We’ve Come a Long Way, But We Could Be Doing Better: Gendered Commentary in U.S. Media Coverage of the 1999 and 2019 Women’s World Cup

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Arizona State University
  • | 2 Whitman College
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In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup. Has gendered commentary in media coverage about the U.S. Women’s National Team changed since winning their first World Cup 20 years ago? Drawing on 188 newspaper articles published in three U.S. newspapers in 2019, the analyses contrast media representations of the 2019 team with a previous study focused on coverage of the 1999 team. Our analysis shows important shifts in the coverage over time. The 1999 team was popular because of their contradictory femininity in which they were “strong-yet-soft.” By 2019, the team’s popularity was rooted in their talent, hard work, success, and refusal to be silent about persisting gender-based disparities in sport and the larger society.

McConnell is with the School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA. Christopherson is with the Office of Institutional Research, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, USA. Janning is with the Sociology Department, Whitman College, Walla Walla, WA, USA.

McConnell (eemcconn@asu.edu) is corresponding author.
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