Gendered Media Reporting


1.1 Background of study

It has been clear that in today's society males are dominating the sports games as compared to females. Also, male receives high amount of media attention as they think that there are some sports which are especially made for male and thus female football game is not given much attention. There lies a vast difference in media reporting as it has become gendered because when any male sports is being covered than at that time media pays attention towards focusing upon skills and performance of players. While, female athletes receive media attention due to covering their physical attractiveness or non sport related activities. It has been identified that female sports players are affected due to issue of gendered media reporting as they only cover their appearances and looks. Therefore, it is essential for media to overcome such reporting and using trivialising language used that impacts upon the morale of women athletes. It has also been noticed that there are several magazines that features only male sportsperson. But if any time female sportsperson are chosen they are being feminized or sexualized. For instance, when any male sportsperson is pictured on the cover of magazine then they are in their uniform looking strong and powerful. While, it is totally different in the case of female sportsperson as when they are pictured they are being exposed and not dressed in their uniform (Black and Fielding-Lloyd, 2017). Thus, gendered difference lies there and it is all because of wrong media reporting as they deliver wrong image and information about women athletes. It has been shown in the below mentioned image.

However, it has been identified that female has been minorised in the sports industry as from early years, they are facing issues related to cat calling and sexual comments. It assesses that women are being trivialised by the media reporters and created it as a issue. Thus, women are underrepresented by the media reporting. They think that football is male specific game and women's playing such game are considered as weak. Therefore, media use trivialising language for women's football team (Lenskyj, 2015). As per the report, it has been reviewed that men's sports received 96.3% of airtime as compared women sports received only 1.6% of women's sports. Thus, it can be seen that there lies huge difference and women requires equal treatment in sports as they are not more weak or minorised. The main argument in relation to low coverage of women sports by media inspite of high number of women participation in sports is due to the misconception that sports is still male dominated game. While, female sportsperson are focused by media only when they are sexually targeted and thus trivialising comments are given by media reporters that harasses women at international level.

It can be evaluated that the 1999 women world cup brought drastic changes in the view of women sports and turned women football team into a symbol for nation. However, before this world cup, women's participation in sports were not taken seriously at all. Also, the media gendered reporting was high at that time that impacts upon the women team. Gender differences are being noticed by the women soccer team due to the comments of media reporters as there were focusing upon their dressing and not skills and performance (Raab and Khalidi, 2016). Here, in the present dissertation, it discusses that media reporting is gendered bias as women's football team is harassed on several grounds as well as media do not prefer to cover their game.

1.2 Problem statement

It has been identified that media is wrongly reporting and presenting the women football team as they think that they could not be compared with men's team. It is because they think that they do not think that they are competent enough and thus media gives less coverage to women football team. Therefore, they need to identify the perception of people watching sports and thus think that media needs to cover every sports equally and do not carry out biasness upon covering the game (Williams, 2015). The Women's Fifa World Cup 2015 has been considered as the sport in which football team were being trivialised and sexualised by media reporters upon the dressing style of players. They showcased that people come for watching women playing football because of their dressing and comment upon their playing style. Thus, media creates gender biasness and report upon it that affects the athletes morale of playing the game. It is essential for media to change their image and broadcast both men and women game equally so that skills and performance of players could be assessed. Television anchors are using trivialised and sexualised language upon women soccer team and considering them no more than artifacts and commenting upon their visibility and dressing. Thus, due to such issue it impacts upon the image of women playing sports therefore, it is essential for them to adopt effective strategies so that they could overcome the issue of gendered media reporting and attain desired results.

1.3 Aim and objectives

To analyse the issue of gendered media reporting on FIFA Women's World Cup 2015. Below described are the objectives for the dissertation are as follows-


  • To explore the gender biasness done by media against women's football game.
  • To identify the issues associated with Trivialisation, sexualisation, under representation in the media in regards to women's football.
  • To assess the differences between media reporting on male and female football players.
  • To study reasons behind issue of gendered media reporting on FIFA Women's World Cup 2015
  • To recommend strategies in relation to provide opportunities to women football players and overcome trivialising and sexualizing.

1.4 Research questions

  • What is the gender biasness done by media against women's football game?
  • What is the issues associated with Trivialisation, sexualisation, under representation in the media in regards to women's football?
  • What are the differences between media reporting on male and female football players?
  • What are the reasons behind issue of gendered media reporting on FIFA Women's World Cup 2015?
  • What are the recommended strategies in relation to provide opportunities to women football players and overcome trivialising and sexualizing?

