Despite standout female athletes like Serena and Venus Williams paving the way for women to dominate courts and fields as men are reported to, professional sports still claim one social arena that’s lagging in gender equality: sports commentary.
Though many movements and empowering hashtags have been born to shed light on this issue—especially related to interviews—it’s still important to notice the language used in commentary and media coverage.
A compilation of over 5000 articles published on basketball throughout the last 10 years shows that men’s ball tends to be treated as “serious business” that elicits words such as hired, suspended, and stats. Men are also described physically as a way prove their athleticism. Neither of these trends is evident in the data collected on women’s games, though female athletes go through the same political and business aspects of the game as men.
To help bridge the gap, the NCAA has committed to covering female athletes with the same framing as their male counterparts. Will the #CoverTheAthlete tag follow the media into the future, or will they get the hint that ladies is pimps too?
Cover image courtesy of Linguistic Pulse.