Media can be looked at as a persuasive tool used to strengthen different belief systems that society holds valuable. It can easily be used as a tool because it engulfs the major majority of this country. Television, radio, newspapers, and billboards are all examples of media outlets that are affective in communicating to the country. These outlets can change viewer perceptions either consciously but most of the time subconsciously. Gender issues have been important and highly debated for centuries now. Masculintiy has always been dominant over femininity.
Though women have made major strides in earning respect, they are still looked at as inferior to men. One reason this is still the case is because of the power that sport media coverage has on society. “Many authors have argued that sport has been used to uphold a gender order in society in which men occupy positions of power and traditional notions of masculinity are more cherished than femininity…A considerable body of research has shown that media strengthen and sustain this construction of the gender order. In other words the media has been used as a tool to keep men a step ahead of women. It is true that male sports are covered much more than female sports. Female sports are either excluded totally or generally touched on. It is very rare that the media will go into a detailed analysis of a womens sporting event, as opposed to the way they cover a mens sporting event which at times can be covered for over a day. Take Monday Night Football for example.. The coverage starts at 3 on Monday afternoon and ends at approximately 6 pm the next day.
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If not excluded entirely, women are often trivialized. “When female athletes are visible in sport media, they are often trivialized through descriptions of them as sex objects, through unfavorable comparisons with men of their abilities, or by having their accomplishments and skill level minimized” Ana Kournakova is the epitome of this idea. Ana was an extremely popular womens tennis player, not for her uncanny ability to perform well in her sport, but more for her uncanny ability to look beautiful.
The media coverage she received was soley for the fact that she was gorgeous. There are many women tennis players much more skilled than Ana that hardly receive any media coverage. This proves that women can be trivialized by being looked at as sex objects which indirectly will stabilize and/or enhance the role of men in society. This idea is also advocated by the media coverage of the NCAA basketball final four.
Coverage of the mens final four was more thorough and focused more on the actual sport while the importance of the womens final four was trivialized through coverage. “…concluded that sport media construct the men’s Final Four as a historic event, while minimizing the importance of the women’s Final Four…found that female players were more likely to be evaluated for their personality, looks and appearance…” This also demonstrates how the media undermines the credibility of female athletes.
Masculine dominance will be present in this society if the media continues to make a mockery of women sports. If women sports were taken seriously like male sports, it is quite possible that women would gain more respect throughout the country. According to…. “Significant disparities between male and female sports events have been observed across several themes of media coverage. First, more attention has been given to men’s than to women’s sports. Two studies found more than 90 percent of broadcast time by SportsCenter devotedto men’s events. “