2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Guy Harrison

Youngstown State University
Assistant Professor
"It Nearly Broke Me:" Postfeminism, Affective Labor, and Women Sportscasters

Current scholarship demonstrates a myriad of obstacles facing women in sports media, including double standards, sex bias in hiring, and online and offline harassment. These phenomena have been widely reported but little research has been undertaken to investigate the psychosocial effects of these obstacles for women sportscasters and the impact these effects may have on the industry as a whole.

Using data collected from one-on-one phone interviews with ten women sportscasters, I examine the affective labor required of women sportscasters, through the lens of Arlie Hochschild's emotion management (1979). I found that women sportscasters are forced to manage their emotions in response to gendered mistreatment and that this quotidian affective labor cannot be divorced from the other duties required of sportscasters. Further, I found that the expectation that women sportscasters manage their emotions resonates with postfeminist and neoliberal discourses insofar as emotion management takes the place of meaningful support from within the industry. The onus is therefore placed on women sportscasters for their own success despite gendered mistreatment. These expectations of emotion management contribute to the disproportionate attrition of women in the industry, which has ramifications for the gendered structure of the industry and its representation of women and girls.