Women in Sport – Does the media take things too far too often?

I started reading chapter 13 in Dave Zirin’s book “Game Over”, and literally stopped after the first few pages, as I was so disgusted by what I was reading.  This chapter started off summarizing  a particular event that happened at York University in the year 2011.  “A Toronto police officer told students at a campus safety information session at York University, ‘Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized’.  The message was that women bring sexual assault on themselves by the way they act or dress” (Zirin, 2013, pg. 135).  Zirin then went on by explaining a couple of scenario’s in the sporting world with famous female athletes posing in inappropriate clothing on the cover of a magazine.  He then incorporates a sociologist from the University of Minnesota, Mary Jo Kane.  Kane “specializes in gender and sports” and “undertook a far-reaching study to understand the effect of sexualizing women athletes” (Zirin, 2013, pg. 137).  Her concern was that although these photo’s sold a lot of magazines, it also drew a lot of negative attention and fear from the female fan base and the “fathers with daughters” fan base (Zirin, 2013, pg. 137).

My concern for this is the young female athletes that are wanting to make it to the top, but have a fear that they have to be involved in this type of “media” in order to gain the fame and money.  What does this say to these young girls ?  Secondly, what about the fear that is being placed in the parents for their daughters ?  It seems like the media and athletes will do anything for publicity and money these days.

Is this becoming a new trend in the media ?  Where do you see this type of ‘media’ taking the world of sport for women?

Zirin, D. (2013). Game over: How politics has turned the sport world upside down. New York: The New Press.

Belina Hooper

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3 Responses to Women in Sport – Does the media take things too far too often?

  1. kd09ch says:

    I found this blog very interesting and I do agree with you. It is extremely disappointing that women in sport are portrayed by their sexuality. The media focuses on this and not their actual skill. When writing my paper I found many examples of how women in professional sport are portrayed and I was shocked by this because I believe women deserve a lot of respect to be at the professional level. the question is who’s fault is it? it is the media, the leagues? the point I am trying to make is that I think a huge change needs to be made with women in sports because this is inequality. and this does not leave a good example for the young women who want to perform at the professional level.

  2. bcubello says:

    Unfortunately, I do believe that this is a new trend in the media in regards to coverage of women’s sports. The sad reality is that in order for female sports to receive attention from the media, there has to be some sort of sex appeal. This is why one of the most watched women Olympic sporting events is beach volleyball. Athletic women playing volleyball in bikinis is a huge selling point for any media outlet. The other day, I was listening to the FAN590 and the station went from discussing NHL news to who were the sexiest women athletes in sports.

  3. mollymchardy says:

    unfortunately you are right in that the media over sexualizes women in sports, when looking at articles about the female athletes the women are posed to look more feminine and delicate with maybe a piece of equipment they use where as the men are shown in action and looking aggressive. However, there are some female athletes that dont to follow this, like Christine Sinclair or Hayley Wickenheiser who are setting a much better example for young female athletes. Hopefully more female athletes will follow their lead and not allow themselves to be portrayed in this manner.

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