Television Coverage of Professional Golf: A Focus on Gender

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal

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Karen H. WeillerDept, of KHPR PO Box 311337 University of North Texas, Denton TX 76203-1337

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Catriona T. HiggsSlippery Rock University

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Patriarchal ideology and subsequent gender differences are reproduced in various cultural practices, with organized sport being one of the most important and critical arenas for perpetuating this ideology. Conventions for representing gender in mass media have come under increasing scrutiny during the last 25 years (Boutilier & San Giovanni, 1983; Higgs & Weiller, 1994; Weiller & Higgs, 1993). In this study we endeavored to increase current understanding of how gender is represented in the production and content of televised coverage of four professional golf tournaments. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods were used to analyze the content of gender images in televised coverage of womenis and men’s professional golf tournaments. Based upon the results, gender marking/comparisons were consistently present throughout the two women’s events examined, and differentials existed with respect to time allocations in story focus for male and female golfers. Noticeable differentials were found in commentators’ descriptions of strength, as well as type of personal information provided.With this study, an extention of previous research, we demonstraed that what is occurring in media representation of female athletes is mirrored in the professional world. In addition we advance the coverage by previous researchers and highlight the inequities that exist in one of the few areas of professional sports open to women.

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