Sunday, April 17, 2011

Social Justice Event

Playing Unfair: The Media Image of the Female Athlete
I attended the Women’s Study Event about the Image of Female Athletes in the Media.   I thought that the event was extremely relevant to me and to the discussions we have had in class.  I myself being a female athlete connected to what was being said and really agreed with the idea that women are stereotyped and objectified when shown in the media.  It also was ironic that every person in the audience of the event was a woman.  There were only about four women and the only reason we were all there was because of a class event.  The idea that women are being objectified in the media is not being taken seriously because it is not well known or spread.  No one is fighting it and therefore it is continuing to happen.
I easily connected the event to Christensen, McIntosh and the Title IX discussion we researched on our own.  First and foremost this completely ties in with the Christensen piece we read.  It shows that the media is playing a role in how we think and act towards female athletes.   The event talked about how female athletes are shown as doing “female” type things, like being moms, wives, or sex objects.  Consider tennis player Ana Ivankovic.

Does this picture tell you that she is an athlete? Absolutely not.  How would anyone know that she plays tennis and isn’t a playboy model?  There really isn’t any way to know.  Whereas if you look up Michael Phelps you get a picture like this:

It is not fair that woman athletes don’t get portrayed as being an athlete.  It is also a bigger issue for African American athletes.  Female athletes who are not white have a bigger problem with getting the attention as being a pro athlete.  McIntosh touches upon this issue when she lists out the availability for whites that blacks do not have.  In particular, when she says, “I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race” it refers to seeing primarily white males because that is what is dominant in our culture.  However, when we do find black athletes we see the same issues pertaining to how females are displayed.  They are never playing the sport they exceed at.  Take Serena Williams.  Her picture below shows her in a bath suit posing in a flashy way.  She doesn’t swim! She plays tennis so why is this picture what society sees her as.  Yet when you look at Shani Davis you can tell he is a speed skater.  This is not equal or fair at all because it is sending the wrong ideas to those who are looking at this information.

              Shani Davis
Lastly, Title IX comes into play.  When we researched it on our own a lot of us brought up about Title IX being used for women to gain access to sports.  It is about having equal treatment for men and women because it is against the law to discriminate based on a person’s gender.  If this is the case, why don’t pictures get included?  It is most likely because no one really wants to take the effort to pursue the fact that it is not just.  Women are always seen as doing housework, being mothers, or being sexy.  Yet men get to be the macho athletes.  It is the idea that women still belong in the house waiting around for men to come home.  Title IX has allowed for women to become more equal in school, sports, careers, and life, yet we are still so far from truly being completely equal, whether it is between males and females or blacks and whites or straight and gay. 
If you want to watch part of the piece check it out below:

In class we should talk about some things that could be done to try and change the way people are portrayed in the media because it has really changed the thinking of children and how they grow up. It is the future of our world that is going to decide if we learn to accept of if we continue to shut out major ideas that need to be acknowledged.

1 comment:

  1. i really enjoyed this post this week.
    i felt like it was a very interesting event to go to, and i can relate because i am a women's athlete.