What Would You Rather See?

In the documentary from my last post there was a section about research that Mary Jo Kane composed. Kane is a leading expert in gender and sports studies. The experiment she conducted asked people to look at pictures and pick the one that they would rather see of the female athletes. Pictures included action shots, fashion shots, and more revealing ‘model-type’ shots.

Misty May-Treanor:

1312703362_misty_may_treanor_42711188559-42711396664_xlarge Misty-May-Treanor 








Alex Morgan:

alex-morgan_photo-shoot alex-morgan 








Natalie Gulbis:










Maya Moore:










Of the pictures, like the ones above, the majority of people (male and female) in the study picked action shots. Some people asked to pick more than one. Those people included the pictures of the athletes dressed up. Stating that they would like to be seen as classy women as well. Surprisingly it was not just men who picked the revealing shots.

Media Coverage Documentary

Last semester I became a part of Lamda Pi Eta, the communication honor society. The adviser asked us what we wanted to research and connected us to colleagues that would be beneficial to us. He connected me with Sada Reed of UNC Chapel Hill. Ms. Reed then contacted one of her colleagues who she thought could better help me with my research, Dunja Antunovic of Penn State. Both of these women have been incredibly helpful recommending books and documentaries for me to look at.

A documentary that Ms. Reed told me about has been the most interesting to me. It mostly focuses on the media coverage women’s sports at the University of Minnesota receive, but also touches on professional athletes and the images of the athletes the media puts out. One part of the documentary that really stuck with me was how the women’s hockey team at University of Minnesota had a perfect season and won the national championship but no games were broadcast on television. The quotes at the beginning of each section also really stick out.

“We work so hard to not be respected and get credit for what we do…it’s insulting.”

UMD v Minnesota (Women)“I’m a hockey player not a model. But [the media] are drawn to how you look rather than how you play.”

“It’s just how everything goes…it’s how society is with girls sports…”

“I want to be respected for what I do instead of what I look like.”

“…most of us want to be respected as an athlete not just a pretty image…”

“The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, in partnership with tptMN, have produced “Media Coverage and Female Athletes: Women Play Sports, Just Not in the Media,” a documentary that uses research-based information to examine the amount and type of coverage given to female athletes.” – from the email of Ms. Reed.

The link above grants free access to the online documentary.

Coker Basketball


This year I have been interning with the Sports Information Department. At all games I am able to attend, I have some kind of job. I’ve recorded games, sold tickets, kept stats, ran music, ran the scoreboard, and ran broadcast. Throughout the basketball season, I have noticed the local news show up to games with cameras. They, who are always men, usually show up around halftime of the women’s game and stay until the end of the men’s game. These cameramen either stay in the gym lobby for the second half of the women’s game, or they scout out spots to shoot for the men’s game. 

Coker’s media department is there for both games, taking pictures and video. They cover all sports and all genders. So why does the local news only cover the men? Generally men’s sports get more attention than women’s sports, this is the case for Coker basketball as well. Even in the stands, you see more people showing up for the second game of the day/night (the men’s). It is not just media coverage that discriminates. The crowd does too. Is this because of the lack of women’s coverage in the media? Is it because there is an internal bias in fans? What does this difference in coverage say about our society?twenty minutes the women play, yet it is constantly on during the men’s game. You see the cameraman running around the gym trying to get the best angles and footage to show on the nightly news.The little red recording light on the camera is never on for the final twenty minutes of the women’s game.