Most people watch some form of sports, whether it be the Olympics or the highlights on ESPN. The NBA and NHL playoffs are underway and theyit seems to be the only news on ESPN. There is almost no coverage of the WNBA playoffs or any female athletics. Tennis isone of the only big sports on ESPN for women. While during the Olympics the coverage seems to be non-stop and close to equal. Women’s participation in sport is at an all-time high and has almost become equal with men’s, however,. sSports media does notfails to show this equality and skews the way we look at these athletes. Through the disciplines of sociology and gender studies, it can be seen that despite the many gains of women in sports since the enactment of Title IX, “traditional” notions of masculinity and femininity still dominate media coverage of males and females in sports, which is observed in Olympic programming and sports news broadcasts.
Sociology is a growing discipline and is an important factor to the understanding of different parts of society. Sociology is “a social science that studies human societies, their interactions, and the processes that preserve and change them” (Faris and Form P1). Basically, sociology is the study of different groups and their human interactions compared to the society as a whole. One part of society that sociologists have studied is the media coverage of sports. These sociologists have studied how race, gender, gender identity, and stereotypes affect what and how sport is covered in the media. Overall, sociologists critically examine parts of the society and make conclusions about those parts of society that they have studied. Sociologists have created many studies about the way the media cover gender identity in sports.
Gender studies is a discipline that “investigates the actual (physical and biological) gender differences between women and men,” but is critical in analyzing “what these differences mean in a socio-cultural context” (“What Is Gender Studies?” P1). In other words, gender studies examines the differences between men and women, but analyzes what the differences mean in a social and cultural context. This is studied because there are few areas of life that are not impacted by gender (“Gender Studies and Social Analysis.” P1). Gender impacts everyday life such as families, health, identities, and fashion choices (P1). In sports media, gender influences the way sports commentators and sports broadcasters depict a specific gender. Gender also impacts the amount of coverage in sports media that the gender gets.
Masculinity and Femininity is the description of a man or women’s gender identity. It is “traditional” for a man to be masculine and a female to be feminine (Stets and Burke 1). The notions of masculinity and femininity are not based on the natural differences between sexes, but by the social and cultural circumstances a person is born in (3). These social and cultural circumstances have been engrained in the lives of...