Challenge and conformity on "contested terrain": Images of women in four women's sport/fitness magazines

Marie Hardin, Susan Lynn, Kristie Walsdorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Women's sport magazines were launched during the mid-to-late 1990s as a response to the growing women's sport movement in the United States. These magazines, including Real Sports, Sports Illustrated for Women, and Women's Sports & Fitness, were marketed as more active and sport-focused than established titles such as Shape, a popular magazine launched during the early 1980s for fitness-oriented women. Shape has been criticized by scholars for reinforcing male hegemony in US culture through its emphasis on sexual difference. In the present research, we analyzed photo images presented in Sports Illustrated for Women, Women's Sports & Fitness, and Real Sports to assess the reinforcement or rejection of sexual difference in these magazines as gauged against the presentation of sexual difference in Shape. The results show that the newer magazines do, to varying degrees, contest male hegemony more than Shape does. The impact of these magazines is discussed, and we speculate on the reasons that, although Shape continues to thrive, these magazines have ceased publication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-117
Number of pages13
JournalSex Roles
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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