The Mediatisation of Sports Women with Disability. Newspapers Analysis from Four European Countries during the Sydney’s 2000 Paralympics Games

Eric de Léséleuc

Pappous Athanasios

Anne Marcellini

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Cite this article

de Léséleuc, E., Athanasios, P., & Marcellini, A. (2009). The Mediatisation of Sports Women with Disability. Newspapers Analysis from Four European Countries during the Sydney’s 2000 Paralympics Games. Apunts. Educación Física y Deportes, 97, 80-88.

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Abstract

Data concerning mediatisation of the female athletes are showing that on the one hand, women are less represented than men and, on the other hand, their image is frequently sexualized. In addition, contrary to men, media often focuses on their social roles as mother, wife, etc, i.e. female athletes are frequently portrayed in scenes non related with the sport dimensions. It is also known that media treatment of disabled athletes is quite different from those of others athletes. But, which are the peculiarities concerning media treatment of female athletes with disabilities? In the present study a qualitative and quantitative analysis of  the Paralympic Games in Sydney 2000 has taken place, including 108 articles from German, English, Spanish, and French newspapers.  Our data shows that, contrary to what was expected, women with disabilities are not specially underrepresented compared to men; quantitatively there is no presence of a specific stigmatization. But a qualitative analysis of texts and photos shows that a stigmatization process is taking place through a more insidious form: the female Paralympic athletes are largely “infantilised” and “trivialized” (Jones, 1999) in the newspapers which cover the Paralympic Games.

Keywords: disability, Mass media, newspapers, Paralympics Games, Sociology, sport.

ISSN: 1577-4015

Published: July 01, 2009