An Embodied Challenge to Femininity as Disciplinary Power in the Contemporary American Young Adult Sports Novels


  • Rocío Riestra-Camacho



YA fiction, sports fiction, contemporary American literature, disciplinary power, body, femininity, friendship, dietetics


The goal of this paper is to investigate the role of disciplinary power regimes of femininity in sporting institutions depicted in sports fiction. With a renewed interest in analyzing sports practices as specifically gendered, this paper addresses how contemporary narratives’ deeper address of the affective encounters of characters has reconfigured the sports literary panorama. As represented in Miranda Kenneally’s novel, Coming Up for Air (2017), friendship poses a challenge to the institutionalized, parental and gendered bodily vulnerability of sports. The analysis reveals how the adolescent body is manageable but can also contest, in direct questioning of the interests of authority. Enjoying friendship in sports, eventually, reveals paths towards more inclusive (bodily) practices in them. Finally, this paper speaks of the fact that juvenile fiction, traditionally considered an archive of negative influence on young readers’ behaviors, can exercise the opposite effect too.


Article received: December 28, 2018; Article accepted: January 23, 2019; Published online: April 15, 2019; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Riestra-Camacho, Rocío. "An Embodied Challenge to Femininity as Disciplinary Power in the Contemporary American Young Adult Sports Novels." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 18 (2019): 65–77. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i18.295

Author Biography

Rocío Riestra-Camacho

University of Oviedo

Rocío Riestra-Camacho (Gijón, Spain, 1994) is a first-year PhD Candidate at the Department of English, French, and German Philology at the University of Oviedo. She currently holds a FPU Scholarship from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports (Training Programme for Academic Staff Scholarship). She recently completed the Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies at the Universities of Oviedo (2016/2017) and Utrecht (2017/2018), after having graduated with honours in the English Studies Degree at the University of Oviedo (2012/2016). Her field of interest focuses on literature, cognitive psychology, gender and corporeality. Her research investigates the effects on young female readers of representations of eating and sports patterns in US young adult fiction and drama, specifically the cognitive bibliotherapeutic potential of these texts to contribute to the treatment of anorexia.


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How to Cite

Riestra-Camacho, R. (2019). An Embodied Challenge to Femininity as Disciplinary Power in the Contemporary American Young Adult Sports Novels. AM Journal of Art and Media Studies, (18), 65–77.