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Feminist Theology, Identity, and Discourse: A Closer Look at the ‘Coming Out’ of Sheryl Swoopes

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      SAGE Publications
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    • Abstract:
      Sheryl Swoopes is an African American woman and a celebrity in the US Women’s National Basketball Association. In 2005, she announced she was in a seven-year relationship with a woman and received a six figure endorsement deal with a lesbian cruise line. Swoopes was also branded as a mother and married to a man — inferring heterosexuality. The article uses the ‘coming out’ to look at the interconnections of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and celebrity identities. Using discourse analysis the article examines both academic and popular discourse to raise the question: ‘Is Sheryl Swoopes a lesbian?’ When can she self-identify as a lesbian and become an insider in the queer community? The article argues for feminists to see oppressions as multiplicative, rather than using the adding-on approach. Identifying celebrity as a capitalist identity, the article shows the challenges of identity and discourse and how they continue to frame our theological method.
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