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On the Sidelines

Gendered Neoliberalism and the American Female Sportscaster

Guy Harrison

Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Imprint: University of Nebraska Press
Published: 08/2021
Pages: 186
Subject: Social Science
eBook ISBN: 9781496227409


When sports fans turn on the television or radio today, they undoubtedly find more women on the air than ever before. Nevertheless, women sportscasters are still subjected to gendered and racialized mistreatment in the workplace and online and are largely confined to anchor and sideline reporter positions in coverage of high-profile men's sports. In On the Sidelines Guy Harrison weaves in-depth interviews with women sportscasters, focus groups with sports fans, and a collection of media products to argue that gendered neoliberalism a cluster of exclusionary twenty-first-century feminisms maintains this status quo. Spinning a cohesive narrative, Harrison shows how sportscasting's dependence on gendered neoliberalism broadly places the onus on women for their own success despite systemic sexism and racism. As a result, women in the industry are left to their own devices to navigate double standards, bias in hiring and development for certain on-air positions, harassment, and emotional labor. Through the lens of gendered neoliberalism, On the Sidelines examines each of these challenges and analyzes how they have been reshaped and maintained to construct a narrow portrait of the ideal neoliberal female sportscaster. Consequently, these challenges are taken for granted as "natural," sustaining women's marginalization in the sportscasting industry.


Guy Harrison is an assistant professor of journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee?Knoxville. Julie DiCaro is a senior writer at Deadspin. Her work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated. ?


"The degree in which female sportscasters still face unwarranted barriers to inclusion and ascension within the industry can only be explicated by understanding how much masculinity is baked into the proverbial cake of sports media. Guy Harrison (and the ten women sportscasters interviewed for this book) reveal these factors superbly."?Andrew Billings, coauthor of Media and the Coming Out of Gay Male Athletes in American Team Sports

"A very important and timely feminist intervention into debates around gendered neoliberalism. On the Sidelines provides a crucial if disturbing look at female sportscasters, shedding light on how sports media is not only a gendered but a profoundly gendering space."?Catherine Rottenberg, author of The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism