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.
Feminine and Sexy: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of Gender Ideology and Professional Cheerleading
Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker
Sexism in Professional Sports: How Women Managers Experience and Survive Sport Organizational Culture
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.
The Tipping Point: The Intersection of Race, Gender, and Sexual Orientation in Intercollegiate Sports
Nefertiti A. Walker and E. Nicole Melton
To date, sport research on sexuality has primarily focused on White lesbian, bisexual, and gay (LBG) persons or heterosexual racial minorities; few studies have provided meaningful insight into how sexual prejudice affects racial minorities. Thus, the purpose of the current study is to explore the intersection of race, sexual orientation, and gender in the context of collegiate sport and examine the influence of multiple marginalized identities on organizational outcomes. Grounded in intersectionality literature and feminist standpoint theory, semistructured interviews were conducted with 15 current and former intercollegiate sport employees. Results revealed four higher order themes: (a) racially influenced experiences, (b) managing lesbian-ness, (c) organizational climate, and (d) organizational outcomes. This research expands the theoretical knowledge of intersectionality, introduces a turnover intention tipping point phenomenon, and provides mangers with firsthand feedback on current policy and norms that may decrease satisfaction.
Hegemonic Masculinity and the Institutionalized Bias Toward Women in Men’s Collegiate Basketball: What Do Men Think?
Nefertiti A. Walker and Melanie L. Sartore-Baldwin
Women coaching in men’s college basketball are anomalies. Whereas women occupy 58.3% of the head coaching positions for women’s college basketball teams, they possess a mere 0.01% of men’s college basketball head coaching positions (Zgonc, 2010). The purpose of this study was to investigate men’s basketball coaches’ perceptions and overall attitude toward women in the institution of men’s college basketball and within the male-dominated organizational culture of sport. In doing so, the authors provide insight of core participants (i.e., NCAA Division I men’s basketball coaches) who reinforce hypermasculine institutional norms to form impermeable cognitive institutions. Building on previous research, eight men’s basketball coaches were sampled using semistructured interviewing methods. Results suggested that men’s college basketball is hypermasculine, gender exclusive, and resistant to change. Given these findings, the authors propose sport managers should consider organizational culture and individual agency when developing policies that are sensitive to gender inequality and promote inclusion of underrepresented groups.
Replacing Athleticism With Sexuality: Athlete Models in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues
Kayoung Kim, Michael Sagas, and Nefertiti A. Walker
This study was intended to provide analysis of print-media portrayals of athletes in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues from 1997 through 2009. Drawing on the theoretical framework from Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity (2005), the authors performed a content analysis of photographic images (N = 141) and associated captions in athlete-related content in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues. Two major issues emerged from the content analysis: gender differences and sexualized images in athlete content. Findings of this study indicated that Sports Illustrated alternates athleticism with sexuality by continuously placing athlete models in positions that are unrelated to sport. In addition, the female athletes were extremely sexualized. These findings support the concept of hegemonic masculinity at work in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues.
Beyond the Glass Ceiling: Sport Management Students’ Perceptions of the Leadership Labyrinth
Meg G. Hancock, Lindsey Darvin, and Nefertiti A. Walker
Sport management undergraduate and graduate programs have gained popularity throughout the United States and around the world. Despite this, women are still underrepresented in sport leadership positions. Although women have made it to the highest levels of sport leadership roles, studies suggest that advancement to such roles is more challenging for women than for men. Extant literature examines perceptions of women employed in the sport industry but fails to consider perceptions of prospective employees, specifically women, with career aspirations in sport business. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate sport management students’ perceptions of barriers to women’s success and upward mobility in the sport industry using the Career Pathways Survey. Results suggest that female sport management students perceive barriers to advancement in the sport industry, whereas male students do not perceive that barriers exist for women. Practical implications for the sport management classroom include developing male advocates, gender diversity and inclusion in guest presentations, and intentional internship placement.
Gendered Leadership Networks in the NCAA: Analyzing Affiliation Networks of Senior Woman Administrators and Athletic Directors
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.
Getting an Internship in the Sport Industry: The Institutionalization of Privilege
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.
What Is Blackness to Sport Management? Manifestations of Anti-Blackness in the Field
John N. Singer, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Chen Chen, Nefertiti A. Walker, and E. Nicole Melton
This article is written in response to the collective “reckoning” with anti-Black violence in 2020. We share our perspective in solidarity with the long traditions, and contemporary, everyday actions of survival and resistance from millions of unnamed members of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities across the world. This article calls in the field of sport management, while calling attention to ways anti-Blackness has permeated the academy. Through observations, reflections, and interrogation of literature in the field, we illustrate the invisibility/marginality/erasure of Blackness in this body of knowledge and discuss missed opportunities for sport management. With the hope that the field will transform into a more inclusive, equitable, and just intellectual space, representative of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized voices, perspectives, experiences, and cultures, and accountable to rectifying the injustices inflicted upon Black and other racialized bodies, we offer calls to action for everyone in the field to consider.
Stigma Consciousness and Work Outcomes of Senior Woman Administrators: The Role of Workplace Incivility
Janelle E. Wells, Melanie Sartore-Baldwin, Nefertiti A. Walker, and Cheryl E. Gray
Stigmas and incivility are common across all facets of sport, yet empirical examination is lacking, especially when it comes to women in leadership positions. In intercollegiate athletics, the senior woman administrator position is designated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association as the highest ranking woman serving the athletic department, so this study examined the extent to which stigma consciousness and workplace incivility impact the work outcomes of 234 senior woman administrators. Structural equation modeling and open-ended responses demonstrated that stigma consciousness is associated with higher perceived incivility, which is associated with lower job satisfaction and perceived organizational opportunity. Thus, stigma consciousness and workplace incivility not only operate as influential independent factors within the workplace setting, but stigma consciousness also serves as an antecedent to workplace incivility. Managerial strategies empowering professionals may help reduce stigmas, prevent uncivil behaviors in the workplace, and ultimately, improve outcomes.