Kristi Tredway, visiting assistant professor at St. Mary’s College, has had a book chapter published in “New Sporting Femininities: Embodied Politics in Postfeminist Times” (Palgrave, 2018), edited by Kim Toffoletti, Jessica Francombe-Webb, and Holly Thorpe. The chapter, “The Performance of Blackness and Femininity in Postfeminist Times: Visualizing Serena Williams Within the Context of Corporate Globalization,” chronicles the ways in which Williams’ body has been a site for commodification as the exotic Other while she also is forced to withstand racist mockery with humility. Serena Williams has been the most dominant player in the history of women’s tennis. As the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) rapidly expands across the global marketplace, it is faced with contradictions of the deep-seated racial issues stemming from the origins of tennis and forms of the exotic Other which have heightened value in the global marketplace. The WTA’s “Strong is Beautiful” advertising campaign and the WTA’s lack of reprimanding Caroline Wozniacki when she impersonated Williams’ physical appearance during an exhibition tennis match highlight these contradictions. These contradictions are thrust upon Williams herself as she is expected to operate in both arenas: the space of corporate advertising where she is the commodified exotic Other and in the space where she is forced to bear the brunt of the racist mocking of her body.
July 08, 2018
By Kristi Tredway