Affect, Representation and Serena Williams


The Keywords discusses the term “Affect” as a “the felt aspects of everyday life, social change and durable structures of power” and how it makes people feel and to what potential. There are many ways to study affect through the body as a medium, different pieces of discourse, activist communities and how feelings and emotions bring people together. All of these media studies involve taking what we see in the media and looking to see the influence that is has on the emotions and feelings of individuals. Herman Gray discusses the way that minority groups are represented in media, how it has changed over the years and how this change has both benefited and created challenges for groups. This representation or misrepresentation in most cases, create the felt aspects of everyday life that the individuals acquire, any social change to alter these representations and the way that the white, male, landowner acts as a structure of power to create these representations.

In my post, I focused on the way that black history, the formation of stereotypes and gender norms have created a misrepresentation of Serena Williams as manly, gorilla-like, ugly etc. Gray says that accuracy is the “link between representation and race.” Yes, it is great that black women are being represented in sports and at Serena’s level of success, but how are these negative representations of Serena as gorilla-like and the reason for her success being strictly genetics as a black individual affect her identity and to what potential? How are these tweets and comments affecting her and other black women in society?

Gray argues that “access to representation can also engender new forms of subjection and marginalization and intensify normativities.” This is exactly what is occurring for Serena Williams as she has gained access to representation. It is opening up the ability for racist comments to shut down her success or to give reason for her success that is not based on her hard work and skill. Instead of skill, its a her genetic, physique from being a black women that is making her successful. This is forming an even greater marginalization between black athletes and white athletes by giving a stereotypical and racism explanation for their skill.



How do we see stereotypes influence the way the black male athletes are represented in the media or talked about by fans and/or commentators?

How do these tweets and comments influence the feelings and emotions of the black community? How can these shared emotions produce social change?