Sexist coverage of beach volleyball increased during 2016 Olympics
Women’s beach volleyball apparel gets high media attention
We have recently reported about women’s clothing choice in beach volleyball. One finding was that outfits are not highly regulated by official guidelines anymore but are primarily subject to women’s choice.
Study on sexist media coverage
A new study is now reporting about sexist media coverage of female athletes at the Olympics 2016. One major Olympic sport with reported instances is beach volleyball. Two researchers at University of Missouri have analyzed more than 700 newspaper and magazine articles in order to quantify instances of “microaggressions”. These are comments regarding a person’s race or gender, e.g. sexist language focusing on the athlete’s body and being sexually charged.
Results show 40% increase
Study results show that sexist media coverage has increased by 40 percent from the 2012 to the 2016 Olympics. Some media coverage was focusing on the attractiveness of female athletes instead of their achievements. Some articles were utilizing sexist language or jokes. Other articles were comparing female athletes to their male counterparts instead of appreciating their own accomplishments. Many journalists actually assume that their audience does need this type of comparisons to understand the subject.
Mixed reactions among journalists
Reactions to the study have been mixed. While some media representatives are having problems to believe in the data presented, other journalists seem to admit that they are biased in their coverage of female athletes’ successes. Cynthia Frisby, one of the study authors, says: “We’ve known for a long time that female athletes often experience discrimination and other microaggressions, but now that we have statistical data illustrating this issue, we want to use it to educate media and members of the public on how to avoid some of these problematic pitfalls.”