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"They never do this to men": College women athletes' responses to sexualized images of professional female athletes
Unformatted Document Text:  By February 2011, 29 athletes had filled out the questionnaire. However, two did not appear to be university students and were eliminated from the study, leaving 27 questionnaire responses. Five student athletes indicated they would be willing to participate in face-to-face in- depth interviews. These five athletes were interviewed in person during sessions lasting between 30 minutes and 75 minutes. To complete the process, the responses of all athletes then were analyzed and divided into overall themes and categories based upon the female athletes’ opinions and impressions. Results/Discussion The athletes’ responses reflected their conflicted feelings about femininity, a societal double standard about looks and appearance, and their own body image. Of the 27 respondents, the majority was Caucasian. Three respondents were African- American and one was Hispanic/Latina. All five women who consented to face-to-face interviews were Caucasian. The subjects ranged in age from 18 to 22. The role of femininity Several college women athletes discussed a stereotype that many female athletes are “masculine” because they occupy a traditionally male realm. Some of the women viewed the photos of the athletes playing their sports as “mannish” or “lesbian” and saw the nude or scantily clad photos as “feminine.” Several respondents replied that they do not agree in principle with posing nude or scantily clad but said it shows athletes are women. “[f]or some reason women’s basketball, compared to any other women’s sport (except boxing) makes me think these women are extremely masculine. I hate to say that because I played three sports in high school, volleyball, basketball and track, and I absolutely hated when people assumed all basketball girls were masculine or bisexual because I

Authors: Everbach, Tracy. and Mumah, Jenny.
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background image
By February 2011, 29 athletes had filled out the questionnaire. However, two did not 
appear to be university students and were eliminated from the study, leaving 27 questionnaire 
responses. Five student athletes indicated they would be willing to participate in face-to-face in-
depth interviews. These five athletes were interviewed in person during sessions lasting between 
30 minutes and 75 minutes. To complete the process, the responses of all athletes then were 
analyzed and divided into overall themes and categories based upon the female athletes’ opinions 
and impressions.
Results/Discussion
The athletes’ responses reflected their conflicted feelings about femininity, a societal 
double standard about looks and appearance, and their own body image.
Of the 27 respondents, the majority was Caucasian. Three respondents were African-
American and one was Hispanic/Latina. All five women who consented to face-to-face 
interviews were Caucasian. The subjects ranged in age from 18 to 22.
The role of femininity
Several college women athletes discussed a stereotype that many female athletes are 
“masculine” because they occupy a traditionally male realm. Some of the women viewed the 
photos of the athletes playing their sports as “mannish” or “lesbian” and saw the nude or scantily 
clad photos as “feminine.” Several respondents replied that they do not agree in principle with 
posing nude or scantily clad but said it shows athletes are women.
“[f]or some reason women’s basketball, compared to any other women’s sport (except 
boxing) makes me think these women are extremely masculine. I hate to say that because 
I played three sports in high school, volleyball, basketball and track, and I absolutely 
hated when people assumed all basketball girls were masculine or bisexual because I 


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