Gender Stereotypes, Gender Segregation, and Credibility: Crossing the Lines in Sports Media

By Kami Harris.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

As workplace roles of the 21st century evolve, previously male-dominated industries are experiencing an influx of women. However, in many cases, gender segregation and gender stereotypes restrict a woman’s potential trajectory. This condition is particularly true in the field of sports media, where a dearth of female voices belies the amount of female sports fans. This study examines the inclusion of females in the sports broadcasting arena, specifically exploring the implication of a woman’s credibility when commentating on male and female sporting events. This research is significant because credibility is the ability to believe or accept information from a specific source, and is closely linked to persuasion. Fundamentally, a credible message is inextricably tied to the messenger. This study compared the credibility of male and female announcers relaying the same commentary while discussing identical male and female basketball games. Analysis of the results indicates that women sportscasters are perceived as equally credible when compared to male sportscasters. Subject gender, sport gender and total amount of sporting events watched impacted sportscaster credibility assessments. In the evaluation of the men’s basketball game, male subjects gave the male sportscaster only slightly higher qualification and dynamism ratings compared to the female sportscaster. Female subjects gave similar ratings for the male and female sportscasters. In examining the women’s basketball game, both male and female subjects gave the female sportscaster higher dynamism and qualification ratings. Subjects classified as high sports watchers gave the female sportscaster higher qualification and dynamism ratings for both the men and women’s basketball game. In contrast, subjects classified as low sports watchers gave the male sportscaster higher qualification and dynamism ratings than the female sportscaster for both games. This study is part of an emerging discussion of gender roles in the workplace. However, it is unique in that it examines the function of credibility in relation to gender and how this will shape an evolving sports media platform.

Keywords: Gender and Sports, Gender and Sports Media, Gender and Credibility, Credibility and Sportscasters, Sportscasters and Gender Stereotypes

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.137-159. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 452.485KB).

Kami Harris

Graduate Student, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Kami is a graduate student at the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Los Angeles earning a B.S. degree in Psychobiology. Her research interests include both gender studies and sports. She is passionate about both gender and sports because these are two topics that profoundly affect society. She recently completed a tour of Denmark, where she studied new media at Aarhus University.