McMahon, J., Barker-Ruchti, N.
The media’s role in transmitting a cultural ideology and the effect on the general public
(2016) Qualitiative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 8 (2), pp. 131-146.
Previous research investigating Australian swimming culture revealed a deeply entrenched ‘slim to win’ ideology, a notion that is centred on the swimmer body needing to be lean in order to achieve competitive performance. While previous research revealed that ‘slim to win’ was occurring in situ, this study examines how media representations might come to be possible contributors to this ideology being proliferated to outsiders of the culture. Specifically, three professional sports photographs are examined for materiality criteria. Further, an affect perspective is employed through Foucault’s idea of ‘dispositive’ to consider how the messages provided by the images, their captions and the titles of the news items they were included in, were consumed. We argue that the media representations included in this investigation are highly problematic because they reinforce the ‘slim to win’ ideology. Further, we argue that many people who contributed to the online forums relating to these media representations reproduced and to a certain extent negotiated ‘slim to win’ through their comments. This latter point occurred via the representations which provided a platform for critical interpretation. © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
affect; body; dispositive; Foucault; Materiality; media; online forum comments; photographs; slim to win; swimming