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This study explores assumptions about the relationship between sport and gender through a textual analysis of newspaper editorials on Title IX from 2002 to 2005. Through the analysis we found that none of the articles opposed Title IX outright. The arguments in the editorials used a liberal feminist rationale that positioned women and men as equally deserving of civil rights protections and the institution of sports as needing to become gender-neutral to provide those protections. An “oppositional reading” of these editorials from a radical feminist perspective, however, found the assumption that the practice and values of sports are naturally masculine; thus, sports ultimately belong to men. The analysis illuminated the shortcomings of the liberal feminist rhetoric and the need for more radical voices to move women’s sports from a defensive to an empowered position in U.S. culture.
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