April 1, 2008

Positive Sports Reporting

Posted in gender, gender stereotypes, mass media, props where props are due, representation, sports at 11:37 am by LB

Since I last week gave a mini-rant about the sport and gender–how female athletes are represented in that their are either sexualized, passive, and looking “feminine” while playing sports (i.e. the beauty and grace-not strength-in tennis, the media and advertising images of female athletes), OR how they are distinguished from “proper” female bodies and their activities (i.e. the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue), and how this is consistent with the way that women’s accomplishments and skills are persistently assessed–I thought this was worth a nod. Via Feministe, the New York Times in reporting about female athletes used photographs of female athletes in action and on its front page. And not in grace and poise, but in raw strength and power of athletic activity.

Significantly, one of the stories was not even relating to a sport activity-the ideal opportunity to emphasize the beauty and femininity of the athlete over her athleticism. But they didn’t.

This anomaly doesn’t mean that sexism and heteronormative gender-production in sport doesn’t exist. This isn’t “proof” of any sort. Gender and sport (and I’m talking more about representation of women than participation of women in sport) is a big concern on mine, and I expect it is something I will continue to address.

But props where props are due.

And as Jill @ Feministe said,

I just keep repeating to myself: Baby steps.



  1. judgesnineteen said,

    When I walk to school I pass by a building with a sign on it that says something about celebrating women athletes, and it has two pictures. One is actually a woman engaging in athletics. The other is a closeup on a woman that looks sexy. I think she happens to be wearing a sports top, and her hair looks like she’s in motion, but who wears their hair down to run? It’s clearly just about her looking sexy. I was disappointed. So yeah – sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t. Nice to have good news though!

  2. lindabeth said,

    Right…because those images together give the idea “be athletics and sexy”. It seems like if you’re female, being athletic is never enough.

    And that’s near your school? That’s too bad, I bet lots of girls walk by it every day too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: