Framing With Family: Examining Online Coaches’ Biographies for Heteronormative and Heterosexist Narratives

in International Journal of Sport Communication

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Austin Stair CalhounUniversity of Minnesota, USA

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Nicole M. LaVoiUniversity of Minnesota, USA

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Alicia JohnsonSpringfield College, USA

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Sport scholars have connected heteronormativity and heterosexism to the creation of privilege for the dominant group. They also contend that the coverage and framing of female athletes and coaches promote heteronormativity across print, broadcast, and new media. To date, research examining heteronormativity and heterosexism on university-sponsored athletics Web sites is scarce. Using framing theory, online biographies of NCAA intercollegiate head coaches of 12 conferences (N = 1,902) were examined for textual representations of heteronormativity and heterosexism. Biographies were coded based on the presence or absence of personal text—and the presence or absence of family narratives. The data demonstrate a near absence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered coaches, suggesting that digital content of intercollegiate athletic department Web sites reproduces dominant gender ideologies and is plagued by homophobia in overt and subtle ways.

Calhoun is a doctoral student in the University of Minnesota’s School of Kinesiology and former research assistant in the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. LaVoi is associate director of the Tucker Center. Johnson was a summer intern in the Tucker Center and is now a master’s student at Springfield College, Springfield, MA.

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