‘Tool of Empowerment’: The Rhetorical Vision of Title Nine
Languages of publication
This study of the mail order catalog Title Nine, a California-based women's athletic clothing company, employs symbolic convergence theory and fantasy theme analysis through the context of third wave feminism. The catalog, named after the federal law in the United States that was intended to equalize opportunities between men's and women's participation in sports, creates a distinct social reality in an effort to empower readers. Similar studies have analyzed stereotypical representations of women in magazines and advertising. However, this study offers insight into a newly emerging phenomenon in a niche market, the mail-order catalog, and in the artifact under study, it offers a medium where creators intend to do more than sell women's clothing. Within fantasy theme analysis is the fantasy type, a moral or social more that repeats itself through various actors or settings within the artifact. Four fantasy types put forth by Title Nine have been identified by the researcher, including a.) "I am superwoman," b.) "I am a mom," c.) "I am an advocate for women," and d.) "I can be anything."
- Baumgardner, Jennifer and Amy Richards. 2000. Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism and the Future. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
- Becker, Debbie. 1988. Courts kick the teeth out of Title IX. USA Today, September 16: 1C-2C.
- Bolin, Anne and Jane Granskog. 2003. Athletic Intruders: Ethnographical Research on Women, Culture and Exercise. Albany: State University of New York Press.
- Bormann, Ernest. 1972. Fantasy and rhetorical vision: The rhetorical criticism of social reality. The Quarterly Journal of Speech 4: 396-407.
- Bormann, Ernest. 1982. Fantasy and rhetorical vision: Ten years later. Quarterly Journal of Speech 3: 288-305.
- Boskin, Joseph. 1980. Denials: The Media View of Dark Skins and the City. In: Bernard Rubin, (ed.) Small Voices and Great Trumpets: Minorities and the Media. Praeger: 141-142.
- Brake, Deborah L. 2010. Getting in the Game: Title IX and the Women's Sports Revolution. New York: New York University Press.
- Bronstein, Carolyn. 2005. Representing the Third Wave: Mainstream Print Media Framing of a New Feminist Movement. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 4: 783-803.
- Busby, Linda J. and Greg Leichty. 1993. Feminism and advertising in traditional and nontraditional women's magazines. Journalism Quarterly 2: 247-265.
- Carty, Victoria. 2005. Textual Portrayals of Female Athletes. Liberation or Nuanced Forms of Patriarchy? Frontiers 2: 132-155.
- Chaing, Harriet. 2004. Women's clothing store founder's philosophy, gear find following. San Francisco Chronicle October 15, F9.
- DeFleur, Melvin. 1964. Occupational roles as portrayed on television. Public Opinion Quarterly 1: 57-74.
- Dowling, Colette. 1989. Perfect Women. New York: Summit Books.
- Duffy, Margaret and J. Micheal Gotcher. 1996. Crucial Advice on How to Get the Guy: The Rhetorical Vision of Power and Seduction in the Teen Magazine YM. Journal of Communication Inquiry 1: 32-38.
- Ference, Ruth and K. Denis Muth. 2004. Helping Middle School Females Form a Sense of Self through Team Sports and Exercise, Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal. 1:28-34.
- Foss, Sonja K. 1996. Rhetorical Criticism: Exploration and Practice. Prospect Height, Ill: Waveland Press.
- Goodnow, Cecelia. 2006. Title Nine is proving athletics aren't just for men anymore. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. April 22. Available:
- Greenwald, Marilyn. 1990. Gender representations in newspaper business sections. Newspaper Research Journal 1: 68-79.
- Hardin, Marie and Stacie Shain. 2005. Strength in Numbers? The Experiences and Attitudes of Women in Sports Media Careers. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 4: 804-819.
- Hargreaves, Jennifer. 1994. Sporting Females: Critical Issues in the History and Sociology of Women's Sports. New York: Routledge.
- Jones, Edward E. 1986. Interpreting Interpersonal Behavior: The Effects of Expectancies. Science 3: 41-46.[PubMed]
- Kane, Mary Jo and Susan L. Greendorfer. 1994. The Media's Role in Accommodating and Resisting Stereotyped Images of Women in Sport. In Pamela J. Creedon. (ed.) Women, Media and Sport: Challenging Gender Values. Thousand Oakes, Calif: Sage.
- Klein, Karen E. 2006. Making It with Mail-Order. Business Week Online. Available at
- Len-Rios, Maria E., Shelly Rodgers, Esther Thorson, and Doyle Yoon. 2005. Representation of Women in News and Photos: Comparing Content to Perceptions. Journal of Communication, 1: 152-168.
- Longman, Jere. 2003. The Sports Bra Seen Around the World. New York Times, July 5, D1.
- National Federation of State High School Associations. 1991. Participation survey. Statistics available at
- Newell, Robert. 2001. Negotiating Gender in USA Today: A Critical Feminist Analysis of Print Coverage of the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup. Paper presented at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Washington, D.C., August 5-8.
- OReilly, Jean and Susan K. Cahn. 2007. Women and Sports in the United States. Northeastern University Press.
- Rakow, Lana. 1992. Don't hate me because I'm beautiful: Feminist resistance to advertising's irresistible meanings. The Southern Communication Journal 2: 132-142.
- Richins, Marsha L. 1991. Social Comparison and the Idealized Images of Advertising. Journal of Consumer Research 18: 71-83.[Crossref]
- Shugart, Helene A. 2001. Isn't It Ironic? The Intersection of Third-Wave Feminism and Generation X, Women's Studies in Communication 2:131-68.
- Signorielli, Nancy, Douglas McLeod and Elaine Healy. 1994. Gender stereotypes in MTV Commercials. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 3: 323-338.
- Smith, Lois J. 1994. A content analysis of gender differences in children's advertising. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, 3: 323-338.
- Suggs, Welch. 2005. A Place on the Team: The Triumph and Tragedy of Title IX. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
- Sullivan, R. 1985. A law that needs more muscle. Sports Illustrated March 4: 9.
- Wolverton, Basil. 2006 Our Sportsgear, Ourselves. Women entrepreneurs mined a niche the big boys ignored - until now. Sporting Goods Business Magazine, Available at
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 1991. Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health. Washington D.C.: 136.
- Van Zoonen, Liesbet. 1996. Feminist perspectives on the media. In J. Curran & M. Gurevitch (eds.), Mass Media and Society. London: Edward Arnold.
Publication order reference