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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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The Labor of Visibility on Social Media

The Labor of Visibility on Social Media

(p.105) Chapter 4 The Labor of Visibility on Social Media
Fighting Visibility

Jennifer McClearen

University of Illinois Press

The fourth chapter of Fighting Visibility analyzes interviews with female UFC fighters to consider how they navigate social media in their jobs. Building followers online, engaging with fans, and promoting sponsors as micro-influencers is an undercompensated and often invisible form of labor that leverages a gendered tax on female athletes, particularly those who do not perform the traditional forms of femininity that are more valued in popular culture. Female fighters freely undertake this aspirational labor because they hope the exposure online will convince the UFC to promote them or that their efforts to engage fans will appeal to sponsors. Instead, visibility on social media remains an unwritten and unpaid bullet point on the UFC fighter job description that often fails to deliver the assumed benefits that athletes seek.

Keywords:   female athletes, social media, aspirational labor, visibility, UFC, micro-influencers

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