In this study we examined sport coverage and gender representation in photographic images in Sports Illustrated for Kids over a 3-year period. A content analysis of 4205 photographic images was conducted and data were analyzed using a chi-square analysis. Our research revealed that females were substantially underrepresented within the magazine (12%) and only appeared on the cover once over a 3-year period (<1%). The top three sports represented for men in SI for Kids were baseball, basketball, and football, whereas the top 3 “sports” for women were basketball, not in a sport (e.g., a fan), and soccer. Females were more likely than males to be represented in photographic images off the court, in individual sports, in feminine sports, in a posed position, as nonathletes, in tighter clothing, sleeveless shirts, with more of their legs showing, and with their midriff visible. When considering these findings in light of social learning theory, it is likely that media coverage within SI for Kids plays an important role in determining which sports are acceptable or unacceptable for boys and girls.
The authors are with the Department of Human Performance Minnesota State University, Mankato, MN.