chapter  1
10 Pages

Camera Ready

In January 1992 an American cultural spectacle took place in my hometown-the Super Bowl. I had nearly succeeded in ignoring the whirlwind upending Minneapolis-St. Paul. Then a moment of revelation convinced me that I was about to let an extraordinary opportunity slip by. Reconsidered from the vantage point of my interest in media studies, I could see that I had been presented with a chance to study the phenomenon behind the media event-the real Super Bowl, live and offscreen. Like many Americans, I had swallowed my dose of Super Bowl telecasts and I felt I had developed at least a rudimentary understanding of the image constructed in the course of the annual media fest. I assumed the media and the National Football League intended otherwise, but nevertheless, I read the Super Bowl as a celebratory junction of corporate capitalism, masculinity, and power that hegemonically affirms and perpetuates inequality. Certainly my outsider perspective was enhanced by my gender; I could find no compelling heroines among the token female sportscasters, the cheerleaders, or the members of the Swedish Bikini Team.