Tag Archives: feminism

Juliet Day Abstract

Weber, Jonetta D., and Robert M. Carini. “Where Are the Female Athletes in Sports Illustrated? A Content Analysis of Covers (2000-2011).” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 48.2  (2013): 196-203.

Abstract by Juliet Day

Weber and Carini argue that, although women are represented in Sports Illustrated, the magazine still fosters social inequality between male and female athletes. They expose the double standard Sports Illustrated exhibits by documenting how it portrays men versus women on its cover. They reviewed every Sports Illustrated cover from 2000 to 2011 and from 1954 to 1965 and tracked how many men were on the cover versus how many women. They excluded Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue because “women were not portrayed in an athletic manner”. They then divided the women into two groups: athletes and other women (an anonymous woman, a sports fan, etc.), as well as whether the women were pictured by themselves or with men.

Women appeared on 4.9% of Sports Illustrated covers between 2000 and 2011 (n=716) and only 2.5% had women as the primary image. This is over 50% lower than the percentage of women on the cover between the years of 1954-1965 (n=588), which was still only 12.6%. One explanation as to why the percentage of women represented has decreased since the 1950s is that Sports Illustrated narrowed the scope of the sports it covers from a wide range of sports to mainly featuring basketball, football and baseball.

Weber and Carini then explore how women were portrayed in Sports Illustrated when included, and what message the magazine sends about gender. For example, they note the difference between an athletic looking woman holding sports equipment on the cover, to a scantily dressed, seductive-looking woman. While Sports Illustrated promotes sports as a way to achieve health and fitness as well as personal empowerment, women are not necessarily depicted solely for their athletic abilities but rather for how they look or how they are posed. They cite as an example, the case of skier Lindsey Vonn, who was photographed on her skis, but posed in a provocative way, as opposed to a male skier photographed in action. Lastly, Weber and Carini assert that their data is consistent with that of other similar studies about female athletes portrayed in both Sports Illustrated and in other media.

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High Art = Pop Culture [model abstract]

GreekSlave_NGAHyman, Linda. “The Greek Slave by Hiram Powers: High Art as Popular Culture.” Art Journal 35.3 (Spring 1976): 216-223.

Abstracted by Noah Duell

Hiram Powers’ The Greek Slave is the most preeminent example of antebellum neoclassical sculpture. Whereas other scholars have noted the aesthetic qualities of the statue, Linda Hyman researched many poems and other literary works in order to find out why the work was such a phenomenon in the antebellum United States. Hyman posits that many men of the era were drawn to its beauty, aroused by its state of submission, and subdued by the fantasies elicited by what they saw as an erotic sex symbol. Looking through a 1840s and 50s Victorian Christian lens, the erotic gaze was permitted and defended by much of the male audience. This, permission, Hyman noted, is the difference between covert and overt culture, where the viewers “overtly” look upon it as art, but in reality have ulterior “covert” motives. Women were also attracted to it, yet in an empathetic rather than sexual way. They identified with the statue, most notably in a Freudian narcissistic manner, Hyman notes. Based upon several poems, the chains that subdued the subject were as tight, emotionally, as those that held Victorian women down. In the same way the statue was being commodified as a submissive femininity, so too were the women who looked upon it. In the highly tense political environment, the statue served as a rallying icon and a call to arms for the Abolitionist movement in the northern United States. As Hyman references, the artwork itself brought upon fiery anti-slavery rhetoric, with which came vociferous opposition in the Southern United States. Those who were pro-slavery deemed the Abolitionist’s protests as pure hypocrisy, that they made complaints only in response to the statue’s Caucasian Christianity. The broad appeal of Hiram Power’s The Greek Slave is evident in the numerous ways it was interpreted. Using the literary works and the words of a congressman, a literary critic, and everyone in between, Hyman exhibits several appeals the statue possessed and the connotations of the work as it relates to factions within antebellum American society.