Stereotypical Media Representations of Female Athletes Starts Early

boy & girlToday I was preparing for a WeCoach workshop and was looking for some images on IStock.com. Pictured here is a classic example of how the (re)production of gender stereotypes starts early and in ways we might not even notice because they seem so innocuous. Ironically, shortly after I found these images I read the AAUW blog on Why Media Representation Matters which touched upon the newly released The Shriver Report-A Woman’s Nation. So far, I’ve read the Executive Summary of A Woman’s Nation, and in light of the Tucker Center’s Distinguished Lecture on the potential impact  of social media on women’s sport and the story released today by the New York Post suggesting that ESPN encourages “sexual insensitivity”,  I was struck by the assertion that outdated gender stereotypes will only change if women rise within the ranks and launch new media of their own. So what are we waiting for?

One Reply to “Stereotypical Media Representations of Female Athletes Starts Early”

  1. As stated during the lecture, many females in today’s society accept the gender stereotypes and lack of media coverage as normal. The “normalcy” of this invisibility of women in sports media coverage is overwhelmingly daunting. To reverse the effects of traditional media, as well as the new-age social media would force women to further place themselves in a spotlight to be scrutinized, not only by the traditional schauvinistic male viewpoint, but even more ego-busting by other women. It is hard to get females to trust other females in authoritative power, when that is not what we were taught to expect. A white-male in a powersuit, a white-male in a track suit, or even a white-male in khakis and a t-shirt are taken more seriously than females in places of authority, even if they haven’t proven any talent. So how can we get females to trust other females enough that even if women do create blogs, websites, or articles, that they will be taken seriously enough to make an impact? Women are too largely divided, that gender stereotypes continue to be perpetuated and suppression within jobs and society as a whole is subconsciously (and at this point, consciously) allowed.

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