#YouMissedIt: Improving media coverage of female athletes

by Steph Hirsch
Master of Communication in Communities and Networks

Women’s sports on average receive less than 10 percent of all sports coverage in the United States. Although women make up 40 percent of all athletes in America, female athletes feel like they have to portray themselves as feminine sex objects or as motherly figures to gain traditional media exposure. By communicating this lack of empathy through a media campaign, it is possible to increase the visibility of women’s sports on a national scale.

#youmissedit is a campaign to hold journalists and media companies accountable for the sexualized coverage of female athletes, and connect these media entities directly to the community they have affected. What #youmissedit hopes to do is educate how media companies “missed the point” in covering women’s sports, and how they can make more inclusive decisions for their women’s sports coverage.

Participants serve as “watchdogs” by watching, reading, or listening to coverage of women’s sports when available. If they feel the coverage is over sexualized or perpetuates archaic views about women in sports, they can send the journalist or the news company a postcard. On the back of the postcard, there is a particular quote, image, or example of the coverage and explain to them why this might have harmed the women’s sports community. Below that is a QR code linking a specific video for the media representative from an athlete, coach, team, parent, or anyone who wanted to express their opinion and educate how they can better cover women’s sports.

Additionally, the front has a picture of the specific athlete or athletes involved in the quote in an athletically competent photo, and one that views them in a more sexualized or suggestively feminine light. This serves to show the power of how we view female athletes in both lights, and to make the person who is viewing those images think about their coverage more thoughtfully. The ultimate goal is to start more conscious conversation about female athletes and women sports within media companies, in hopes to increase the visibility of female athletes on a much larger scale

Anu Hastings#YouMissedIt: Improving media coverage of female athletes
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