Sports ideologies through photography

Text: Sport, Culture, and Media by David Rowe, chapter 5: Framed and Mounted: Sport Through the Photographic Eye

Characteristics of Sports Media (that you may have never considered)

checkmarkfeatures the accomplishments of men more than those of women

checkmarkfeatures photos of men more than those of women

checkmarkfeatures revealing photos of women more than those of men

checkmarkfeatures women in subordinate roles more than in roles of power (such as interviewing players after a game)

Sports is an ideology.  I’m sure you know what sports are, just like I’m sure that you know the above list is true, but I’m also pretty sure that you never quite considered those factors in such a blunt way. The ideology that sports presents is that the world of sports is one run by men. More male athletes are featured, even though there are sports that are dominated by females. In many editions of Sports Illustrated or similar magazines, the majority of women featured are in scant bikinis. So the men get the glory, and the women play the trophy role. That seems about right.

I have tons of guy friends who play football, and the majority of them have sports posters in their rooms. Thing is, the posters are always of women, not men, and sports models, not athletes. Just an interesting points

I understand what Rowe was trying to prove with the sports ideology thing, but lets get serious. in many ways, sports is a world predominately dominated by men. More men watch sports, more men play sports. Just because it is a predominately “male world”, however, does not mean that the objectification of women is acceptable. Little boys look at these magazines and to teach them that the prettiest women are the ones who are the skinniest and wear the least clothes just doesn’t cut it. The American sports ideology is one that our culture should look to transform in the near future.

Discussion Questions

1. Should it be the media’s job to portray more female athletes? Or the sports teams’ jobs?

2. What types of influences do you think these images of women will have on young women growing up?



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