You Don’t Often See This!: Sexualized Male Athletes

3 05 2010

Vanity Fair layout of World Cup players

Today a student (thanks A.N.!) sent me a link to a Vanity Fair piece on the upcoming men’s soccer 2010 World Cup being held in South Africa this summer. The title of the story, The World Cup’s Stars Wear Their Flags—And Little Else—For Annie Leibovitz pretty much summarizes the piece.

I’ve written often about how media routinely sexualizes female athletes, rather than focus on their athletic abilities and achievements.  This Vanity Fair piece and June issue  is a rare example of the same pattern for male athletes. The argument is not that male athletes are never sexualized. The main point is that female athletes are disproportionately sexualized in the media (female athletes only receive 6-8% of all sport media coverage ) compared to male athletes. The other point is that when female athletes are sexualized it often undermines perceptions of their athletic abilities, while when male athletes are sexualized it rarely leads to the perception their athletic achievements are questionable. What do you think?

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Did You Know? Videos: Hot Topics in Coaching

15 04 2010

I put together a few Did You Know? powerpoints and turned them into short videos (1:22-1:34 in length).

One is about the scarcity of female coaches in youth sport and the other is about gender differences & similarities in coaching.

I’d love your feedback as this is a bit a work in progress. Here is what I’d like feedback on:

  • Content
  • Length
  • How could these best be used?
  • What other topics would you like to see in a DYK?
  • Any other feedback you feel is relevant.

Thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

(thanks to Austin Stair Calhoun for overlaying the cool music!)





The Power of Images

13 04 2010

Today over my Facebook news feed I got a piece from TED. TED is a non-profit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TED believes passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So TED is building a clearinghouse of knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

Today’s piece was from Jonathan Klein, president of CNN, in which he discusses the power of images.

I have thought a great deal about this in the last year and a half, as a result of reading two good books Slide:ology and presentation zen. The authors of both books have challenged me to think about how I visually represent concepts when I give a lecture or workshop.

For example when I talk to coaches about writing a coaching philosophy, I use this image to portray that one’s philosophy is always changing and provides a road map for where you want to go as a coach and with one’s team.

Klein ends his TED presentation with showing  the one image he has hanging in his office. What would your image be?

picture from http://www.alltelleringet.com/





One Year of One Sport Voice in the Blogosphere

11 04 2010

One Sport Voice is one year old!

Nearly one year ago at the urging a few tech saavy women around me, I decided to begin blogging. I wanted to, but needed a push. I desired to blog to create an outlet for sharing my thoughts and critical perspective on everyday things, hone my thinking and writing, and have a place to share with a wider audience some of the work I do that usually only shows up in academic journals. I felt I had a unique perspective about sports to share, and one not usually represented in many media outlets. I also wanted to answer Dave Zirin’s call he made in Contexts for academics, particularly sport sociologists, to “get off the bench.”

I am so glad for starting to blog for the following reasons, I have…

  • met and connected with an entire network of creative, smart, and sports-minded women I would have never had the opportunity to meet if I didn’t start blogging (Thanks in part to Women Talk Sports Network!).
  • sharpened how I make my arguments, including improving my ability to see and accept both sides of an issue.
  • learned how to accept criticism of my work and my perspective, and not take it personally.
  • learned that a critical perspective of sports is not a common one outside the ivory tower of academe.
  • passed on what I have learned to my students and used my blogs as teachable moments in the classroom. This has helped connect abstract concepts to real life material, which I find enhances learning and increases student engagement.
  • been invited to participate in blog panels and talk about my experiences in blogging.
  • learned that everything I write is public, for better or worse…misspelled words, bad grammar, incorrect information and all!
  • encouraged other women to make their voices heard in the blogosphere and claim what they know or think.
  • thought about how easily I can be “found” on the WWW and how that is both good (i.e., brand recognition, marketing, relevancy) and bad (i.e., stalking, safety, can’t filter who reads or follows) for me personally and professionally.
  • wondered who is reading my blog and the reasons behind what drives them to continue to visit.
  • felt elated, proud, attacked, silenced, hesitant, skeptical, surprised, edified, and everything in between!
  • (I hope) become a better writer, teacher, and researcher.
  • thought about how digital media can both empower and further oppress marginalized groups who get so little attention in mainstream print and digital media.
  • been honored and have enjoyed when blog readers send me stories they think I might turn into blog fodder or want to hear my “take” on a certain issue (keep sending me things!).
  • wondered if I will run out of things to say.

