Strong female speakers
The resistant discourse of tennis players
Keywords:offensive/defensive rhetoric, public speaking, gender and silence, subjectivity
The paper examines the resistant patterns of the discourse of female tennis players in the institutional setting of a post-match press conference from the perspective of discursive psychology. The saliently non-conventional discourse of female representatives of tennis is juxtaposed against the ideological representations of gendered models of public speaking with their attendant stereotypes of powerless femininity and powerful masculinity. It is posited that the media performances of female tennis players are neither oriented to canonical femininity nor canonical masculinity. Their dominant identity construction is that of an athlete preoccupied with norms of professional efficiency, which is projected through their marked use of patterns of offensive and defensive rhetoric (Potter 1996). Tennis players’ subjectivity management rests on resisting media versions of their subject sides (Edwards 2005a, 2007) which either attend to stereotypical notions of gendered identities or detract from their status as efficient professionals.
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