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Gender Bias in Sports Reporting: Female Athletes in the British Press

Author(s): Diane Ponterotto

Journal: Studii de Stiinta si Cultura
ISSN 1841-1401

Volume: VIII;
Issue: 3 (30);
Start page: 15;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: bias | gender | patriarchy | athleticism | sports journalism | conceptual metaphor analysis | discourse analysis.

This paper addresses the question of the representation of female athleticism in the British press. By means of a corpus-assisted analysis of sports reporting of two female athletes, the Russian tennis champion Maria Sharapova and the Italian swimming champion Federica Pellegrini, it offers a linguistic description of the stereotyped discourse reserved for women in sports settings. The study reveals the presence in the corpus of a discursive frame which tends to downplay the athletic ability and success of female athletes. This frame emerges from two basic discourse strategies, a thematic strategy, which eroticizes the body of the female athlete and a metaphorical strategy, which trivializes it. The study suggests that this type of representation is motivated by sexist stereotyping related to the ideological interests of male hegemony. [1].
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