…and most of all I have felt compelled to continue to blog.  Thank you for reading this blog–One Sport Voice. I hope you will visit often, comment when you feel moved to do so, and encourage others to do the same.





New Short Videos of My Research Talks on Girls & Women in Sport

30 03 2010

Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi

I just posted new videos of two research talks I gave in the last week on girls and women in sport.

The first talk was a Tucker Table on “Coaching Youth Soccer as a Token Female” and the other was “Current Research of The Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport” for the St. Paul AAUW.

To see some short clips go to The Tucker Center’s YouTube Channel.





Critique of 2010 March Madness Sports Illustrated Cover

28 03 2010

Sports Illustrated 2010 March Madness Cover

I love March Madness. Every year I wait for the March Madness cover of Sports Illustrated. Every year I do a critique of the cover. Now that I have a blog, I can post the critique for the first time as I started this blog post March Madness in 2009 (April 5, 2009 to be exact). Here are the results of this year’s cover(s) [there are 4 versions of the March Madness cover this year]. The major point in this critique is to demonstrate that male power and dominance in sport is reproduced by the images portrayed and selected on this one cover. An equally important point is that women’s basketball, female coaches, female referees, and female sport fans are literally erased, marginalized and portrayed as secondary to team mascots.


RESULTS:

  • 1 giant male basketball player dunking a basketball (all 4 covers are of males dunking, despite the fact that Baylor’s Brittney Griner is well known for the fact she can dunk, thus it would of been feasible to feature a well known regional FEMALE player dunking)
  • 2 male referees
  • 3 cheerleaders (2 of which are discernibly female)
  • 4 fans (3 of which are male, the 4th is not discernible)
  • 5 coaches–ALL of whom are male, and I think they are all coaches of men’s teams. This is despite the fact UConn Head Coach Geno Auriemma’s team is on a very long winning streak (74 and counting as of 3/28/10) and is been touted as the BEST women’s basketball team ever.
  • ~9 female basketball players (2 of which are almost not discernible as one positioned under the giant dunking male’s player right foot who I think is UConn’s Maya Moore and one player from Texas(?) is under his gluteus maximus, otherwise known as one’s buttocks)
  • 16 Mascots
  • A LOT of male basketball player (roughly I counted ~77…~8 times the number of female athletes portrayed. I’m pretty sure the ratio of male to female basketball players in the NCAA is not 1:8. In fact, according to NCAA research the 2007-08 numbers are 15,307 women and 17,081 male basketball players)




2010 Olympic Sport Media Gaffes…So Far

22 02 2010

During the first week of media coverage of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, a few interesting things emerged in terms of sport media coverage and sport commentators.

1. It has been noted elsewhere by colleagues at the John Curley Center for Sport Media and Pat Griffin that commentators (and female athletes themselves!) continually call the adult female athletes “girls”, rather than women. I have yet to hear male athletes referred to as “boys”. They outline why this is problematic in a very clear and concise way, and is worth a read.

2. Despite the fact the first-ever Pride House for LGBT athletes and friends at the Vancouver Winter Olympics (which does not have any official affiliation with International Olympic Committee or the Canadian Olympic organization), sport media commentators continue to make derogatory remarks about certain athletes masculinity and femininity (or more accurately, the lack thereof). This is particularly true when it comes to US men’s figure skater Johnny Weir, the target of many stereotypical jokes. I watch The Today Show on NBC most mornings and it never fails that Matt Lauer, Meridith Vieira and Al Roker will make a joke or imply something about an athlete’s sexual orientation–listen for it!

3. If you’re watching ski jumping, you probably won’t hear a word from sport commentators about female ski jumpers, as the IOC voted last year to not allow them to compete.  Much of the general public has no idea about this issue, as evidenced by the Huffington Post article a friend sent me last week. She thought I’d “want to know” and she was  surprised and a bit outraged these women were denied the opportunity to compete. I had to laugh, as I (and many others) have been following this story for some time it seemed like old news.