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Are Media Guide Portrayals of Collegiate Female Athletes Regressing?


Tucker Center scholars, Director Mary Jo Kane and Affiliated Scholar Jo Ann Buysse, have published longitudinal research on how collegiate media guide covers have historically marginalized female athletes–but that recently change has occured. In 2003-2004 women were much more likley to be seen in uniform, on the court and in action, almost as often as their male counterparts.

Duke Women’s Basketball Media Guides Over Time

Pictorial Progress of Portrayls of Female Athletes

Given two recent blogs about the 2009-2010 crop of women’s basketball media guides, one is left wondering if the ground gained over the last 20 years is now being reversed. Seattle Times reporter Jayda Evans, wrote “Women’s hoops media guides and web sites getting sexier” which outlines and includes pictures some of the images you will see this season in women’s basketball, as well as why it is problematic.

Building off Evans article, scholar Pat Griffin of It Takes A Team (an educational project of the Women’s Sport Foundation that is focused on eliminating homophobia as a barrier to all women and men participating in sport), wrote a blog titled Women’s Basketball Media Guides: Lipstick, Yes. Lesbians, No. In this blog she cites results of audience reception research conducted by TC scholars Kane and Heather Maxwell, and emerging research from Vikki Krane (Bowling Green U) and colleagues, in which both research teams indicate that sex doesn’t sell women’s sport to anyone.

Duke 2009-1020 WbbData collection for the 2009-2010 media guide project is now underway, so we’ll keep you posted on emerging results. Given the blogs above, what do you think we’ll see?

Food for thought: Here is the 2009-2010 Duke Women’s Basketball Media Guide. Is this progress in light of the 2003-2004 media guide cover?

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