David or Mia? The influence of gender on adolescent girls' choice of sport role models

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Women's Studies International Forum, 2008, 31 (5), pp. 383 - 389
Issue Date:
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This article explores the relationship between adolescent girls and their sport role models with a particular focus on gender. Social learning theory as well as gender theory are considered. Based on quantitative and qualitative data collected in Australia through two focus group interviews and questionnaires (n = 357) the researchers found that gender influences the choice of sport role models of adolescent girls. When asked to nominate their role model, girls overwhelmingly choose a female role model, however, when their role model came from the sporting domain the percentage of female role models decreased. Further, qualitative comments support the notion that gender and gendered heroism play a critical role in the adoption of sport role models by adolescent girls. The authors argue that sport role models, in traditional gender terms, are ideologically contradictory. A trend towards acceptance of a perspective of multiple femininities and masculinities may be a prospect for change. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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