Race, hegemonic masculinity, and the ‘‘linpossible!’’: An analysis of media representations of Jeremy Lin

Michael Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

In February 2012, Jeremy Lin, the first American of Taiwanese and Chinese descent to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA), led the Knicks to seven straight victories while establishing an NBA scoring record. This study analyzes how U.S. mass media contextualized Lin’s meteoric rise in the NBA and explores assumptions grounded in the media coverage of Lin, including how race and masculinity are defined within a dominant ideological field and how notions of a hegemonic masculinity define the ‘‘other.’’ This article looks at mass media as a site of complicity for the construction and maintenance of hegemonic masculinity by examining media representations and sports media columnists’ coverage of Jeremy Lin’s meteoric rise in the NBA from February 5 to March 15, 2012. Critical discourse analysis reveals that the majority of mainstream news media outlets did not overtly racialize Lin’s meteoric rise to stardom. However, the research uncovered several instances of racialized coverage and the incorporation of emasculation discourse to reinforce and police hegemonic notions of masculinity. Furthermore, the intense ‘‘media mania’’ referred to as ‘‘Linsanity’’ operated to preserve the dominant discourse of masculinity by confirming the ‘‘low expectations’’ inscribed in Asian male bodies, making Lin’s success ‘‘miraculous’’ and ‘‘warranting’’ intense media attention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-389
Number of pages23
JournalCommunication and Sport
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Asian American
  • Hegemony
  • Masculinity
  • Mass media
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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