DePauw’s (1997) theoretical construct of sport and how we view the body focuses on three socially constructed ideals of physicality, masculinity, and sexuality. Those who do not fit into these ideals are marginalized when it comes to sport participation and media coverage. In this study the authors examined photographs from 12 print newspapers in five countries during the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing to determine how Paralympic athletes were treated. They examined the number of photographs and the content of each to determine whether athletes with disabilities are portrayed as tokens who are marginalized or treated as elite athletes. The findings support DePauw’s construct and point to gender and disability differences and hierarchy in print-media photographs.
The authors are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.