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Jan Rintala

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Pamela Macfarlane and Jan Rintala

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Jan Rintala and Susan Birrell

The availability of female role models is examined through a content analysis of Young Athlete magazine. Two research questions are posed: Do males and females receive differential treatment in Young Athlete? Does the representation of males and females in Young Athlete reflect actual participation rates? Young Athlete depicts sport as a male activity. For example, less than one-third of all photographs depict females, and the percentage decreases with the prominence of the photograph. Compared to actual participation rates, Young Athlete subtly distorts girls’ involvement. Girls are markedly under-represented in team sports, even those they dominate numerically. Discussion focuses upon the issue of fair treatment. The conclusion that statistical representation is a safe but narrow definition of fair treatment is explored with reference to current theoretical perspectives on media.