Women’s Bodies, Femininity, and Spacetimemattering: A Baradian Analysis of the Activewear Phenomenon

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  • 1 The University of Waikato
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Over the past decade, activewear has become a booming international business and cultural phenomenon. It has simultaneously been critiqued for its pervasive neoliberal, postfeminist, and healthism rhetoric and the ways it continues to (re)produce hegemonic femininity. In this paper, the author drew upon new materialist theory, specifically Karen Barad’s concept of spacetimemattering, to contribute to this body of literature, providing an alternative perspective on the production of femininity and feminist politics within activewear. Using a Baradian-inspired approach, this paper brought various material-discourses and events from multiple time periods into dialogue with the activewear phenomenon to (re)think the production of femininity. Specifically, the analysis explored how activewear entanglements across various spatiotemporalities challenge appearance-based femininity and increase the visibility (and acceptance) of the moving female body. Through this exploration, the author provided a way to (re)imagine feminist politics that are embedded in women’s everyday fitness practices.

Brice (jubrice@gmail.com) is with Te Huataki Waiora School of Health, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

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