Gender Stereotypes In The Rio Olympics

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Every four years millions of viewer’s worldwide watch in awe as athletes from around the world compete against one another in various sports; demonstrating their remarkable talents and impressive skills in the momentous occasion that is the Olympic Games, a celebration that brings countries together and unites them through the power of sport. This year’s Rio Olympics where no exception to this, world records were broken, victories were taken and generations were inspired. But as the nation’s hearts fill with pride over the many successes of their countries athletes, there is one thing that is certainly no reason to celebrate about; the pervasive and blatant sexist Olympic coverage.
Throughout the course of the Rio Olympic Games the media has
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Katie Ledecky, for instance, won gold and broke her own world record in the 800-meter freestyle but on that same day, Michael Phelps tied for a silver medal in the 100-meter butterfly. Naturally, in the newspaper the following day the tile read ‘’Phelps ties for silver in 100m fly’’ and in a smaller print underneath it read ‘’ Ledecky sets world record in 800m freestyle. Even though Katie’s was the bigger achievement and she actually won her race her success was overlooked by Michael Phelps’s who didn’t even win his race. However, this is not the only example of a females sporting achievement being over-shadowed. After Andy Murray, a British Tennis champion won gold in the men’s tennis singles in Rio, John Inverdale, a BBC commentator congratulated him on being his success of becoming ‘’the first person ever to win two Olympic gold tennis medals”. Andy corrected the commentator’s mistake reminding him that women’s are people too saying “To defend the singles title. I think Venus and Serena have won about four each.’’ Although Andy’s response was applauded, this incident is but a lone spot in the Rio Olympics where women’s achievements are overlooked by men’s or even unacknowledged. Not only this but also in a recent study carried out by The Cambridge University Press that analyzes sports reports brings light to the subtle differences in the ways in which the media talks about male and female athletes. Men are usually described by their physical qualities such as their speed and strength and ‘’fastest’’, ‘’strong’’, ‘’big’’ or ‘’great’’ are archetypal words used to describe them. However, women are described by their age, marital status and appearance with the most common words used to describe them being ‘’aged’’, ‘’older’’, ‘’pregnant’’, ‘’married’’ or

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