How do Sportswomen Perceive the Way they are Treated in the Media?
This study sets out to examine how elite sportswomen perceive the way that their professional careers and women’s sports in general are portrayed in the media. These athletes want to debunk gender stereotypes and have managed to cross barriers and reach the summit in their respective sports. The study aims to understand and interpret a specific social reality, namely that of elite sportswomen, by identifying the meaning or the significance that they attach to media representation of the sport, expressing how their sports careers and identity as athletes were built and how they have been treated by the press. Nineteen interviews and three focus groups were conducted with elite sportswomen. The results show that elite sportswomen believe they are treated differently to men and that they feel invisible and judged through stereotypes linked to beauty, lack of skill or lack of interest in their competitions. They denounce the fact that even their accomplishments are less visible than their male colleagues’ defeats. The conclusions underscore the feeling among sportswomen that there is an urgent need for journalistic practices to change in order for them to cease feeling invisible, ignored, objectified and be able to become role models for young girls.