Faye Linda Wachs
Shari Lee Dworkin and Faye Linda Wachs
This paper analyzes how mainstream print media polices sexuality through framings of HIV-positive male athletes. We analyze the HIV-positive announcements of Magic Johnson, Greg Louganis, and Tommy Morrison. Specifically, we discuss differences between the framing of gay men (Louganis) and self-identified heterosexual men (Johnson and Morrison). First, there is an extensive search for the ways Magic Johnson and Tommy Morrison contracted HIV/AIDS. Media coverage emphasizes that “straights can get it too” through promiscuity and a “fast lane” lifestyle. Consistent with the historically automatic conflation of HIV/AIDS with gay identity, the media pose no inquiries into the cause of Louganis’ HIV transmission. We close our discussion by focusing on the meaning of extending the signifier of HIV/AIDS beyond gay bodies to include working class and black male bodies. Media surveillance of sexual identity and the body reinforces hegemonic masculinity in sport while feeding into the current sexual hierarchy in U.S. culture.
Faye Linda Wachs and Laura Frances Chase
This paper explains the failure of an obesity intervention funded by a Carol M. White U.S. Department of Education grant which created a three way partnership between middle schools in a poor largely Latino school district, the local University, and local after-school care providers. This paper assesses the project and situates it theoretically using Foucault’s microphysics of power and Bourdieu’s concepts of capital to analyze the refusal of most students and teachers to engage in the program and the standardized testing required by the state. We further articulate a new form of Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence based on position in the consumer hierarchy. We conclude with a critique of grant mechanisms as a means of addressing health issues, and situate the obesity epidemic as a social construction that perpetuates inequality and discourses of power.