Women participating in sports are seen as a joke due to sports being seen as masculine. Due to women sports not having a huge fan base, these sports receive little media coverage. When a female athlete does receive media attention, it is normally non-sport related. Female athletes receive media attention for their physical attractiveness, off-court, and non-athletic purposes. Due to the societal gender roles, athletic women are portrayed as feminine and sexy in the media instead of as athletic and aggressive. This allows for society to still showcase the gently and non-threatening natural that females obtain. Female coverage is classified as: wholesome, hyper-heterosexual, sex babe, and or soft pornography. All these forms of coverage do not display an aggression, competition, and talent that is involve in athletics.
Women are challenging gender roles by playing sports so the media is hyper sexualizing these females to sustain these gender traditions like elegant women and strong men. An example of an athlete is Anna Kournilwva, who has been ranked amongst the most important individuals in sports, but she has not won a professional tennis tournament. Another example is Marion Jones who is a strong masculine, track athlete. She does not receive any media coverage due to her physical appearance despite her winnings (Lamoureux, 2012). A former athlete who wishes to remain anonymous stated that, “While I was playing basketball, we were often asked to try and look pretty. The crowd thought we looked too much like boys and even were told to wear makeup for big, televised games. I just wanted to play basketball and be good, not be a fashion model” (personal interview, May 3, 2015). Women are seen as eye-candy for the world, so the media is trying to make female athletes look pleasing instead of displaying their talent.