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  • Author: Nicole M. LaVoi x
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Sarah I. Leberman and Nicole M. LaVoi

Despite the ubiquitous presence of mothers in sport contexts, mothers’ voices are often absent in the sport literature, particularly at the youth sport level. A phenomenological approach was used to explore the experiences of working mother volunteer youth sport coaches. A role-triad model based on the work-family enrichment and role enhancement literature provided the theoretical framework. The purpose was to understand how and why working mother-coaches mange this role triad and to identify mother-worker skills which may transfer to youth coaching and vice versa. Semistructured interviews were conducted with eight working mother-coaches and analyzed for themes. Findings suggest that notions of being a good mother and reasons for coaching are very similar, including spending time together, developing life skills and role modeling. Participants negotiated multiple roles using cognitive tools, such as reframing and separation of roles. The reciprocal benefits of motherhood, working and coaching for themselves and others were highlighted.

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Janet S. Fink, Mary Jo Kane and Nicole M. LaVoi

“I want to be respected for what I do instead of what I look like”

—Janie, a swimmer

“They can see the moves I make, the action I make [on the court]. But I also want them to see this is who I am off the court. I’m not just this basketball player. I can be somebody else”

—Melanie, a basketball player

Despite unprecedented gains in women’s sports 40 years after Title IX, female athletes are rarely used in endorsement campaigns and, when used, are presented in sexually provocative poses versus highlighting their athletic competence. This pattern of representation continues, though empirical evidence demonstrates consumers prefer portrayals focusing on sportswomen’s skill versus their sex appeal. Research also indicates females are keenly aware of gendered expectations which create tensions between being athletic and “appropriately feminine.” The current study addresses what we don’t know: how elite female athletes wish to be portrayed if promised the same amount of financial reward and commercial exposure. Thirty-six team and individual scholarship athletes were asked to choose between portrayals of femininity and athletic competence. Findings revealed that competence was the dominant overall choice though close to 30% picked both types of portrayals. Metheny’s gendered sport typology was used to analyze how sportswomen’s preferences challenge, or conform to, traditional ideologies and practices surrounding women’s sports. Implications for sport management scholars and practitioners are discussed.

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Austin Stair Calhoun, Nicole M. LaVoi and Alicia Johnson

Sport scholars have connected heteronormativity and heterosexism to the creation of privilege for the dominant group. They also contend that the coverage and framing of female athletes and coaches promote heteronormativity across print, broadcast, and new media. To date, research examining heteronormativity and heterosexism on university-sponsored athletics Web sites is scarce. Using framing theory, online biographies of NCAA intercollegiate head coaches of 12 conferences (N = 1,902) were examined for textual representations of heteronormativity and heterosexism. Biographies were coded based on the presence or absence of personal text—and the presence or absence of family narratives. The data demonstrate a near absence of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered coaches, suggesting that digital content of intercollegiate athletic department Web sites reproduces dominant gender ideologies and is plagued by homophobia in overt and subtle ways.