Comparison in Gender of Tennis Players in Media (Research Paper Sample)
Male and female sports are presented differently by the media. This difference may be associated with social frameworks, where women are considered less masculine than men. Consequently, gender roles are analyzed and presented differently in the mEDIA. This essay seeks to analyze media representation among men and women, paying enormous emphasis on the disparities that EXIST IN gender representation. The essay hence introduces the history of sports and how media has constantly PORTRAYED women. Further, the essay analyzes possible solutions to counter media and public perception of women in sports.source..
Date of Submission
A comparison of representations of male and female tennis players in newspapers and Online Platforms
Throughout history, it is evident that sport media pay greater emphasis to men’s sports and completely ignoring women in sports unless they offer a sexual appeal. A broad range of researches has constantly indicated that men are offered greater coverage compared to women. In addition, there also exists both qualitative and quantitative gender differences in sports media contents that seek to favour men compared to women. The disparity essentially serves to present sports as a masculine sport and women as sex objects. This essay seeks to compare the representation of both male and female tennis players by newspapers and online sites.
Tennis was among the first sports that allowed women participation and hence have experienced enormous growth over the years. This essay hence seeks to analyze diverse academic sources with the primary goal of comparing how diverse media outlets present male and female tennis athletes. The essay comprises three sections; the first section seeks to present the history of women in the Tennis sport. The second section presents a theoretical framework that best describes this disparity, while the final section presents a discussion of these presentation differences based on agenda paying focus on tennis.
History of Tennis and Gender Participation
Tennis is among the leading international sports that have greatly sought to incorporate gender diversity. Irrespective of the advancement in the sport, tennis is characterized by a long and winding history. SportsandDev.org notes that “tennis as a sports date back to mid -19th century in Britain and was initially named "lawn tennis" and has also been identified as a combination of the British game racket and Spanish pelota game”. Women’s first involvement in the game in a tournament scope occurred in 1877 at the Wimbledon games, which began as a fundraising event. Following the tournament, the men and women champions were offered varying prices, with the women being given a silver flower basket. In addition, during the Wimbledon tournament, a woman fainted, which served as evidence that women were too weak and fragile to play five-set marches.
The tennis game was later introduced in the United States in 1879 when Mary Ewing became the first woman to play the game in the country. One key characteristic of this game in the United States was that women played the game as mixed doubles, and the women were only required to wear a good bustle skirt. SportsandDev.org explains that “in 1896, tennis was introduced into the Olympics”; however, the first women tournament was only held in 1900. Women tournament in Olympics was nevertheless dropped in 1924 and returned in 1988.
Irrespective of the tennis game's increased popularity among men and women, there still existed enormous disparities among men and women. One significant disparity was evident in price payment between men and women; where, men received a higher pay compared to women. The women were also allowed to adopt less restrictive clothing. By the 1970s, women in the tennis sport continuously complained of lack of support and little media attention, which in turn led to female players creating the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). The creation of the WTA in 1973 was critical in facilitating equal pay prize money for women and men. However, this advancement did not result in an immediate end in disparity in how media portrayed gender among tennis players.
The presentation of gender disparity by the media has attracted enormous scholarly attention among diverse disciplinary fields. Zapico et al. explain that “the disparity is best described by the theory of patriarchy” p. 21. Patriarchy essentially defines a social phenomenon where male players are considered to be dominant compared to female individuals. This theoretical framework is further referred to as a social system that is best defined by the Marxist theory that argues that men control women. This theoretical concept is grounded on the traditional aspect where women stayed at home to undertake maternal activities while the men took up work to drive financial rewards. As a result, the scope of patriarchy was established in accordance with capitalism, where men acted as landowners and hence creating a bourgeoisie class with the women as the subordinate.
The second theoretical framework to consider is male hegemony. Male hegemony essentially seeks to legitimatize the dominance of men against women. The hegemony masculinity and patriarchy are scopes that work together in establishing practices and thinking that validates dominance of the men and subordination of a woman. Zapico, B., et al. Note that the presence of hegemony masculinity is further emphasized by the presence of institutions such as military, family, corporate business, and government. It is crucial to establish that the patriarchy and hegemony exists even when men do not conduct any aggressive actions against women or actions that may be considered to be oppressive. Nevertheless, a majority of these men are comfortable with make hegemony and do not seek to change it. This presentation has been included into how media presents women as illustrated in the next section.
Feminism is a theoretical framework that has in recent years been adopted to alter the perspective that result from patriarchal and hegemonic power. Krumer, Alex, et al explains that “the feminism theory may be considered in two key aspects” pg. 11. First, feminism seeks to present women as equal to the man. In traditional society, men are considered as the ones while the women are presented as the others or exceptions dependent on the primary one. As a result, women come after the men and serve as the object. This presentation of women as the object has been common in the media where women are presented as features or attraction and this is evidenced by their grooming. The feminism model seeks to combat this perspective by arguing that women are not better than men; rather, women should be considered as equals.
Available research has constantly made similar conclusion on gender representation among tennis players. Weight, Erianne A., and Cooper conducted a research on gender representation among tennis players based on newspaper coverage of the Wimbledon event. Weight, Erianne A., and Cooper hence concluded that “the usage of the term girl/s was greatly employed to lower adult female players into teenagers” pg. 5. The use of the term girl was also used in creating a childlike status among female tennis players. The usage of the term girl/s in terms of frequency indicated significant difference based on a qualitative approach. The frequency also differed in that the term boy/s was never indicated at any given point to diminish male players. The only inclusion of the term boy/s evident in the newspapers were aimed at describing the players when they were young or to actual children in the crowds.
In a secondary research conducted by Weight, Erianne A., and Cooper on the U.S Opens, it was evident that newspaper articles significantly re-enforced and strengthened hegemonic masculinity upon female tennis players. Weight, Erianne A., and Cooper noted that “newspaper articles minimized athleticism of female athletes three times more than other online sources” pg. 7. Further, physical characteristics and athletic weaknesses were less common in men’s tennis articles compared to women’s tennis presentation in newspaper. In addition, positive skill attributes and physical strength definition was more common among men’s
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