Although American football has primarily been a sport populated by boys and men, girls and women have participated for over 100 years. The media have covered these stories since the turn of the 20th century. Informed by feminist sport studies literature, this research examines media coverage of women footballers in the United States by conducting a textual analysis of over 100 articles from 1934 to 1979. Journalists who covered women encroaching on conventional men’s space (i.e., American gridirons) simultaneously attempted to demonstrate women’s athleticism and reified dichotomies between feminine and masculine norms and values in U.S. society. Our research suggests that representations of women in football align with gendered hierarchies of sport cultures.
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- American football
- women’s sport