Visual and Verbal Gender Cues in the Televised Coverage of the 2010 Winter Olympics

By Amy H. Jones.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Social role theory suggests that males and females are categorically placed into appropriate masculine or feminine gender roles. Previous gender research in media and sport identifies that male and female athletes are portrayed differently in the mass media, and are perceived differently by the media audience. However, much of this research focuses on mainstream or summer sports, and very little research has analyzed both verbal and visual cues in the media. Therefore, the televised coverage of men’s and women’s snowboarding (a masculine sport) and men’s and women’s figure skating (a feminine sport) in the 2010 Winter Olympic Games was analyzed to identify masculine or feminine gender cues. Both visual cues (camera angle, interaction with others, wardrobe) and verbal cues (sex of the commentator, commentary theme, and the use of social role adjectives) were analyzed. Findings from this research suggest that athletes participating in gender-appropriate sports (i.e. male athletes participating in masculine sports) are verbally and visually portrayed differently than athletes participating in gender-inappropriate sports (i.e. male athletes participating in feminine sports). Furthermore, male and female athletes participating in the same winter sport are also portrayed differently.

Keywords: Gender, Mass Media, Sport, Social Role Theory

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp.199-216. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 911.490KB).

Amy H. Jones

Assistant Professor of Journalism and Speech, Department of Languages and Literature, University of West Alabama, Livingston, USA

Amy Head Jones received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communication from the University of New Orleans (UNO) in 2004. During this time, Amy gained experience in the media and sport industries while working in public relations for the New Orleans Superdome and New Orleans Arena. This experience led her to pursue additional graduate education in these areas. She received her Master of Science degree in Sport Administration from the University of Louisville in 2006, and will graduate with her Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Alabama in May of 2011. Amy is currently working in her fifth year at the University of West Alabama where she is an Assistant Professor of Journalism and Speech. Her research interests include the media’s portrayal of gender diversity in sport, and audience perceptions of diverse mediated messages.

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