Media & Communication Department

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Courtney Tapkas
Depiction of Women in Sports' Feature Films

There is no doubt that in recent years women have received many more opportunities in the world of sports. However, research has proven that media's depiction of women's sports is still very much inadequate. With this said, much research has been done on the coverage of men and women's sports on television and in newspapers, but there is little research concerning the representation of women athletes in feature films.

In this study, which I completed in Gender, Communication, and Culture with Dr. Kahlenberg, I attempted to uncover how feature films construct gender roles and if these films emphasize different ideals for male and female athletes. I conducted a textual analysis of Remember the Titans, Love In Basketball and Bring It On in order to uncover any potential disparities. I found that in feature films, female athletes are more successful as individuals, are highly sexualized and rely on love and relationships for their success in sports. Male athletes on the other hand are much more successful as powerful teams, for the most part are not judged by their appearance and do not dependent on their significant others for their athletic success. With all the gains in women's athletics, it is important to note that these are the skewed messages being received by audiences today.