White Women Smiling? Media Representations of Women at the 2018 Commonwealth Games

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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In this article we analyze images of sportswomen from four media outlets over the course of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. Through visual discourse analysis we find that despite structural changes to increase gender equality at the Commonwealth Games—which for the first time ensured equal opportunities for men and women to win medals—sportswomen were still depicted in a very narrow way, and intersectional representations were mainly excluded. Though the quantity of images of women had increased, the ‘quality’ of these images was poor in terms of representing sportswomen in their diversity. We still have far to go if we are to embrace women in their multiplicity—and to recognize that women can be strong, capable, butch, femme, and varied in their range of expressions of gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity.

Pavlidis is with Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research; Kennelly is with the Department of Tourism, Hotel, and Sport Management; Rodriguez Castro is with the School of Humanities, Languages, and Social Science; Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Pavlidis (a.pavlidis@griffith.edu.au) is corresponding author.
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