Essay about Mass Media And Gender Roles Grsj 300

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Effects of Mass Media on Gender Role Differentiation
Intersectional Approached to Gender Relations – GRSJ 300

Mass Media has helped to perpetuate a form of social bias, by focusing greater attention on men’s sports over women’s sports. This has caused a major influence on the social beliefs about gender roles. Sport celebrates masculinity by emphasizing sports which feature power and strength (football and hockey) while undermining sports which have elements of grace and control (gymnastics and figure skating). This media representation of sport is not only problematic for females, but also for males. It will be discussed how the focus of masculinity within sports can cause great pressure on men to obtain a certain body type, and that being a successful athlete relates to how “male” one is. In comparison to male athletes, the press focuses on how female athletes “do gender” instead of praising their athleticism. Through an examination of several articles it will become clear how female athletes are often trivialized through comments on their appearance, attitude, and sexual orientation. Female athletes who challenge the patriarchal ideology are underrepresented, and equal media attention must be paid to both male and female sport. Since the 1970’s, one of the single most dramatic changes in the world of sport has been the increase of participation among females. This is due in partial to both government legislation, and a rise in media presence. Since the early Olympic Games, many people argued that women should not participate in sport. Pierre de Coubertine (1896), the founder of the modern Olympic Games stated “At the Olympics, the primary role (of women) should be like the ancient tournaments – the crowning of the victors with laurels”. Social changes in the 1960’s and 1970’s challenged the traditional social attitudes and beliefs about gender roles in sport. As an example, the famous tennis match between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs (1973) also helped to change social attitudes. More importantly, during that same period of time, women’s tennis arguably benefited more from the development of corporate sponsorship. These liberal approaches have dominated women’s sport advocacy and research in most Western countries, including Canada, since the 1960s wave of the women’s movement. This approach defined formal equality primarily in terms of girls’ and women’s access to the same or equivalent sport and recreational opportunities as boys and men. The liberal agenda focused on removing policy and legislative barriers that prevented girls and women (mostly white and middle-class) from enjoying the same opportunities as their male counterparts. In addition to increasing female participation at the club and community levels, this approach called for: more Olympic sports and events for women, more balanced media coverage of female athletes, and more women in coaching, officiating, administration, and sport media positions. Despite these remarkable changes in attitude towards women in sport, there is still a huge problem in the coverage of women’s sport being presented by the media. According to Bruce (2013), less than 5% of all broadcast sport media pertains to female athletes. This data is shocking, due to the massive increase in female sport participation that has occurred over the past 40 years, we should be seeing a much greater percentage of female sports being broadcast. Not only is the amount of coverage lacking, the quality of coverage for women is abysmal. For example, the popular sport periodical, Sports Illustrated (SI), featured female athletes on 4.9% of their covers between 2000 and 2011 (Weber & Carini, 2012). The 4.9% of women on these covers are more often portrayed as sexual objects, not athletes. Take a walk through the magazine aisle and you can immediately see the differences in sports magazine covers that feature either males or females. The males featured on these covers are portrayed as