You Should Be Reading: Fashion for Sport

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With the 2012 Olympic games commencing later this month in London, Worn Through would like to highlight two journal articles and a dissertation that discuss dress (or lack thereof) on the playing field.  Discourse on the veiled athlete, sports ground streaker, and the muscular yet well-manicured female athlete are all featured below. Enjoy!

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1. Mahfoud, Amara. “Veiled Women Athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics: Media Accounts.” The International Journal of the History of Sport, Special Issue: Sport in a Changing Asia: Politics, Policies and Practice, Volume 29, Issue 4, 2012, pp. 638-651.

The aim of this paper is to explore and to compare different international media accounts about the presence of veiled athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. In other words, to uncover whether the discourse of clash of cultures or that of cross-cultural dialogue has shaped their position about Islam, Muslim identities, Muslim women and the Muslim world in general. Furthermore, from the perspective of media in the Arab and the Muslim world, the purpose of the analysis is to explore their responses to international media, and to investigate their positions in relation to the host nation (China), Asian culture and the Olympics. –Article Abstract

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2. Kohe, Geoffery Z. “Decorative Dashes: Disrobing the Practice of Streaking.” Costume, Volume 46, Number 2, 2012, pp. 197-211.

As often as some athletes don their Lycra, others are almost as frequently disrobing and dashing across sports grounds. Yet, while nude performance is accepted in such cultural domains as dance and theatre, its place in sport is contested. Taking cues from scholars who write about the body, sexuality, and nudity — Barcan (2004), Carr-Gomm (2010), Kirkpatrick (2010), Martin (1991) and Shilling (2008) — this paper explores the complexities of streaking and its intertwining associations with sport and wider social, cultural and political contexts. I consider how ongoing debates about nudity and nakedness, and about clothed and unclothed bodies, create an opportunity for us to consider streaking as a valid and aesthetically valuable practice. I argue that we might move beyond streaking as an act of comical deviance, flagrant criminality or ‘anti-costume’, and view it as an acceptable mode of physicality with its own individual and collective meanings. -Article Abstract

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3. Duke, Andrea H. Stereotypes of Athletic Women Using Framing and Social Learning Theories: Muscles vs. Manicures.” The University of Alabama, 2008, ProQuest Theses and Dissertations, 154 pages. 

Stereotypes of athletic women in our society dictate what sports females should play and how females should look through expectations of what sport to play, personal appearance, or sexual orientation. Society and media further the stereotypes by emphasizing athletic women’s physical appearance and sexual attractiveness, through representing them as women first (i.e., focusing on their physical appearance, clothing, and attractiveness) and athletes second. Through the foundations of framing and social learning theories, this study begins the discussion on how popular magazines frame the athletic female, what perceptions of the athletic female are held by collegiate women, and what media and other socializing agents contributed to the learning of stereotypes for the athletic woman. –Excerpt of dissertation abstract

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