Public Talk: "When Your Game Face Is a Smile"

Please join us for a public talk by Prof. Laura Grindstaff, Department of Sociology, University of California Davis.  Her talk is titled "When Your Game Face Is a Smile: Cheerleading, Postfeminism, and Gender performativity" and will take place on Monday, October 27th, at 12 to 1:15 pm in the Integrative Learning Center, Room N345.

Summary: Why, in the wake of second-wave feminism and the passage of Title IX, did cheerleading not only survive, but grow and thrive? Drawing on a decade of ongoing ethnographic research in the US, this talk charts the evolution of cheerleading over time and explores the gender/race/class politics at play in the various types of cheerleading currently practiced. If cheerleading is an instance of popular culture reinventing itself to keep up with the times, it is critical to ask what this reinvention tells us about gender difference and gender inequality in a seemingly “postfeminist” era.

Dr. Laura Grindstaff is Professor of Sociology at UC Davis. Her research and teaching focus primarily on American popular culture and its role in constructing gender, race, and class inequality. She is the author of The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows, co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Cultural Sociology, and has published widely in journals and edited volumes on the topic of reality television. In collaboration with UMass Amherst colleague Emily West, Grindstaff is conducting long-term ethnographic research on cheerleading in the US examining the tensions between the “feminine” realm of cheerleading and the “masculine” realm of sport as well as how and why young people today embrace particular cultural scripts regarding gender and sexuality.

Prof. Grindstaff's talk is sponsored by the Department of Communication.  For more information, please contact Emily West,, 413-545-6345.

Event Date: 
Monday, October 27, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:15pm