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Changes Through the Lens? U.S. Photographic Newspaper Coverage of Female High School Athletes

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Sports in Society (In Press)


framing theory, Gender, girls basketball, high school, photograph, Race


The social constructs of race and gender are often diluted in their importance to the processes of human reality. However, understanding how each is shaped by social institutions, such as sports media, is necessary in order to explain individual perceptions of each. Using framing theory, and informed by feminist thought and critical race theory, this study critically examines the visual U.S. newspaper coverage of interscholastic female athletes, thereby addressing the need for further research regarding the intersections of race and gender in sports media. Specifically, it thematically analyzes the photographs and accompanying text of interscholastic female basketball players. Affirming prior research, this study found that newspapers upheld hegemonic masculinity through their under-representation of photographic images of high school female athletes. However, contrary to female collegiate and professional coverage, the instances of occurrences of female high school athletes and their accompanying texts did not serve to reduce, trivialize or underestimate their athletic accomplishments. Rather, they seemed to affirm female athletics.