The purpose of this study was to examine the pictorial content of entertainment and sports programming networks (ESPN) The Magazine’s Body Issue to determine the type of coverage sportswomen received in the annual special edition. The Body Issue was intended to celebrate the physical characteristics of athletes through visual representation that honored diverse human elements such as body shape, height, and weight. A total of 276 photos were examined. Although it was hypothesized that female sport competitors would be overrepresented on the Body Issue pages, male athletes garnered more photographic coverage than female athletes. Though it was not a significant difference (χ2=3.365, p=0.162), female athletes were photographed more in non-athletic poses than their male counterparts. Gender did not play a role in photo prominence, as a Chi Square test revealed no statistical difference (χ2=14.176, p=0.077). Female athletes who competed in individual sports received more pictorial coverage than female athletes in team sports (χ2=36.010, p < 0.000). Though it appears the special issue’s mission was upheld and the study found some advances made in how female athletes were represented in comparison to their male counterparts, much work is still needed before we can truly celebrate progress.
Key words: Consumer behavior, sport media, gender, sport management.
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