1.5 Significance of study

The present study is significant to be carried out because it helps in evaluating the importance of media coverage as they are using their rights in negative manner. Gendered media reporting upon women's world cup is affecting the team members as they are feeling that they are players. Media give wrong views and opinions about the team members that people are watching the game to see what female players are wearing and also the percentage of people watching the game is not equivalent to male (Ravel and Gareau, 2016). From the study it helps in enhancing the understanding of the issue being faced by women world cup team regarding trivialisation, sexualisation and under representation. It has been evaluated that researcher needs to understand the importance of the selected topic as it identifies the negative side of media as they are carrying out gender discrimination among male and female sports and using trivialising language that is unbearable. Hence, it is essential to understand the significance of the present topic and assess the issue of gendered media reporting on FIFA Women's World Cup 2015.

1.6 Dissertation structure

Following is the dissertation structure-

Chapter 1 Introduction

The first chapter of dissertation involves the background and significance of the study. It also explains the aims and objectives formulated for research and thus understand the relevance of the topic. Also, problem statement needs to be identified by the researcher that helps them to understand the importance of the selected topic.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

Further, it is another dissertation chapter that is being carried out reviewing different secondary sources and thus in-depth research is conducted to understand the importance of selected topic.

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

In this chapter, it discusses that different research tools and techniques need to be adopted so that desired results could be attained. Here, qualitative study is being carried out to understand the issue of gendered media reporting on FIFA Women's World Cup 2015.

Chapter 4 Data Analysis

Here, researcher uses thematic analysis to evaluate the collected data and thus obtain proper responses in regard to understand the issues faced by women's in sports.

Chapter 5 Conclusion and Recommendations

At the end, it is the last chapter, that concludes and recommends about the strateges adopted in relation to provide opportunities to women football players and overcome trivialising and sexualizing issue.


2.1 Introduction

In this particular chapter it discusses the issues faced by women's football team due to media trivialising and sexualing so that various secondary sources involving media reports, news channel articles and sports magazines need to be reviewed. Thus, carrying out in-depth analysis that helps in enhancing the knowledge about the way media behaves with female football players (Pfister, 2015). Also, through carrying out literature review it understands that using trivialising language is worst because it hampers the skills and performance of players either it be male or female.

2.2 Gender biasness done by media against women's football game

Adubato, (2016) states that Women in sports always look as not athletic and serious as compare to male. Men's sports are going to get more coverage. There is still no cultural investment in the idea which describes the sports is space where talent and hard work are the key factors which matters a lot. According to Coche, (2016) men's sports have higher production values, higher quality of coverage and also higher quality of commentary where as women's sports there are fewer angles of camera, lesser cuts to shot, lesser instant replays so the coverage work by the side of media is not excited enough.

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As per accordance to Eagleman, (2015) there is various complaints about gender biasness by media can be found on the social media platform. There is a complaint on Twitter about an article which was published in a daily mirror “ Watching lioness is such a roar deal”, on this article one reporter commented that the world cup describes the women's football is not good enough and also states that the place of women is not on a foreign field and playing second rate football. The comment was criticize for a longer time on a various social media platform. Hjelseth and Hovden, (2014) states that the comments by various reporters are not in a proper manner when it comer to the argument about women's world cup, comment such as female players should wear tighter shorts are not spreading positive notion. The amount of coverage by media in the men's football world cup was very higher as compare to women's world cup. It is clear that discrimination is taking place in a way of treatment which women football is getting from the media.

As per the view of McKenna, (2016) after comparing the salaries of men and women England football players, the fact which one can encountered with is there is lack of parity in the pay also . Men's football players are biggest celebrity then the women football player, the biggest reason behind that is the amount of media coverage Ndimande-Hlongwa, 2016 share the viewpoint that the men's football celebrity are endorsing all the leading brands which makes them rich and famous as compare to women's football players. According to Nordstrom, Warner and Barnes, (2016) sport media is also assessing the gender discrimination as they are not covering women's sports at all. Several studies done by him is stating that ESPN sports centres provide only 2 percent of its air time for covering the women's world cup. As per the view of Pollard, R. and Gómez, (2014) facts and figures are depicting the fact that why female soccer stars are not having the equal level of celebrity status, the bias attitude by media is negatively influencing the level of corporate sponsorship for women's football. Most of the national women's football teams are facing financial crisis even the reputable body such as FIFA failed in using the massive finances which helps in transforming the game radically, as the approach is indirectly describing that the mentality is that the women's football is not valuable as compare to men's.

