Women's Sport and Spectacle: Gendered Television Coverage and the Olympic Games

By Gina Daddario | Go to book overview

Introduction

Most people would agree that institutional sports and the sports media have been the patriarchal preserve of men. This is evident in the sports that have been adopted by high schools, colleges, and professional leagues, such as football, basketball, and baseball, which are among the most popular sports on television. Tennis, golf, and, most recently, figure skating and basketball are the only women's sports to be aired with regularity on television, largely because they are professional sports and enjoy the commercial backing of corporate sponsors.

The "so-called" playing field in sport appears to be changing mainly because of the impact of Title IX legislation, which was enacted as a provision of the 1972 Education Amendments Act. The provision has only recently been enforced as a result of the Supreme Court's 1997 decision to let a lower court" s ruling stand in a case involving Brown University. Brown was found to be in violation of Title IX when it withdrew funding from its women's varsity gymnastics and volleyball teams. Title IX mandates that institutions of higher learning that receive federal funding are required to achieve gender parity in their athletic programs, with sporting opportunities made available to women proportionate to the number of women enrolled in the college or university. At some institutions enforcement has meant eliminating some men's athletic programs to achieve parity; at others it has meant adding or expanding some

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