Thursday, November 16, 2006

Research of the Week

Several scholars have published research related to gender and sports media representation. One of the more recent is--

Passing it On: The Reinforcement of Male Hegemony in Sports Journalism Textbooks. By: Hardin, Marie; Dodd, Julie E.; Lauffer, Kimberly. Mass Communication & Society, Fall2006, 9, (4), 429-446.

Abstract: "As sports media have grown, so have collegiate programs and classes to train sports journalists. Sports media have traditionally marginalized women and women's sports; whether college courses and textbooks have reinforced male hegemony has not been explored. Overall, the eight books of the study do not encourage aspiring journalists to address gender inequities in sports journalism."

As someone who has written a sports journalism textbook, I hope mine wasn't one of the ones considered to have marginalized women and women's sports, and I certainly have never taught students to do that. But this also raises an interesting issue. I don't think anyone could argue that the growth in sports media has come from coverage of male events and athletes, and that male events and athletes generate more audience interest and higher ratings compared to female events and athletes. So if networks spend more time and money showcasing NCAA Football at the expense of women's soccer, is that reinforcement of male hegemony or a practical business decision? A related issue is that males are in the management positions to enforce male hegemony. But even if women were making the decisions, from a business standpoint, wouldn't it still make sense to show men's football over women's soccer?

Our Sports Media Turkey wants to wish everyone a happy holiday. I'll try to keep posting during Thanksgiving week, if I can shake myself from the effects of excessive football and tryptophan.


Blogger Angela K said...

Interesting question about whether current practices reinforce hegemony or are just smart business decisions. It could be extended to include bias toward covering the big-name schools and pro teams.

The media determine what's news to a large extent so if they're only covering the big stories, of course it seems that more people want them. But who's to say we wouldn't want other stories if we were exposed more often to them?

I know there are several stories about women and women's sports I'd like to see covered that would be just good sports stories (such as profiles of the few women team owners and women athletic directors). There are good women's storylines out there. I don't think that's entirely because people don't want to see them, but because you really have to search to find them and most people go with path of least resistance.

The same is true of men's sports in terms of who and what get covered. I'd sure like to see more about other teams than the Yankees and Red Sox, and I don't think I'm alone in this. But the powers that be have declared those are what most people want to see--but they've done that by covering them mostly, so it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

11:59 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home