Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Depictions of Women in Climbing Magazines

By Brad Howard and Adam Cochran.

Published by The Sport Collection

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

This study builds on studies of depictions of female athletes in Sports Illustrated and finds
that contrary to the sexualized depictions in SI, the female climbers in Climbing, Gripped, Rock and
Ice, and Urban Climber are depicted as athletes. The women are typically depicted in climbing gear
and climbing. The images are predominantly empowering for female climbers. To date the study suggests
that climbing magazines are a case study in the proper coverage of females athletes by sports photographers, findings which can perhaps be generalized to include photojournalism as a whole.

Keywords: Rock Climbing, Female Athletes, Photojournalism, Discourse Analysis

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.173-184. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.993MB).

Dr. Brad Howard

Associate Professor, Journalism, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, USA

I teach in the Department of Journalism at Western Washington University, where I have incorporated news mapping into our advanced reporting course. Prior to coming to Western I taught in the Mass Communication Department at Shenandoah University. There I also wrote and directed a federal grant to promote the inclusion of GIS across the curriculum. I have a Ph.D. in English from the University of Delaware (1990). My graduate research focused on eighteenth-century British journalist, novelist and historian Tobias Smollett. While this work allowed me to incorporate three out of four of my great loves into a course of study, it was not until GIS became more user friendly that I was able to incorporate my love of cartography into my work.

Adam Cochran

Student, Journalism, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, USA

Adam is a senior in the journalism program at Western Washington University. He is in the public relations track, hoping to work in sports communication after he graduates this year. When he is not studying, he is the head coach of Western’s baseball club.