The lack of women being represented in sporting activities is very much noticeable now a days. Especially in a world full of brainwashed people believing everything they read online or see on the TV. To me this is a negative idea that the media has conducted due to the fact that women are capable to do what a man can do.
In 1928 both women and men participated in the Olympics. This was the first time women had been allowed to compete in field and track events. The athletics was the only event where women were permitted to do the same sport as men. Despite the legislation women still have not been seen as equal to men in society. In the US in 1848 women took a stand for equal treatment of women and men under law but it was not until 1920 that women got equal rights and were able to vote. Even with the Equal Pay Act in 1979 and the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975 research shows on average women receive less than half the amount of bonus than men. The Fawcett Society (2012) suggests that women still earn 14.9 per cent on average less then men for the same job.
The BBC Sports Personality of the Year started in 1954 but did not have a female winner until 1962 and women have only won the award 17 times. In 2011 there we no female sports women on the shortlist.
The Adidas’ ‘All In’ commercial produced in 2012 is an example of female stereotyping. The commercial is dominated by one sex and portrayed the idea that if you worked hard you could achieve anything. However the producers used Katy Perry to represent the female sex as opposed to a professional female athlete such as Jessica Ennis. This was very controversial because Katy Perry is not the ideal sporting woman she is a celebrity, which shows that the producers were just using her to gain a wider audience for their brand. The Adidas commercial could represent the effects theory as you could say the male gaze is ‘hypnotised’ by Katy Perry who is using her ‘perfect’ figure. This supports the idea of Laura Mulvey: “women are in the media for the gratification of men”. This theory is also noticeable in a Reebok commercial where the brand uses Miranda Kerr to sell their product. They portray her in a key lighting with some lightning effects. Therefore, by using key lighting Miranda Kerr is illuminated at different moments and it makes her attractive to the target audience. Those adverts suggest that all women want to be the main focus, which is stereotypical. However, this ideology might be patronizing women who hold a different point of view. Women now a days have been socially influenced by the idea that being aware of their self-image is a requirement. The media has influenced the masses, especially young teenagers, into believing that having the ‘perfect’ body makes them perfect. This is called the hypodermic syringe inoculation. Magazines and television shows portray images of females with ‘model-like’ appearances; on the contrary it is a false representation of what a real woman is. Fashion has also caused controversy regarding the ‘clothes-hanger’ model body. All these factors prove the pressure felt by young females but also women. Gebner (1986) identifies that “television is a medium of the socialization of most people into standardized roles and behaviors”. “Exercise has come to be used in the social construction of the ‘ideal feminine body’” Markula (1993). Markula (1993) expresses the idea that the social construction of the ideal body has happened through exercise. Markula is simply stating that the ‘ideal feminine body’ has happened due to the fact the society wants to give the ‘ideal body’ a meaning.
Over the years women have been allowed to participate in many different sports and have gained more recognition through their sporting achievements. During the 2012 London Olympics, USA had more females than males competing. By allowing women to compete in sport it has helped to change how women are treated and to challenge female stereotypes. This is allowing the reception theory to be played due to the difference in gender as females have been allowed to compete properly in the Olympics. This is shown through the Beats: Powerbeats2 Wireless commercial in 2014, where Serena Williams is the brand name used to sell their products. This marketing strategy led to product globalisation because Beat has used a well-known sporting figure, which allows uses and gratifications to accrue. In addition, it allows the audience to seek out the communication of what the product does. “Globalisation involves the reconciliation of a paradox which is the ‘particularization of universalism” Miller, T (2001). Through media, they created a “global village” this allowed people all around the world to see women competing in sports and changing stereotypical perceptions. In 1856, a woman called Katherine Beecher published the first exercise manual for women. This allowed women to see that they were able to do something different; it allowed them to follow their own dreams. However, the globalisation of sport has allowed the mass audience to become passive and supports a more pluralistic view of the media and how much it influences their view of women in sport. This is supported by Chomsky’s belief, which was ‘a mass audience is like a bewildered herd’ which infers the inability of a mass audience to think independently.
As the numbers of women participating in sport has grown, more cultures have allowed women to participate in sporting activities. This is especially noticeable in the Middle East, even though it is extremely hard for the women to take part in events; they still compete whilst respecting their culture. This could be shown through Barthes Theory, the semantic code as it is pointing out a cultural underlining, but it is predominately Barthes Theory on cultural code as this is allowing the demographic to have a wider understanding on the cultural knowledge. “The status of Muslim women in sport conflicts between cultural tradition and modernisation” . L (1985)
It is important to acknowledge that this is merely an opinion as some female audiences may view this media representation as dominant and empowering. Nevertheless it is evident that sexual representations of females in sporting adverts are a result of the industries wanting to attract their audience through targeting the demographics that desire a pleasing physical appearance. The main aim for the institutions is to generate as much profit as possible and by using attractive women to represent their brand they are targeting a global market.