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  • 1. Femininity at Work: The Construction of the Gendered Body in Synchronized Swimming
    Yasmine M. Jahanmir
    Final Projects
    NYU Department of Performance Studies
    Professor: Barbara Browning
    TA: SujayPandit
  • 2. 1996 U.S. Olympic Synchronized Swim Team
    Photo: 1996 U.S. Synchronized Swimming Team Facebook Page
  • 3. 1996 Tucson Sun Rays
    Photo: Personal Collection
  • 4.
  • 5. Annette Kellerman and Esther Williams
    Simultaneous focus on their performance and their looks.
    Mulvey’s “to-be-looked-at-ness.”
    Privileges statues as an erotic object, rather than a performing subject.
    Photos: and
  • 6. Sequins and the Female Body
    Sequins were originally gold coins sewn onto women’s garments to connote value.
    Modern sequins have become a replacement object for value.
    Sequins are used tofetishize the woman’s body, detracting from her performance.
    Photo: Flickr: Don Le
  • 7. The Work is Edited Out
    Due to the medium, water, the “labor” that the swimmer performs is invisible
    Her “labor” is therefore alienated from the commodity, “her body.”
    We never see the commodity, “her body,” for what it is. It is always partially hidden.
    Participating in the sport is the only way to ever connect the “body” to the “labor.”
    Photos: Flickr: oeyvind and domenicosavi photographer
  • 8. Construction of Gender
    IOC deemed sports must be “gender appropriate.”
    Butler’s thesis: Gender is performative.
    Participants perform gender, thus, the sport becomes gendered.
    Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan Plaza WaterWorks
  • 9.
  • 10.
  • 11. A détournement?
    Participates in the language of the spectacle.
    Exaggeration exposes theatricality of gender.
    Questions authenticity of preconceived notions of gender.
    Photo: Courtesy of Manhattan Plaza WaterWorks
  • 12. Works Cited
    1996 Summer Olympic Broadcast. NBC. KVOA, Tucson, AZ. Personal collection of the author. 30 July 1996.
    Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge. [1990] 2008.
    Debord, Guy. The Society of Spectacle. New York: Zone Books. [1967], 2004.
    Freud, Sigmund. Translator Philip Reiff. Sexuality and the Psychology of Love. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997.
    Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Durham and London: Duke University Press. 1998.
    Marx, Karl. Capital. New York: Penguin Classics, [1867] 1990.
    Million Dollar Mermaid, DVD. Directed by MervynLeRoy. MGM. 1952.
    Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press. 1989.
    Wamsley, Kevin B. and Gertrud Pfister. “Olympic Men and Women: The Politics of Gender in the Modern Games.” From Global Olympics: Historical and Sociological Studies of the Modern Games. New York: Elsevier. Pg. 103-126. 2005.