Nice Legs: How Female Athletes are Portrayed Differently than their Male Counterparts in American Sports
With the increase in women’s professional sports teams and the burst in female sport participation since Title IX, we might expect increased media attention on women’s sports. However, female athletes’ journey for equality is still a work in progress. Women in sports are underrepresented in the volume and type of sports coverage they receive. They are generally represented in media forms, such as magazines and advertising, that focus on their bodies as sexual objects rather than their abilities as athletes. This paper will explore how female athletes are portrayed not only less and in less athletic contexts than male athletes, but also in ways that support the patriarchal dominance that is prevalent in American sports. By examining print media, advertising, televised sports coverage and social media, this paper demonstrates the system of male hegemony that underlies American sports.