Study reveals TV sex bias
Subject: Study reveals TV sex bias
Source: People's Daily World (212) 924-2523
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From New York by Doug Rhodes
A new study has revealed that "women's sports is underreported and
that what coverage does exist is inferior to that afforded men's sports." The
study showed that bias is not as overt as it used to be, but exists
At a recent press conference here, Anita DeFrantz, president of the
Amateur Athletic Foundation (AAF) of Los Angeles, released the study entitled
Gender Stereotyping in Televised Sports.
DeFrantz said, "These findings are significant in that the way in
which television covers, or fails to cover, women engaged in athletics affects
the way in which female athletes are preceived and also tells us something
about the status of women in our society."
The study compared the quantity and quality of televised women's
sports coverage to the coverage of men's sports.
Among its findings were:
* Women's sports were underreported and underrepresented in six weeks
of television sports news sampled in the study. Men's sports received 92
percent of the air time, women's sports five percent and gender neutral topics
* The television sports news did focus regularly on women, but rarely
on women athletes. More common were portrayals of women as comical targets of
the newscasters' jokes and/or as sexual objects (e.g., women as spectators in
* Viewers of men's basketball games were more often informed of
relevant statistics than in women's games.
* By commentators women athletes were frequently referred to as
"girls" and "young ladies." Men athletes, never referred to as "boys,"
usually were called "men," "young men" and "young fellas."
* In the tennis commentary, women athletes were called by only their
first names 52.7 percent of the time, while men were referred to by only their
first names 7.8 percent of the time.
* In basketball, first name only descriptions by commentators were
patterened along lines of race as well as gender. Women athletes were
referred to by first name 31 times, men 19 times. Among the men, all 19
instances of first name use occured in discussing men of color. FIrst names
only were never used in discussion of white male basketball players.
The study had nine policy recommendations, including that televised
sports news should provide more coverage of existing women's sports.
It added, "Sports broadcasters should cease the sexist practice of
focusing on female spectators as sexualized comic relief."
The study stressed, "Commentators should consciously adopt a standard
usage of first and last names and it should be applied equally to men and
women athletes and athletes of all races."
A study on gender stereotyping by the print media is scheduled to be
published later this year.
--- RAAE 1.11
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