In this article we analyze images of sportswomen from four media outlets over the course of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia. Through visual discourse analysis we find that despite structural changes to increase gender equality at the Commonwealth Games–which for the first time ensured equal opportunities for men and women to win medals–sportswomen were still depicted in a very narrow way, and intersectional representations were mainly excluded. Though the quantity of images of women had increased, the ‘quality’ of these images was poor in terms of representing sportswomen in their diversity. We still have far to go if we are to embrace women in their multiplicity–and to recognize that women can be strong, capable, butch, femme, and varied in their range of expressions of gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity.
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Abstract included in PLA’s Research Connections article in Parks and Leisure Australia Vol 23.1 Autumn 2020