Volleyball, but Make it Sexy: Mediated Representations of Female Athletes

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2022-05-06

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Abstract

The female athlete experience is complicated and beautiful. Women were long excluded from the world of sport and looked at as “masculine” when they did compete. To combat this fear of seeing “less feminine” women, sport organizers and mass media overcompensated; now we see sportswomen wearing less. This trend is especially evident in my own sport of volleyball. By examining the evolution of the beach volleyball uniform and media representation of the sport, I hope to map patterns that can be tracked in other female sports. I will call on frameworks established by researchers Linda Fuller, Paul Davis, and Janet Fink to help us understand how meaningful differences in media coverage of female athletics shape consumption of female sports and impact the female athletes themselves. To situate the work in context, I will provide a historical perspective on female athletics, looking at the rise of popular media and its impact on women’s sports. When sex is used to sell sports, female athletes become pawns in an unwinnable game.

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Rosseland-Harrison, Frances (2022). Volleyball, but Make it Sexy: Mediated Representations of Female Athletes. Capstone project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25518.


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