Consequences of being the "Team Mom": Women in sports information and the friendliness trap

Marie Hardin, Erin Whiteside

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

In an effort to move beyond relying solely on institutional critiques in explaining women's marginalized status in the sports media workplace and to expand our understanding of gendered meaning-making in such organizations, we employ feminist scholar Romy Fröhlich's notion of the "friendliness trap" in the analysis of focus groups with women who work in college sports public relations, commonly called sports information. The friendliness trap is a term used to describe the faulty belief that women, by virtue of their feminine qualities, possess an advantage in communication-related fields. Our findings suggest, however, that women in sports information may be frustrated by the failure of "the female advantage" to provide them with opportunities for promotion. The friendliness trap obscures workplace realities, including the structural barriers to women's advancement, and may divert the energy of women in ways that have no career benefit. Once the trap is exposed, however, women may be more able to challenge the meanings associated with it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)309-321
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sport Management
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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