2000 Summer Olympics: Analysis of Gender and Media. (Sociocultural Aspects of Physical Activity)

Article excerpt

Mass media often reflects and perpetuates a hegemonic view of society (Herman & Chomsky, 1988) resulting in the marginalization of particular groups, such as women. Daddario (1998) has suggested that the perception of so-called "natural" sex differences is reinforced through media presentations that privilege men over women. Historically, sport has been considered a masculine domain and while strides have been made towards sport as a more inclusive domain, "gender privilege" (Jaggar, 1991) still exists. Examination and analysis of media presentation of elite athletic events, such as the Olympic Games, is critical as media continue to serve as a frame of reference for societal attitudes towards masculinity and femininity. The purpose of this study was to examine televised coverage of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games in order to determine the amount of time and quality of coverage devoted to men's and women's same sport activities. Additionally, data from the 2000 Games were compared to data from a previous study examining the 1996 Atlanta Games (Weiller, Higgs, & Martin, 1996). NBC presented 162.5 hr of 2000 Olympic coverage, which was videotaped. Coverage of sports participated in by both male and female athletes (i.e., basketball, volleyball, baseball/softball, soccer, gymnastics, swimming, diving, track and field, water polo, rowing, and cycling) was content analyzed. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were conducted using methodology from previous media analysis studies (Duncan & Hasbrook, 1988; Duncan & Messner, 2000; Weller et al. …