The Creation of Sexual Difference in Canadian Newspaper Photographs of the Pan-American Games

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
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  • 1 De Montfort University, Bedford
  • 2 University of Ottawa
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Newspaper photographs of athletes at the 1999 Pan-American Games from five Canadian newspapers were analyzed for sexual differences in amount and content. Improvements in media coverage were noted over earlier studies. The percentage of photographs of women athletes was very close to that of men, and bettered their participation rate. There was also little difference in the camera angles used or in the activity level of the athletes pictured. However, sexual differences were still created in very subtle ways. Photographs of men were more likely to appear in prominent locations in the newspaper. Women in some stereotypically “male-appropriate” sports received coverage that brought them back into line with feminine ideals and mitigated their “gender transgressions.” Results suggest that women in the sports media are receiving greater amount of coverage, but the media still maintains practices that subtly create and naturalize sexual differences and set particular sports off as appropriate only for men.

Fred Mason School of Physical Education and Sport Sciences De Montfort University Bedford 37 Lansdowne Road Bedford, England MK40 2BZ Email: Phone: 01234 793335 Fax: 01234 350833

Geneviève Rail School of Human Kinetics University of Ottawa 125 University Montpetit Hall Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5 Email: Phone: (613) 562-5800 ext. 8055 Fax: (613) 562-5437

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