2.3 Issues associated with Trivialisation, sexualisation, under representation in the media in regards to women's football

As per the view of Fink, J. S., (2015), it could be assessed that media reporting the sports game are required to understand the importance of game and then make any comments related to gender and public interest upon the game. It has been assessed that in the recent FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 media carried out gendered biasness and comments upon the looks and dressing of women football team (Fink, 2015). Media presented them badly and thus comments that very few number of people come to watch the game as compared to football matches played by male team. However, Ayala, Berisha and Imholte (2016). argued that trivialisation, sexualisation and under representation is considered as significant issues and thus media showcased the women's football team as they are of no use and thus it impacts upon their morale. Also, female players are not paid equivalent to male players and beside that using trivialising language affects them to focus upon their game. It has been assessed that there are various issues being identified that media reporting is carrying out gender biasness and thus it affects the morale of team members.

Schallhorn, Knoll and Schramm (2016), stated that trivialisation, sexualisation and under representation of female football team impacts upon the game spirit played by sportsperson. Here, media plays a crucial role in building the image of any sportsperson. Therefore, at such instance, media is criticing the game played by women football team (Schallhorn, Knoll and Schramm, 2016). They are using trivialising language that is abusing and harassing them and also comparing them to the male players. However, male football players are considered as celebrities and also receiving high amount of payment while women are getting low payment as well as no reputation as world football players. Further, even media stated that football is male centered game and thus female should not play such game. Therefore, it is essential for female players to become more strong athlete and thus prove to the media that they are wrong. However, Schallhorn and Hempel (2015), argued that female football team is always under representation as media think that they are not able to give their best as compared to males. Therefore, it is stated that media is biased and therefore, they need to understand that if any female player is being trivialised by media reporters than it would be considered as serious offence and punishment would be given for carrying out discrimination.

According to the opinion of Burch, Billings and Zimmerman (2017), sexualisation, trivialisation and under representation are considered as effective issue which is being faced by women football team. Therefore, it has been assessed that media is carrying out gendered reporting and thus embarrassing female players through affecting them on the basis of gender and sexual reasons. Media reports that number of viewers arriving to the see the women world cup is very few as compared to game played by males (Burch, Billings and Zimmerman, 2017). Therefore, they are regularly commenting upon this as women are not made to play soccer and thus it comments upon their dressing and looks while playing the game. Even sometimes commentators make weird comments upon the looks and game played by female. Thus, such type of trivialising comments weakens the game of women football team.

Media is considered as one of the main factor that impacts upon the socialization and thus generate gender differences among male and female football players. It assesses that still women playing on ground is being viewed just for their looks, appearances as compared to male who are being looked for their sports, experience and strong personalities. Thus, media gives their gendered biasness comments upon women football team and thus trivialising upon their looks, dress etc. is harassing them upon gender grounds (Black and Fielding-Lloyd, 2017). Therefore, media needs to understand their role and they should not make any decision upon the sports played by either male or female while they should promote the same as women are giving tough competition in every sports to men.

2.4 Differences between media reporting on male and female football players

As per the view of Raab and Khalidi, (2016), it could be addressed that there has been great differences being viewed within the media reporting of male and female football players. It has been noticed that media represents male football players are the best and therefore given more priviledge as celebrities as compared to female football players. Also, they are being paid high amount and thus discrimination is being done upon such grounds. The media reporting is different upon gendered grounds and thus give different comments to male and female football team. They review that female football match is not viewed by much audiences therefore it is not being covered by media as well (Raab and Khalidi, 2016). While, there are huge number of fan following of male football matches therefore, various media is covering such matches. It assesses that the audiences visiting to watch female football match is for another reason that harass the players. Media also representing the football match of female as they are not efficiently played by females as it is male dominant game.

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Thus, it can be reviewed from the above given image that the number of viewers who watched the game with the prize money offered as it is considered that it is clear disparity between the perceived value of male and female games. The number of viewers arrived to view males football game were more than 4 times and prize money offered was around 38 times more than women football team (Gender Balance in Global Sport Report 2016). As per the view of Williams (2015), media reporting within men and female football game is also very diverse as they are more focused to cover male football game as number of viewers are also high. Thus, as per the demand, female game is not covered through such high rate. Here, gendered biasness could be seen by the media reporters and therefore, it affects the female sportsperson as they are not given the equal weightage as compared to male sportsperson (Williams, 2015).

