Saturday, November 2, 2013

Women In Sports - None To Be Seen As Far As The Eye Can See

 An assignment looking for women in the media is harder than most, even with the tools of a women and media class at my disposal. It's difficult to find any entertaining media that has the ability to portray women in an equal manner. Take ESPN and title nine for example. Though funding for women's sports and activities has been greatly increased because the the Title IX Amendment to the Education Amendments of 1972. The legislation states "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.." Even with this legislation, women's sports still aren't featured on ESPN. It would seem that with forty years of funding in sports and schools, that all of the women playing and sporting sports would lead to the display of women's soccer or volley ball on ESPN. Not ESPN 3 or something but actually featured on the main channel. 
  This is sort of fascinating, in google I typed in, "Title Nine women" to find the date of the Title IX legislation and a clothing brand popped up. Not the amendment, a major work equal rights legislation but a clothing brand. It was a little disgusting. Though I did specify women in my search results. It was until the fourth or so google listing that the Title IX I was looking for showed up.
There is however a Title IX website. I was pleased to find that, though it also did not immediately show up in my search results. My goal for this assignment was to find a blog or page solely about women's sports. Interestingly enough it was extremely hard. I found some athletes, a page by sports illustrated which is not alternative media, A women's sports foundation, which was pleasing, and an article about how sex sells. The article was actually awesome, it's from The Nation, a weekly magazine with a great deal of independent commentary. This article  about Lindsay Vonn was extremely well put.

Even though she has won the Skiing World Cup three consecutive times from 2008 to 2010 and multiple Olympic gold medals, she wasn't well known until she started dating Tiger Woods, immediately her image was all over the tabloids.She was also named sports woman of the year by the US Olympic Committee. The Nation comment's that Sport's Illustrated finally took notice of her and devoted a cover to her but decided to blatantly display her as an object of sex. Sex sells. Sport's Illustrated uses that to their full advantage. Hello, they have a swim suit edition. There's a huge hype up before it's released and then there are many tabloid photos dedicated to the woman of choice, like Brooklyn Decker, and Kate Upton.
   A major problem I run into is that independent media sources I run into, don't really care about women's sports either. They focus on fashion, art, photography, and feminist rants. Yet no one seems to care about the fate of women's sports.  A favorite independent media source for me, is oyster magazine, unless she did an incredibly fashionable photo shoot or went off on a feminist rant after a race, Lindsey Vonn would never grace any articles by Oyster Magazine. Point being is that if Lindsey Vonn wasn't gorgeous, she would never have been known for her skiing. Brody Miller, the downhill skier with a much less impressive record than Lindsey's has graced the cover of Sport's Illustrated and many other men's health magazines.
  Though I love Lindsey Vonn all images of her when she isn't skiing are sexual. It disappoints me that should allow that. However without those images, would she be known at all?

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  1. ESPN-W is a pretty easy to find sports blog/site focusing only on women sports

  2. From ESPNW's 'about' page:

    espnW's mission is to serve women as fans and athletes. provides an engaging environment thatoffers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and shares a unique point of view on the sports storiesthat matter most to women.
    Founded in July, 2010, espnW lives across television, films, events, digital and social platforms. The annual espnW: Women + Sports Summit is the leading event of its kind in the sports industry. The Women’s Sports Foundation is a charity of choice for espnW.

    1. they even have a film series, Nine for IX (playing off of ESPN's very popular 30 for 30 film series) which includes a great documentary about women's equality in sports. Check it out: