This week, it is time to take a look at how women in other professions interact with the media in order to acquire a larger picture of women’s public representation. A relevant and recent example of this is the February Winter Olympics that were held in Sochi, Russia. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, coverage of this year’s games showed far more equity in the time men and women received attention. In, “The Olympics are the closest to coverage parity female athletes get,” Sarah Laskow notes that the data found by Andy Billings shows a significant increase in coverage of female athletes, for at the closing of the games, “… men got 45.4 percent of clock time, women 41.4 percent, and pairs 13.2 percent.” However, Laskow mentions that simply gaining screen time is not an end-all be-all, for the content of the coverage still remains a large component of the inequitable and gendered differences in media coverage of men and women.
Nolan Feeney, a writer for The Atlantic, says the content of this coverage is still widely offensive and sexist, “… in one of the bigger dust-ups, NBC skiing analyst Steve Porino said, in a segment about how extreme the courses are for skiers, that the female athletes do ‘all of that while in a Lycra suit, maybe a little bit of makeup—now that is grace under pressure.'” In his article, “A Brief History of Sexism in TV Coverage of the Olympics,” Feeney notes that the while NBC is continually giving more screen time to female athletes, it is choosing to do so through socially accepted “feminine” sports like tennis and golf — where in Beijing those sports took 60% of all female coverage. Regardless of the official media coverage the Olympics receives, it is easy to say that female athletes across the board garners more media attention when it comes to their appearance than their performance, much like female politicians: