Gendered Mass Media: The Portrayal of the Male and Female Athlete
In today’s society, mass media and its representation of those being covered has a direct influence on the population. With all of the newspaper tabloids, gossip talk shows, entertainment news programs and general celebrity headlines, forming opinions and generating emotions about those in the news is often unavoidable. Mass media is just that, media that the masses observe, hear, and form conclusions about. Such a media category is the realm of sports.
Just like any other media outlet, sports programs, newspaper sections, magazines, etc. have just as powerful of an affect on its viewers as do the tabloids and entertainment news shows. Athletes, professional or collegiate, are constantly in the media spotlight, and now more than ever. This is due to the rise of televised sports, sport specific television channels, and advertisements featuring athletes. Channels such as ESPN and all of its substations (ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPN U, etc.), have made sports a media target which attracts people of different race, religion, age, and gender. With all of the hype surrounding today’s sports crazed media obsession, one would tend to think that perhaps lines of segregation have been dissolved and equality among athlete portrayal has been achieved. One would be wrong. Despite its growing popularity and increasing broadcasting, the female athlete still struggles to be seen as equal to their male counterpart in the sports media limelight (Angelini, 2005).
In James Angelini’s article, “Sports and Gender: The Effects on Emotional Dominance,” he states that women’s sports (team or individual) account for approximately 5% of total sports exposure (Angelini, 2005). This is a startling statistic especially in today’s “over-exposure” of sports in all categories male or female focused. And as Angelini also point out, this statistic is a rise as of recently with 1992 being the first year where total...