What needs to change?
Women are responsible to make a change in the discrimination of women in sport, says an expert recently.
“If you’re a female athlete that plays one of those sports that doesn’t get as much coverage, I think it is more up to you to get the right kind of coverage," said Amy Jones has a doctorate in mass common society and mass communications and is an assistant professor of journalism and speech at the University of West Alabama.. "Not necessarily, an athlete that plays hockey for example, that doesn’t mean you need to run around wearing a skirt every time you’re out in public but you can try to get interviews you can use publicity to your advantage.”
While in high school and university Jones played competitive golf, many times she was told that she didn’t look like an athlete. This prompted her to do more research.
Society raises boys with cars and trucks, and raises girls with dolls and make up. There are natural distinctions to what is feminine and what is masculine.
Though there are these distinctions, Jones found that it is not them that needs to changed.
“I don’t think you can stop stereotyping, but I think you can introduce a respect,” said Jones. “I think women’s athletes are getting there, it’s improving, but I don’t think it’s necessarily about equality. Its not necessarily women’s hockey needs to get the same amount of coverage as men’s hockey. Because lets face it these media outlets are going to put on the TV what they think is going to get ratings.”
Jones’s example of lack of respect is women’s hockey. Living in a southern state, where hockey is not that popular, the only time she has watched it is on television. She found that there is a keen difference between what the commentators say in men’s and women’s hockey.
During the men’s games Jones heard that the commentators talked about the skill of the athlete. Even the camera angles were lower so the players would look larger. While watching a women’s game the camera angles were higher to make the women look slimmer, and the commentators were talking about insignificant details. Insignificant details like one of the girls having a husband or a boyfriend, or when they aren’t playing hockey they are a teacher. This is instead of talking about their skill level in the game.
“When they do air a women’s hockey game (commentators) need to do their research,” said Jones. “
Jones agrees that men and society is not going to change anytime soon.
“It’s going to be very hard to be change all of society where one individual athlete has control over how they present themselves,” said Jones.
There is one thing that Jones says may create change quickly.
“I think the other responsibility lies with the media,” said Jones. “It’s not just about women but also about men, its is just about recognizing that these stereotypes exists.”
Jones said that journalists and videographers don’t even know that they hold these stereotypes in their minds. If the media were to be more responsible and be more aware of the things they say, the camera angles they use, and are more cautious of it.
“I think there could be a change, and it could be a very quick change,” said Jones. “Think of all the sporting events that you haven’t attended in person and you consumer via media. So that would change amongst all those audience members if the media would change.”