Moving beyond the racial binary: Examining the racial representations of women in "Sports Illustrated"
Duckworth, Kiera D.
MetadataShow full item record
The media coverage of women athletes has traditionally paled in comparison to men involved in sport. The representations afforded to women athletes have included an emphasis on their femininity, heterosexuality, and their sex appeal rather than their physical abilities, strength, or athletic competence. The purpose of this study is twofold. First, I sought to examine the textual and visual representations associated with articles pertaining to women athletes of various racial backgrounds to determine if there is a dominant representation of women that transcends racial lines. Second, through the same measures of analysis, I examined the images of women, athletes and non-athletes, in the advertisements of Sports Illustrated to explore how the representations of women are constructed for marketing purposes. A content analysis of the Olympic years since 1972 (683 representations in articles and 567 advertisements) of Sports Illustrated found women, regardless of racial background, were overwhelmingly portrayed through textual and visual representations as strong, competent athletes throughout the articles. Women appearing in advertisements were most likely portrayed along racial stereotypes. White women were depicted as the "girl next door," African American women were strong and athletic while Asian women were shown as the sexualized other. The results of this study both support and challenge prior research conducted on women in sport media and offer encouraging data that show women are portrayed as athletic figures most often.