The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota, in partnership with tptMN, will debut a groundbreaking documentary that uses research to examine the amount and type of coverage given to female athletes.
Titled “Media Coverage and Female Athletes,” the piece will air Dec. 1 on tptMN and Dec. 8 on LIFE channel...in Minnesota. For the rest of us, we can order a DVD online or streaming on the TuckerCenter.org website in mid-December.
Those entrenched in girls and women in sport are far too aware of the disappointing numbers. As found by the Tucker Center, while 40 percent of all sports participants are female, women’s sports receive only 2-4 percent of all sport media coverage. The center also found most female athletes are more likely than male athletes to be portrayed in sexually provocative poses.
The Seattle Times is even guilty of following the norm. Tough decisions made for travel and space are often gauged on attendance.
Don’t even mention the WNBA team being the only to win a pro championship (or two) for Seattle. Instead the repetitive story is that pro basketball doesn’t exist in the city since the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma in 2008.
That’s just for women’s basketball. Did you know the UW volleyball team is ranked, hosting the NCAA Final Four and outdraws the Huskies women’s basketball team in attendance? Not lately as male sports dominate the newspaper.
It’s hard to argue against the Seahawks, the team captivating the entire city regardless of gender. But too often women are pushed out of the sports pages, not covered by columnists and when mentioned, the images can be unflattering. Yet, The Seattle Times does far more than most in the country. Sad.
Given the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport’s background, the documentary should be insightful. Regardless, proof there needs to be a change will crop up daily, like the scarce coverage of Hall of Fame coach Tara VanDerveer winning her 900th career game on Wednesday when No. 6 Stanford defeated Florida Gulf Coast 83-59. Only five women have achieved the milestone but the game wasn’t televised and build-up was barely covered by mainstream media.
Maybe by the time VanDerveer wins her 1,000th, we as a society will catch up to the obvious disparity that’s only justification is based on a myth that no one cares.