Master of Mass Communication (MMC)


Mass Communication

Document Type



In this experiment, my goal was to determine if public perception of female athletes differed from public perception of male athletes. Female athletes are underrepresented in the media (Eastman and Billings, 2000), and because of this, public perception of male athletes might differ from their perceptions of female athletes in the media. I hypothesized that my respondents would best remember the female athletes appearance, best remember the male athletes interview content and that the female and male respondents who took my experiment would evaluate each athlete differently based on their own gender and the athletes’ gender. My results indicated that the respondents who watched the female student-athletes’ interview were more likely to write more detailed responses about dress and appearance, while at the same time, adding negative and malicious comments about them. Those who watched the male student-athletes’ interview were simpler in their dress and appearance descriptions, and the male student-athlete rarely received negative comments. Additionally, female respondents were more likely to pay attention to the male student-athletes’ interview than the female student-athletes interview. The male respondents were less diligent than the female respondents in recalling the interview content from both the male and female student-athletes, but more likely to recall the information from the male student-athletes’ interview. Female respondents were also more likely to detect emotions over the male student respondents. I believe, the results from my research boils down to female athletes being more critically judged in the media because of their underrepresentation (Eastman and Billings, 2000). In order to help stop this negativity female athletes receive, like the female in my experiment, I believe having more media training that provides insights on what to wear and how to look could lead to more positive comments for viewers watching female athletes on television. My vision is that the content of this thesis sparks further research so female athletes can be viewed the same way as male athletes.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Reynolds, Amy