The mass media play increasingly more important role in the contemporary word. It proves beyond a doubt that they produce a profound impact on the formation of identity of the audience. In this respect, it is quite natural that the mass media contribute to the formation of gendered social relations in society since they contribute to the formation of stereotypes concerning gender roles and relations between genders. In such a context, the televised media sport coverage is particularly noteworthy because the sport coverage is characterized by an extremely biased attitude of commentators and journalist to gender roles. At this point it is possible to refer to the article “Gender Stereotyping in Televised Sport Coverage”¯ by Nathalie Koivula, where the author focuses her attention on the interrelationship between gender stereotyping and the role of televised sport coverage.
First of all, it should be said that Nathalie Koivula conducts a profound research of gender stereotyping and the impact of mass media sport coverage using both quantitative and qualitative of research. In such a way, she attempts to reveal the difference in the attitude of commentators and specialists covering sport events to representative of different genders. To put it more precisely, the author targets at the identification of gaps between men and women in sport coverage and the difference in the attitude of commentators and journalist to men and women. In fact, from the beginning the author states that the televised media sport coverage is extremely biased and women suffer from a significant discrimination.
On analyzing major points of the article, it is important to underline that the author draws the attention of the audience to the fact that the discrimination of women in televised sport coverage persists. Moreover, she underlines that there are traditionally masculine sports where women are particularly discriminated and are practically deprived of an opportunity to gain as much attention of media and the audience as men do. For instance, the author states that there are only 2% of interview of women in typically masculine sports (Koivula, 1999). Similarly, the language used by commentators in relation to women and men differs. For instance, commentators are more likely to use first names of women than men, which they prefer to name either using last name or both the first and the last name (Koivula, 1999).
At the same time, she underlines the importance of televised media sport coverage in “the portrayal of men and women with regard to how sport is presented as a socially constructed reality in the ongoing construction of gender”¯ (Koivula, 1999). Basically, the main conclusion the author makes is the discrimination and marginalization of women in the televised media sport coverage, which results in the formation of gender biased stereotypes and norms in relation to women in sport. Naturally, such a situation is unjust and needs to be changed.
In fact, it is hardly possible to disagree with the author and her conclusion concerning the discriminatory nature of the televised media sport coverage and the depiction of women in sport. However, it is necessary to remember about the fact that women has just started take an active in sports, especially in the sports which are traditionally viewed as masculine. In such a way, the lower attention of the media to the coverage of sports involving women may be explained not only by social or gender biases but also purely economic reasons. What is meant here is the fact that the audience is still willing to watch sports they get used to and the problem is the lack of the popularity of women in masculine sports and the general view of the audience on sports as masculine.
On the other hand, the mass media could really contribute to the growing popularity of female sports or women in traditionally masculine sports. In such a context, it is obvious that the discriminatory attitude of the mass media to women prevents them from getting better position and more attention from the part of the public. The latter does not stimulate the rapid development of female sports and it does not increase the number of women in sports since the audience’s attention is low. Consequently, at this point, it is possible to agree with the author that the televised media coverage does contribute to the formation of the biased attitude to women in sport and stimulates the development of stereotypes and specific gender roles.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that Nathalie Koivula in her article “Gender Stereotyping in Televised Media Sport Coverage”¯ reveals an important problem of the impact of the mass media on the formation of gender stereotypes and gender roles through media sport coverage. On the other hand, it is necessary to understand that the media is not the only source of the formation of such stereotypes. Instead, it just mirrors the general, historically formed trends that could be observed practically in all spheres of life of the contemporary society.