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Playing Unfair

The Media Image of the Female Athlete

Playing Unfair

Duration: 30 min
ISBN: 1-893521-71-0
Date Produced: 2002
Subtitles: English & Spanish

Filmmaker Info
Study Guide
Praise for the Film

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Playing Unfair
The Media Image of the Female Athlete

It has been 30 years since Title IX legislation granted women equal playing time, but the male-dominated world of sports journalism has yet to catch up with the law. Coverage of women's sport lags far behind men's, and focuses on female athletes' femininity and sexuality over their achievements on the court and field. While female athleticism challenges gender norms, women athletes continue to be depicted in traditional roles that reaffirm their femininity - as wives and mothers or sex objects. By comparison, male athletes are framed according to heroic masculine ideals that honor courage, strength, and endurance.

Playing Unfair is the first video to critically examine the post-Title IX media landscape in terms of the representation of female athletes.

Sports media scholars Mary Jo Kane (University of Minnesota), Pat Griffin (University of Massachusetts), and Michael Messner (University of Southern California) look at the persistence of heterosexism and homophobia in perpetuating gender stereotypes. They argue for new media images which fairly and accurately depict the strength and competence of female athletes. Using numerous media examples, Playing Unfair is sure to stimulate debate among women and men, athletes and non-athletes about the meaning of these images in world transformed by the presence of women in sport.

Sections: Taking the Field: The Impact of Title IX | Out of Uniform: The Media Backlash Against Female Athletes | Playing Along: Empowerment or Exploitation? | The Glass Closet: Homophobia In Sport & Sports Media | Fair Play: Women Athletes in Action

Filmmaker Info

Executive Producer: Sut Jhally, Loretta Alper
Co-Producer/Editor: Kenyon King
Production Manager: Kelly Garner
Camera and Colorist: Kelly Garner
Sound Engineer: Thom Monahan
Motion Graphics: Tellart
Graphic Designer: Michelle Rojas

Film Festivals

Press Reviews

Praise for the Film

"This video is about so much more than sports and media; it unquestionably shows that the line is, unfortunately, our society's inability to embrace the strong, self-assured, highly capable woman."
- Marilyn Huffman | Therapist & Health Educator

Recommended by School Library Journal as a teaching tool in women's studies

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