Media Promotion of the Paradigm Citizen/Golfer: An Analysis of Golf Magazines’ Representations of Disability, Gender, and Age

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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Golf is described as elitist, racist, and sexist. Recently it has become clear that golf is also able-bodiest. Casey Martin, a young, upper class, white, male golfer with a physical disability, was featured in the media for challenging the Professional Golf Association (PGA) rules prohibiting use of a golf cart during tournament play. Drawing on Connell’s (1987) construct of hegemonic masculinity and Wendell’s (1996) notion of the “paradigm citizen” (p. 41), we examine if and how hegemonic masculinity and the paradigm citizen/golfer are reinforced, maintained, and challenged within four issues of major golf magazines and a special golfing issue of Sports Illustrated published around the time of the trial. We find that golfers with disabilities are absent from advertisements and photographs and given minimal attention in articles. Proportions of golfers who are older and women golfers, while generally consistent with subscriber proportions, were well under U.S. golfer population percentages. Data suggest that golf magazines continue to maintain and reinforce hegemonic masculinity and the paradigm citizen/golfer.

The authors are with the Department of Human Kinetics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee. WI 53201. A portion of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, November 5, 1998, Las Vegas, Nevada.

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