Marsh, WSU Today)
“People just think sports is sport,” Hust said. But once you start looking critically at how women athletes are portrayed in the media, she said, it begins to look like women’s sports is really about their sexual bodies. The focus isn’t on athletic abilities as much as on sexual attraction.
Don’t believe it? Just look at the list of top female athletes as chosen by the ESPY awards from 2000 to 2010, starting with skier Lindsay Vonn. Here’s the February 2010 cover of Sports Illustrated featuring Vonn:
And here’s a photo of Vonn that ran inside the issue:
When ESPN decided to feature Candace Parker, winner of the 2008 ESPY top female athlete award, on its magazine cover, this is the photograph that was used:
Hust and her research group surveyed 352 WSU students to determine how much sports programming they watched or read. Then researchers asked respondents to read a series of statements from the Illinois Rape Myth Scale and indicate how strongly they agreed or disagreed with the statements.
Hust, S.J.T., Lei, M., Ren, C., Chang, H., McNab, A., Marett, E.M., & Fitts, J. (2009, August). Sports programming and beliefs related to sexual assault. Presented at the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, Mass Communication & Society Division, Boston, Massachusetts.