Male Hegemonic Structure in the World of Sports

Topics: Gender, Basketball, Cognitive dissonance Pages: 7 (2693 words) Published: May 4, 2012
The world of sports is strictly dominated by a male hegemonic structure, which is not exactly welcoming to the thought or idea of sharing this love of sports with the opposite sex. The term hegemony is defined as the dominance of one state or group of individuals over the others. Although women have shown a passionate interest for sports, their ability to join this culturally powerful organization as respected professionals has not been completely accomplished. They have been given opportunities to participate in athletic areas that are not the most culturally popular venues within American culture (i.e. golf, gymnastics, swimming, and tennis), but their inception and respected entrance into the American conglomerates of the sports world (i.e. basketball, baseball, and football) have been favorably denied. Men suffocating treasure their superior domination of this cultural superstructure and fear the idea of allowing the opposite sex entrance into their precious stratum. Men's ultimate trepidation is sports not being only their secret possession. Women have passionately fought to prove themselves as strong enough, knowledgeable enough, and tough enough to survive in the historically constructed system men have carved out: the association of sports and the manner in which it operates. Although their desperate attempts have allowed them to chip through the first few layers of this concrete barrier in which they are faced with, their attempts to delve deeper to ultimately reach the core of its existence has been a disappointing failure. Despite the increase in female athletes participating in sports at a college and professional level, the use of female athletes as product endorsers has been limited. Some female readers like my wife has suggested that there may be an obvious media bias against female athletes and other problems related to how women’s lack of being feminine is portrayed to the public. I feel that women athletes don’t get enough recognition compared to male athletes in the media, and how they don’t appear as profitable product endorsers in magazines or commercials as men. Only five percent of media coverage is devoted to women’s sports (Adams & Tuggle, 2004).The time media spends to publish these articles of women athletes are significantly less; compared to their male athlete. Many companies choose not to endorse women athletes (Grau, Roselli, and Taylor, 2007). Men’s sports journalists tend to focus on coverage of team sports for men, while women’s sports coverage usually is focused on individual sports. In several articles, the media defends its biases claiming that it is what the public wants, and not all viewers are interested in women’s sports. I feel the number of women playing professional sports has drastically increased over the past decade, but the media’s news coverage of women’s sports has not increased with this movement of women in sports. On ESPN Live news radio, they have mentioned over the last ten years, there has been almost no change in the percentage of national airtime that was designated for women’s sports. Only about one in ten sports articles and TV sports stories include women while eighty-two percent of television sports stories cover men’s sports. Women make the cover of magazines or sports pages less than fifteen times a year (Huffman, Tuggle, & Rosengard, 2004). According to Adams and Tuggle (2004), in 1995, the length of men’s television sports stories were a little over a minute, where stories covering women’s sports were only about forty seconds. With two professional sports leagues, it was assumed that the coverage of women’s sports would increase, but this is not reality. The coverage of women’s sports on the television show, ESPN’s Sports Center, has actually decreased. In 1995, Sports Center aired about 730 stories on men and only about 30 on women. The ratio was 25:1. In 2002, 780 stories covered men’s sports. Only 16 stories were about women and the ratio was...

References: Adams, T., & Tuggle, C. A. (2004). ESPN’s Center and coverage of
women’s athletics “It’s a boys club”
Grau, S. L. Roselli, G., & Taylor, C. R. (2007). Where’s Tamkia
Catching? A content analysis of female athlete endorsers in
Huffman, S., Tuggle, C. A., & Rosengard, D. S. (2004). How campus media
cover sports : The gender equality issue, one generation later.
Kian, E. M., Vincent, J., & Mondello, M. (2008). Masculine hegemonic
hoops: An analysis of media coverage of March Madness.
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