How are Female Athletes Portrayed in the Media?


Accurate representation of female athletes is usually absent from the media. Even though many of American sports today are different for both genders, they are still sports nonetheless and show fitness, endurance, skill and competition. As research has showed, the number of women playing sports has increased significantly, still not as many as men. But in some cultures women are frowned upon who have any interest in playing a sport, as exemplified in the modern film Bend It Like Beckham”. Some cultures believe that women are going against the code of conduct for the way women are supposed to act, because this type of athleticism and aggression is only allowed for males.

Subsequently, women are not displayed  in the media nearly as much as men, like in ESPN News coverage’s or front pages of articles. Then we notice how the women that do get attention from the media, get the recognition for being pretty or for her social life and not for her athletic achievements or actions. For instance, the pictures are solely about her body. Here are a couple of examples: Antonija Misura a basketball player, Ellen Hoog a field hockey player, Michelle Jenneke a track and field athlete, Kaylyn Kyle a soccer playerManon Flier a volleyball player, and Lacy Schnoor a skier. Then all of a sudden no one is paying attention to her athletic achievements, because they are looking at her body. In pictures of female athletes they usually have on barely any clothes but always have a lot of makeup and a push-up bra. Just merely by searching in Google for female athletes, one would be concerned that they were actually entering a porn website. The media is trying to adhere to the popular audience, more specifically males, in order to make money and keep the consumption process going.

In a study called Exploring Elite Female Athletes questions were conducted to female athletes themselves, stating how they wanted to be portrayed in the media compared with what they know would get them publicity in the media, and as one could imagine, they are not the same. Though these images do gain much more attention, they also do not foster respect for female athletes, and give the idea that female athletic competition is more like porn than it is a sport.