scholars who have identified the under and mis-representation of sportswomen’s bodies in the media. This paper investigates how surveillance techniques are employed in British Sunday newspapers as a function of hegemonic power to influence gendered notions of sport and the display of female bodies in line with normative femininity. Data stems from a semi-longitudinal study which analysed the quantitative and qualitative representation of sportswomen in British print media during January 2008-December 2009. Foucault’s analysis of the Panopticon and Mulvey’s concept of ‘gaze’ are used to interpret the data through the lens of surveillance. Findings demonstrate how the surveillance of female sporting bodies occurred in four distinct ways. The categories, which emerged from the data, include: the body as (1) trivialised, (2) secondary, (3) commercial, and (4) feminine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-759
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Early online date11 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • bodies
  • gaze
  • journalists
  • newspapers
  • sportswomen
  • surveillance

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