Gender Biases in Sport Media
In today’s society, it is nearly impossible to imagine our lives without the media. Television, radio, social media, and other types of media are a big influence on our lives and we all use them on a daily basis. They give us our news, provide us with entertainment, and we base a lot of our views and beliefs off of what we see and hear in the media. The media have plenty of positive aspects; however, with the major influence they have on individuals, the media can have many downsides. One of these downsides would be the media’s ability to create negative perceptions for the viewers. An example of this problem with the media is the coverage of men’s and women’s sports. Both professional and college sports are all over the media. They show up in television, magazines, advertisements, and many other places. Although it is good that sports get this great amount of attention, the problem with the sport media is that women’s sports do not receive equivalent coverage that men’s sports do. Sport media focuses almost completely on men’s sports and women’s sports do not get the equal attention that they deserve, and even when female athletes are covered in the media, they are almost always feminized and gender marked. Sport media holds numerous gender biases against women’s sports and this creates negative perceptions of them in our society. Female athletes need to receive the equal treatment from the media that they deserve.
Since the enactment of Title IX in 1972, women have shown great improvement in their involvement in sports. More women are participating in sports than ever before and the numbers continue to rise. Although women’s sports have become increasingly popular and have begun to receive more attention from the media than they have before, they still get nowhere near the amount of attention that men’s sports do. Television is the most popular way people watch sports and get their sports news and it is also the biggest offender of not giving women’s sports equal coverage. Sociologists from the University of Southern California and Purdue University conducted a six-week study of network and cable sports news in 2009. From the three network affiliates they studied, they found that 96.3 percent of the coverage was for men’s sports and women only received 1.6 percent (Messner and Cooky 4). When analyzing the coverage of Sports Center, which is arguably the most popular sports show on television, they found that women still only received just 1.4 percent of their coverage (4). This study also found that 100 percent of the Sports Center programs had a lead story that was about men’s sports (4). Even the most renowned and credible sports show, which only shows sports all year long, does not even provide women’s sports with equal attention. Even more shocking than this was that the study also revealed that reporters devoted more coverage to men’s sports that were out of season than they...