Since the 1970s, National Football League (NFL) teams have hired attractive women to dance in scantily clad uniforms as a means of entertaining their heterosexual, male fans—offering a reflection of hegemonic gender ideology in the process. In recent years, a handful of these professional cheerleaders have spoken up and taken action against gender discrimination. Yet, little has changed. This study takes a feminist critical discourse analysis perspective to examining how gender ideology is (re)produced in discourse surrounding the employment roles of NFL cheerleaders, contributing to the perpetuation of gender inequality in sport. Findings demonstrate that three distinct gender ideologies are (re)produced in the discourse, competing with each other to define meanings associated with NFL cheerleading employment roles. Additionally, analysis reveals that while NFL teams have made changes to their cheerleading programs in response to feminist critiques, discourse surrounding these changes continues to (re)produce hegemonic femininity.
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Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker
Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker
Women remain the minority in sport organizations, particularly in leadership roles, and prior work has suggested that sexism may be to blame. This study examines women’s experiences of both overt and subtle sexism in the sport industry as well as the impact such experiences have on their careers. Based on interviews and journal entries from women managers working in a men’s professional sports league, the findings suggest that the culture of sport organizations perpetuates sexism, including the diminishment and objectification of women. Sexism occurs in women’s everyday interactions with their supervisors and coworkers, as well as others that they interact with as part of their jobs. Such experiences result in professional and emotional consequences, which women navigate by employing tactics that enable their survival in the sport industry.
Matthew Katz, Nefertiti A. Walker, and Lauren C. Hindman
The purpose of this study is to examine and compare the informal networks of both senior woman administrators (SWAs) and athletic directors (ADs) within National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institutions. Drawing on extant literature citing the underrepresentation of women in sport leadership positions, we incorporate a network approach to build and analyze affiliation networks of SWAs and ADs. Guided by the framework of Leadership in Networks, we argue that the social structures within which ADs and SWAs operate impact opportunities for leader emergence and leadership outcomes. By comparing the AD and SWA affiliation networks, we illustrate the differences in informal networks among men and women leaders in sport, highlighting how informal networks may contribute to the lack of women in sport leadership positions. Previous scholars have long cited an “old boys’ club” as a barrier to women achieving leadership positions, but we argue these studies have largely relied on dispositional evidence rather than methodological and analytical strategies designed specifically to examine relationships and the corresponding network structures. Our results indicate that the SWA network is far less cohesive than the AD networks, and the few women in the AD networks are largely located outside the center of the affiliation networks. Implications regarding the impact of informal networks on the underrepresented nature of women in leadership positions are discussed.
Lauren C. Hindman, Lee P. McGinnis, and Benjamin Marcus
The golf industry has realized a recent boom, due primarily to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and limited socially safe activities. Despite the growth, male golfers continue to dominate participatory play. Women are also underrepresented as employees in the golf industry. Abiding by the mission of the American Golf Industry Coalition to make golf more diverse, inclusive, and friendlier to women, students are asked to resolve numerous questions and issues. Such items include diversity, equity, and inclusion-based hiring, recruiting, and marketing practices that involve more women and minorities. Many of these strategies center around American Golf Industry Coalition’s initiative to “Make Golf Your Thing.” Professional Golfers’ Association Golf Professional Sarah Stone and Chevy Chase Country Club in Maryland are portrayed as the protagonist to help localize the issues and provide a basis for concrete solutions. This study is suitable for upper-division sport management and sport marketing courses, as well as courses examining diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports.
Nefertiti A. Walker, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Marvin Washington, Lauren C. Hindman, and Jeffrey MacCharles
Unpaid internships are embedded in sport hegemony. These unpaid sport internships often offer fewer learning opportunities and foster an environment wherein interns feel like “second-class citizens” in their organization. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the world of unpaid internships in the sport industry by exploring students’ perspectives of them as an institutionalized practice, as well as how privilege impacts their internship experiences. Grounded in institutional theory, data from semistructured interviews with 17 sports management students were analyzed using the Gioia methodology. Three themes emerged from the findings: the idiosyncratic nature of sport internships, the legitimization of unpaid internships in the sport industry, and the institutionalization of privilege spurred by such positions. Practical implications from the study include increasing sport organizations’ awareness of how unpaid internships disadvantage students from less privileged backgrounds and may, therefore, result in a less socioeconomically diverse workforce in the sport industry.