When covering female athletic stories, reporters tend to focus on their femininity, physical attractiveness, or personal problems rather than on their athletic accomplishments (Gamblle, p. 362). Although legal action like Title IX have promoted equal treatement of male and femal athletes, ideological changes are lagging behind. Still, men’s sports are covered far more often and more adequately than women sports, which are dumbed down to how the girls look while they’re playing.

A story that made headlines in the recent years is when Don Imus called Rutgers University’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy headed hoes.” Not only did this display colorism (that natural black traits are not as attractive as white traits), but it exemplified how women’s sports teams are talked about for their looks, not performance. He also called Tennesee’s team, who played Rutgers, “cute.” These kinds of terms are rarely- if never- used when assessing a male basketball game.

Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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