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A sporting difference?: A comparative analysis of the media portrayal of male and female athletes during the Olympic Games 2016
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Media Studies.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The underrepresentation of sportswomen in all forms of news coverage has been widely acknowledged by feminist media scholars. However, some researchers claim that there is a shift towards greater gender equality of sports media coverage, especially during the Olympic Games. In light of such studies, the present study examined the quantitative and qualitative media representations of male and female athletes in six German news media outlets during the Olympic Games 2016. The empirical analysis focused on the coverage of the German men’s and women’s hockey team. In contrast to previous studies, the chosen example represents a special case, since on the factual level, hockey can be seen as a gender equal sport, because hockey is played by men and women equally in Germany and both teams won the bronze medal at the Olympics 2016. Content analysis and feminist critical discourse analyses were used to examine in what ways the media portrays male and female hockey players differently and thereby plays a part in the ideological construction of gender.

The study found that, although the selected German media outlets gave more coverage to the hockey women than sportswomen usually receive, the coverage was filled with narratives based on hegemonic masculinity that produces striking contrasts between the female and male hockey players. Results show that the media was more likely to minimize the athleticism of the hockey women, by comparing them to the men’s team, including non-sport relevant information or emphasizing their traditional gender roles as wives and mothers. Moreover, the coverage of the female hockey players typically employed expressions which imitate femininity, whereas the language used to report on the male athletes contained power descriptors, conforming to the hegemonic notions of masculinity. Thus, the media reporting produces gender differences and naturalizes a gender hierarchy in which sportswomen are represented as inferior.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 78 p.
Keyword [en]
Gender, equality, media representation, sport, Olympic Games, content analysis, feminist critical discourse analysis
National Category
Media and Communications
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-143968OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-143968DiVA: diva2:1106107
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Available from: 2017-06-11 Created: 2017-06-07 Last updated: 2017-06-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf