As men’s sports dominate the media through the television, newspapers and magazines, women’s sports do not have much of a spotlight from the media. In fact, Women’s coverage of sports seems to be at an all-time low, but will the media ever change this? The media shapes the dreams and aspirations of boys when they are younger, watching their favorite men’s team play as they grow up. They are easily encouraged to go after their dreams, and they have the help of heroic figures to look up to on the media. However, do girls get the same message?
Coverage of women’s sports within the recent years has dropped to 1.6%- 4.9%. Women’s media coverage in the radio is only 1.4%. Also, women’s coverage on Television is only 2%. Molly Arenberg, a former Division 1 college soccer player and cross country runner, noticed the difference in women’s and sports media after just reading the newspaper each morning. After countless times of trying to get a hold of New York Times to ask them as to why they don’t cover more women’s sports in their paper, she started a petition and launched a page that tracked the number of stories about women sports each day.
There are some instances where the media covers Women’s Sports, which is during the NCAA women’s basketball Final Four. However, men’s college basketball is aired the whole season. Also, televised WNBA games are played during a shortened summer season by players on the teams making 10 – 20 times less. The problem isn’t just the fact that women’s sports aren’t being covered; it is often devoted to “catfights.” When male athletes receive media attention, their coverage is primarily focused on their skilled performance. However, when female athletes get media attention, the media tends to also only focus on their physical attraction. The media encourages women to prioritize their sex appeal over strength which degrades the female athlete’s accomplishments and self-esteem.
If you want to watch any NBA basketball game, you could easily watch the game on television or find the highlights pretty much anywhere. However, if you wanted to know what teams were winning for the WMBA, or the NCAA’s premiere softball tournament for women, there is a 99% chance you will not be able to catch it anywhere except hopefully online! So next time you are reading the sports section, read carefully to see exactly how many men’s articles there are compare to women’s. I bet there will be slim to none!
We’ve come a long way, sisters….but maybe not far enough yet!