Gender portrayals in sport-related advertising generally reinforce institutionalized sexism and culturally defined sex-role behaviors. Gender-defining messages in advertising photographs may have an especially profound impact on children because children understand meanings in pictures before they understand meanings in text. The purpose of this study was to analyze gender portrayals contained in advertisements appearing in Sports Illustrated for Kids (SIK) over a 6-year period. Advertisements were coded to determine (a) the total number of advertisements featuring females and males, (b) genders represented as prominent or supporting in advertising portrayals, and (c) gender portrayals in advertisement activities and product types. Content analysis revealed that girls and women were drastically underrepresented as models in SIK advertising and that distinct gender roles were sustained by depicting males in nearly all types of activities and products. Conventional stereotypical relationships between sport and gender were represented in the majority of SIK advertisements.
Jacquelyn Cuneen and M. Joy Sidwell are with the School of HPER at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403-0248.