April 9, 2014
Three Flagler College students recently presented a paper on how female sportscasters continue to struggle in the male-dominated world of sports broadcasting at the annual Southern States Communications Conference in New Orleans.
Alexandra Holmes, Katie Lutz and Stephanie Spadea presented “Female Sportscasters: Still Battling the Same Barriers,” a paper written in Associate Professor of Communication Helena Sarkio’s Race, Class, Gender and Media class.
“It's been a long road for female sportscasters and although strides have been made, negative stereotypes and generalizations have pushed women underneath a glass ceiling making it almost impossible to gain the same respect as many male sportscasters,” said Lutz. “In this paper we discussed why females are still having such trouble breaking these barriers.”
They argue in the paper that the entire sports industry continues to stereotype and generalize female sports reporters, and that the public "is inadvertently taught to stereotype female sports reporters from the moment they step onto the screen." To support this, they researched Twitter posts about female sports reporters and found hundreds of comments discounting women in sports media.
"The media makes an emphasis on the women’s physical attributes and does not allow any leeway for women to showcase their knowledge and expertise," they wrote. "When the medium is the message, audiences,
athletes and other sportscasters are going to continue to discriminate against female sports reporters."
Holmes was eager for the chance to present at the conference and meet others in the communications field.
“We were very excited to have the opportunity to travel to New Orleans to present our paper,” said Holmes. “We were also excited to share our findings with other students and communications professionals.”
The conference was presented by the Southern States Communications Association, an organization dedicated to promoting the study, criticism, research and teaching of communication.