Broadcasting from a neutral corner?: An analysis of the mainstream media's representation of women's boxing at the London 2012 Olympic Games
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Finkel, R. (2014) Broadcasting from a neutral corner?: An analysis of the mainstream media's representation of women's boxing at the London 2012 Olympic Games. In: Dashper, K., Fletcher, T. & Mccullough, N. (eds.) Sports Events, Society and Culture. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 85-99.
Women's boxing was included in the Summer Olympic Games for the first time at the London 2012 Olympics. This chapter critically analyses mainstream media representations of women's boxing at the London 2012 Olympics in newspapers and TV broadcasts, and seeks to examine how women competitors were represented in terms of the linkages between gender and athleticism in the traditionally masculine space of the boxing ring (Mennessen 2000). It also explores to what extent representation reinforces or challenges male-dominated narratives in sport participation and discourses (Theberge 1997). Indeed, many female boxers maintain that the sport can promote self-esteem through physical strength and positive expressions of power. Part of the legacy agendas for the London 2012 Olympics has been to provide an international platform to encourage more women to become involved in sport. This can be achieved not only through medal success, but also positive media representations of female athlete's abilities to act as positive role models. Utilising documentary research, methods include content analysis of both mainstream newspaper and televised broadcast coverage of women boxers and women's boxing matches at the London 2012 Olympics. It is argued that the London Games have been successful in improving the collectively recognised legitimacy of women's boxing and providing an arena for the global consumption of women's sport, where issues of power and representation are tested and contested through the gendered mediated lens.