Matatapang, Matatalino: A Semiotic Analysis of the Portrayal of Masculinity in the UP Pep Squad's UAAP Cheerdance Competition Routines from 1998 to 2018 as Mediated By Its Live Coverage

ABSTRACT

Sunga, E.G. (2019). Matatapang, Matatalino: A Semiotic Analysis of the Portrayal of Masculinity in the UP Pep Squad's UAAP Cheerdance Competition Routines from 1998 to 2018 as Mediated By Its Live Coverage (Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis). College of Mass Communication, University of the Philipines Diliman, Quezon City.

This study aims to examine how the media portrays men in sports, particularly in an arena that has long been touted as 'feminine': cheerleading. Guided by Easthope's masculine myth, Feasey's plural masculinities, Connell's hierarchy of masculinities, and Butler’s theory of gender performativity, this research argues that there are fluid constructions of masculinity, and throughout the years the UP Pep Squad has portrayed various masculine images in their UAAP Cheerdance Competition routines from 1998 to 2018.

Using textual analysis, specifically semiotics, the research looked into the routines' performative elements such as costume, hair and make-up, music, props, stunts, choreography, and cheer lyrics to determine the images of masculinity portrayed by the UP Pep Squad in their performances over time. It also analyzed the representation of men as framed and seen through the camera shots and angles of the live television coverage of the event. Point/s of shift in these portrayals were then distinguished and located.

Results show that the UP Pep Squad performed images of masculinity that span the whole spectrum, shifting between hegemonic, complicit, marginalized, and subordinate masculinities across 20 years of performances. The coverage of the UAAP CDC has evolved as well: close-ups were employed heavily in the earlier years that highlighted the gender binary between men and women, while the coverage of the latter years used more wide-framed shots that promoted inclusivity and equality, with men now part of the collective.

The study's goal is to deconstruct stereotypes about masculinity and highlight the different images of it that society often overlooks. The researcher hopes to help the readers understand the gendered politics of sports, and to contribute to a body of knowledge rarely touched upon in the country.

Keywords: cheerleading, masculinity, representation, UAAP, UP Pep Squad

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