Representation of Athletes in the Media Essay

2352 Words Nov 3rd, 2012 10 Pages
There has been an abundance literature on the subject of the representation of female athletes in the media, from television coverage and newspapers to magazines and websites. From ancient Greece where it was not allowed for women to partake in or even watch the Olympic Games and the power and independence of the Amazonian tribal warrior woman, to present day and the struggles with underrepresentation and misrepresentation of female athletes in sport media (George, Hartley, Paris, 2001; Creedon, 1994; Bernstein, 2002). The mass media is a sociocultural machine that churns out influential images and articles about (sporting) issues that reflect ideologies, values and beliefs that shape societies attitudes towards that issue, such as the …show more content…
So, female athletes being pictured in a way that suggests passiveness, sexually difference and non-competitiveness, for example, will only function to perpetuate ‘otherness’ and inferiority in the sport, therefore cause to devalue and marginalise the accomplishments of female athletes (Jones, 2006). When female athletes do get high percentages of photographic coverage in the media, the photographs depict the female athletes in a passive or non-athletic role. Boutlilier and SanGoivannis’ (1983) study of the 25 year special edition of Sports Illustrated found 60 per cent of the photos of women showed them in this way and those photos depicting men in the same way was only 44 per cent. It can be argued this is because, in western culture, women that show traits of active physicality, toughness and aggressiveness are seen in the eyes of society as lesbian, due to these classically masculine sporting characteristics (Kane and Lenskyj, 1989). Homosexuality is only just being appreciated as a socio-acceptable sexuality, France is set to legalize same-sex marriages in 2013. But at the moment it would seem that sporting ideologies are behind the times as far as progression in social changes are concerned. In sport it can be seen as a threat to the male dominance that surrounds sport. A lesbian presence in sport is a threat because it disrupts and challenges the male hegemony by ‘upsetting existing power structures based on gender and sexuality’ (Kane and Lenskyj,

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