Separate and Unequal? Representations of Sportswomen on espnW’s and ESPN’s Instagram

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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Based on content analysis of 370 posts featuring sportswomen and 205 posts featuring nonathlete women on ESPN’s and espnW’s Instagram accounts, the authors address whether representations of sportswomen on social media uphold or challenge masculine domination in sports and whether this varies based on the gender of the target audience for each social media account. Catering to a predominantly male audience, ESPN’s Instagram rarely posted about sportswomen or feminism, reinforced traditional female gender roles, and relied on feminine stereotypes more frequently than espnW’s Instagram. Nonetheless, espnW upholds male dominance in sport through its separation from ESPN, the lower volume of posts about sportswomen on espnW compared with ESPN’s coverage of sportsmen, and its less engaging coverage of sportswomen.

The authors are with the Dept. of Sociology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, USA.

Backstrom (lbackstrom@fau.edu) is corresponding author.
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