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