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Conference paper

Pacific Island women, body image and sport

Sport Recreation Body image Women Pacific women Pacific Area

This article analyses the representation of Pacific women from an Orientalist theoretical framework. The analysis traces prominent representations of Pacific women within early colonial and Christian discourses, and dominant representations since colonisation. Included in this analysis is a discussion of the fantasy of Western men, that is, of the 'easy' Pacific women. One of the central arguments of this article is that the reality of the ideal Pacific female body-shape from a Pacific perspective is not only in stark contrast to the Western ideal, but is also in variance with the imagined erotic archetype of Western men. To locate this analysis within the contemporary diasporic milieu, case-studies of Pacific women in the sport of netball will be used to determine the impact of Orientalist-like representations of body-shape and erotic fantasy on Pacific women now residing in New Zealand, and to highlight the differences between the Pacific and Western body-shape ideals.

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