Media Representation of Women in Sports

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Media Representation of Women in Sport: Faster, Stronger, Sexier?
-It has been previously discovered that through a series of discriminating and normalizing “techniques,” the American media covertly disparage and subordinate sportswomen. To what extent does the media participate in the discrimination of female athletes today, moreover, how does discrimination in sports media translate into and affect the social and athletic lives of female athletes.
-The 2012 London Summer Olympics Games follow this modern trend in sports media, and had a tendency to project hegemonic gender and femininity standards onto society. Showing some major differences between female and male sports commentary.
- The results revealed interesting findings. First, discrimination in sports media commentary is still present, albeit highly subtle and no longer overpoweringly oppressive as it was presented in past literature. Nevertheless, the media continues to strongly encourage the sexualization of female athletes.
-“Candance Parker is beautiful. Breathtaking, really, with flawless skin, endless legs and a C cup…She is a woman who plays like a man, one of the boys, if the boys had C cups and flawless skin…She’s the total package: your sister’s pal, your brother’s prom date, a supermom-to-be (Glock, 2010).”
-These were the words in the opening lines of an ESPN article about WNBA star Candace Parker. In her feature cover photo, Parker is dressed in a beautiful white dress-showing ample cleavage- and lovingly holding her pregnant belly. This athlete is one of women’s basketball’s best player of all time. She has been called the WNBA parallel to Michael Jordan. She is an Olympian, an MVP, and the first female in her sport to be able to dunk a basketball, and y...

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... women, but especially athletic women, and is socially constructed to dictate women’s appearance, demeanor and values (Krane et al, 2004).” Females, for example, are expected to look and behave in a feminine way in order to satisfy heteronormative practices such as marriage. However, to participate in a sport, a traditionally male dominated realm, female athletes must acquire more traditionally masculine characteristics like strength, aggression, competitiveness, and assertiveness; characteristics that betray hegemonic gender and societal norms. Issues pertaining to feminine behavior and appropriate gender roles continue to be the root cause of discrimination not only in sport, but also in modern society as “sport is a sub culture within a larger society, therefore nothing typically occurs in sport that does not occur in the larger culture (Vodden & Schell, 2010).”

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