Recognition Issues in Televised Representations of High-Level ...

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  • Title: Recognition Issues in Televised Representations of High-Level Women Athletes during World Championships and the Olympics: Deconstructing the “Male Gaze,” Focusing on Sport Performance, and Considering Discrimination from an Intersectional Perspective
  • Author(s): Natacha Lapeyroux
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Sport & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Sport and Society
  • Keywords: Representations, Gender, Television, Sport, Women, Intersectionality
  • Volume: 15
  • Issue: 3
  • Date: June 11, 2024
  • ISSN: 2152-7857 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2152-7865 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v15i03/1-21
  • Citation: Lapeyroux, Natacha. 2024. "Recognition Issues in Televised Representations of High-Level Women Athletes during World Championships and the Olympics: Deconstructing the “Male Gaze,” Focusing on Sport Performance, and Considering Discrimination from an Intersectional Perspective." The International Journal of Sport and Society 15 (3): 1-21. doi:10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v15i03/1-21.
  • Extent: 21 pages

Open Access

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Abstract

Research on television representations has identified the discrimination top-level women athletes are subjected to and the ways in which they are discredited. In particular this research has identified the process of gendering competitions (so-called “women’s sports”), the infantilization of women athletes, emphasis on “appropriate femininity,” stigmatization of transgressive female athletes, sexualization of athletes, and compulsory heterosexuality. More recent research has uncovered a shift in gendered representations of women athletes towards less explicit and more insidious sexism, based primarily on a hierarchy in favor of male over female sport. To assess the situation of representations of high-level women athletes in France and their evolution, the author carried out a socio-semiotic analysis from a perspective opened by gender studies by focusing on a particular media: the television broadcasts of sports competitions. We selected a corpus of TV broadcasts of World Championship and Olympic competitions comprising six sports—gymnastics, tennis, basketball, football, rugby, and boxing from 2005 to 2015—studied diachronically. This article will examine the discourses of commentators and the filmed images (camera movements) that participate in the construction of sports broadcasting. Television representations of women’s sports were analyzed at the intersection of gender, class, race, sexuality, and national identity. The research was paired with a list breaking down the journalists’ gendered identities to account for inequalities of access to this position and raise the question of the influence of gendered expertise. Based on these analyses, this article will conclude by providing recommendations for the recognition of women’s sports such as: deconstructing the male gaze, valuing women’s sports performances, and fighting with an intersectional approach to discrimination.