Ravel and Gareau (2016), stated that media reporting for women football matches are less as compared to men it is because male are still considered as they are not being viewed by people. While, as per the evaluation it could be found that in 2014 only 3.2% television network is covering women sports. However, it has been declining upon year by year and thus women are just considered as sexual objects as their skills and performance is not being viewed at all (Ravel and Gareau, 2016). Thus, such decline in viewers of women football is considered as insulting and humorously sexualized stories regarding women athletes. Media reporting is affecting the coverage of men and women sports games and thus it is decreasing the morale of women players (There is less women's sports coverage on TV news today than there was in 1989. 2015).

It has been assessed that media reporting is different within male and female football games due to the differences in their games playing ability as well as the attraction of viewers. Hence, more number of people are watching the men's football game as compared to female therefore, media is supposed to cover and broadcast that more as there are very few number of people interested in viewing the female football game, media is not covering that enthusiastically. Also, media is reporting sexualised and trivialised comments upon women football team that is decreasing their morale so that it is decreasing women participation in sports due to such gendered discrimination (Pfister, 2015). It is essential for media person to support the game played by sportsperson so that more number of viewers could be attracted as raise the image of sports in market.

2.5 Reasons behind issue of gendered media reporting on FIFA Women's World Cup 2015

As per the view of Fink (2015), it is male dominant society from early years and thus male are given more importance as compared to females. Similarly, in sports as well as media is carrying out gendered discrimination within male and female football team. Therefore, it is essential for football boards to overcome such gendered differences and do not carry out gendered differences so that it does not impact upon the football game of sportsperson. It has been reviewed that historical context could be identified that from last several years, women's are not given much preference in sports as compared to male (Fink, 2015). Therefore, things need to be change and thus it is essential for sportsperson to bring more number of viewers towards women centered sports so that TV coverage could be enhanced. Thus, it is essential for media reporting to overcome gendered biasness and thus report upon FIFA Women's World Cup as women's are not less than men and therefore they could play the game equivalent to men. Also, they give proper answer to media reporting who says that people watch women playing because of their dressing, and sexual reasons. While, men sportsperson are considered as the specimen of skills and performance (Ayala, Berisha and Imholte, 2016).

Furthermore, researchers found that men players are also paid more than female players and thus it makes the difference in paying. Therefore, gendered differences should not be done by media reporting and thus women should not be considered that they use trivialising language that is impacting upon the game of sportsperson. Trivialisation, sexualisation and under representation are considered as crucial issue and therefore it considered that women are lower skilled as compared to men in football (Schallhorn, Knoll and Schramm, 2016). It is essential for media to represent in such a manner that it should not affect the sports spirit of women playing FIFA World Cup. Also, there are concept that is being assessed that male gaze towards those people who are considering women as just sexual object. Therefore, it is essential for them to understand that female are not just sexual object but they can do excel in every game. With the help of this women football players during FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 assess that difference within male and female game is being done due to media reporting as they present that female are less capable of playing football.

It is stated that media reporting needs to be improved as it is carrying out gendered difference within male and female football players. Therefore, it harasses the female players and consider them as low skilled and performance as compared to male. Also, they are being differentiated upon payment basis as male football players are celebrities and paid high amount while women players are not given even half of the amount received by male players (Mataruna, Range and Melo, 2015). Thus, carrying out gendered differences is considered as one of the main reason that affects the image of women football players that are being trivialised. Also, sexualisation is another concept that also affects the female football players and thus they are being under represented which impacts upon their image in sports market.


  • Adubato, B., 2016. The promise of violence: televised, professional football games and domestic violence. Journal of Sport and Social Issues. 40(1). pp.22-37.
  • Ayala, A., Berisha, V. and Imholte, S., 2016. Public Health Surveillance Strategies for Mass Gatherings: Super Bowl XLIX and Related Events, Maricopa County, Arizona, 2015. Health security. 14(3). pp.173-184.
  • Black, J. and Fielding-Lloyd, B., 2017. Re-establishing the ‘outsiders’: English press coverage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. International Review for the Sociology of Sport. p.1012690217706192.
  • Burch, L. M., Billings, A. C. and Zimmerman, M. H., 2017. Comparing American soccer dialogues: social media commentary Surrounding the 2014 US men’s and 2015 US women’s World Cup teams. Sport in Society. pp.1-16.
  • Coche, R., 2016. Promoting women’s soccer through social media: how the US federation used Twitter for the 2011 World Cup. Soccer & Society. 17(1). pp.90-108.
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