Gender and Language, Vol 8, No 3 (2014)

Making gender relevant in Spanish-language sports broadcast discourse

Holly R. Cashman, Chase Wesley Raymond
Issued Date: 14 Oct 2014

Abstract


Using the US Spanish-language television broadcasts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer (football) tournament, the present study offers an analysis of the crucial role that language plays in the gendering of sport. Despite the framing of the coverage as a celebration of women’s participation in sports, this was undermined by the sometimes covert, sometimes overt, objectification, trivialization and patronizing of the players and their sport during the broadcast. We examine the ground-level interactional practices through which this marginalization was achieved. First we consider references to persons, presenting overarching quantitative distributions as well as contextualized examples. We then highlight how gender is brought to the interactional surface and made relevant – to the speakers themselves and to the at-home audience – through the discursive dichotomization of women’s versus men’s soccer, with particular attention to the ways in which topicalization of gender-based differences can pave the way for the recreation of gender-based inequalities. Finally, we illustrate how gendering soccer reflects and transcends the game itself, invoking and reestablishing normative gender roles and expectations in and from society.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v8i3.311

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