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Fighting VisibilitySports Media and Female Athletes in the UFC$
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Jennifer McClearen

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780252043734

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252043734.001.0001

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Affect and the Rousey Effect

Affect and the Rousey Effect

(p.57) Chapter 2 Affect and the Rousey Effect
Fighting Visibility

Jennifer McClearen

University of Illinois Press

Chapter 2 examines how and why the UFC entered the business of girls and women’s empowerment. To do so, the chapter considers what representation mattering feels like and how the promotion used popular feminist discourse to facilitate positive feelings of empowerment. Ronda Rousey and other female UFC athletes generate an affective resonance with fans, but also with current and aspiring female UFC fighters. Branded difference’s emphasis on the empowered women becomes a strategy for attracting female fighters to the promotion by promising that visibility will yield opportunity without delivering on those claims for the majority of these athletes. Instead, “if she can see it, she can be it” remains a hollow but effective sentiment for attracting female fighters to the sport.

Keywords:   Affect, Ronda Rousey, branded difference, visibility, representation matters, representation, female athletes, empowerment, popular feminism

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