It's Not About the Game: Don Imus, Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Media

Cooky, Cheryl; Wachs, Faye L.; Messner, Michael; Dworkin, Shari L.
June 2010
Sociology of Sport Journal;Jun2010, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p139
Academic Journal
Using intersectionality and hegemony theory, we critically analyze mainstream print news media's response to Don Imus' exchange on the 2007 NCAA women's basketball championship game. Content and textual analysis reveals the following media frames: "invisibility and silence"; "controlling images versus women's self-definitions"; and, "outside the frame: social issues in sport and society." The paper situates these media frames within a broader societal context wherein 1) women's sports are silenced, trivialized and sexualized, 2) media representations of African-American women in the U. S. have historically reproduced racism and sexism, and 3) race and class relations differentially shape dominant understandings of African-American women's participation in sport. We conclude that news media reproduced monolithic understandings of social inequality, which lacked insight into the intersecting nature of oppression for women, both in sport and in the United States.


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