When Women Fail to “Hold Up More Than Half the Sky”: Gendered Frames of CCTV’s Coverage of Gymnastics at the 2016 Summer Olympics

Qingru Xu, Andrew Billings, Minghui Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Communist beliefs on gender equality and Chinese female athletes’ consistent ability to win national glory have lead to female athletes in Chinese sports media being primarily portrayed as legitimate athletes akin to levels of male athletes. This study examines such assumptions within Chinese Central Television’s (CCTV) 2016 Olympic telecast of gymnastics, a sport in which Chinese female athletes failed to attain national expectations, exploring potential variations of gendered frames in Chinese sports culture. A full examination of 100% (over 14 hr) of CCTV’s broadcast coverage revealed that female athletes received less media attention in terms of clock time and name mentions. Regarding word-by-word commentary ascribed to the gymnasts, CCTV employees significantly devoted more descriptors related to personality and physicality to female athletes, indicating a noticeable deviation from the Chinese traditional gendered frame of depicting female athletes as tenacious fighters with their nonsport-related aspects rarely covered. Implications for the findings are offered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-174
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication and Sport
Volume6
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, © The Author(s) 2017.

Keywords

  • China
  • broadcast
  • content analysis
  • gender
  • gymnastics
  • media
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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