Thursday, November 22, 2012

3 Most Popular Sportswear Items For Men

Sportswear and other similar clothing are very popular among men of all ages. Be it a 10-year-old jumping around with his football or a teenager flaunting his favorite football team jersey in the college canteen, sportswear is something that never loses its charm and doesn't go out of style. Everything that athletes or players of other games wear during their match or during practice is counted as sportswear and becomes a part of latest fashion and style. However, for a person who actually follows and plays any sport, there are a number of items that are very important for him and he keeps them as carefully as the girls keep their best dresses. Given below are the three most popular sportswear items that are owned by most sports persons and enthusiasts who like indulging in the game more than just following it.

The first and the most popular item that is seen in almost every guy's wardrobe is the jersey worn by his favorite player, regardless of the sports. When you like a sport and are passionate about it, anything that helps you relate to that game and players gives you a completely different thrill. Similar is the case of jerseys which have the name or the lucky number of your favorite player printed on the back and you miss no chance to flaunt it. Jerseys are something that is close to the heart of sports followers as well as sports persons alike as it is close to their heart. They are one of the few pieces of clothing that every guy takes care of as you do not want anything to happen to it. This is the reason why, the age-old sports jersey tops the list of the most popular sportswear around the world.
The next most important thing that you own as a sports gear is your pair of shoes. Shoes involve highly important for any sport as most of them running and a lot of physical activity. Shoes have to be comfortable and of a good quality to maximize your performance. Apart from the performance and quality, most guys like their shoes to be stylish as well of a good design as they are an important part of their complete sporty look and cannot be compromised on. Most of the time, different shoes are available for different games as every sport has a different terrain, method of playing and exercise and completely different set of requirements. This is the reason why shoes are the next most popular items of sportswear that most guys pay attention to.

Third most popular item that most guys who are into playing sports own is a good watch. Sports watches are a completely different line of watches altogether and their features and looks are very different from the regular or the classic watches. This line of watches can really impress you with their features as some of them have options that you have never thought of. The common features include the waterproof design, heart-rate monitor, a dial which keeps track of the amount you exercised, and automatic timers as to how much you perspired, the calories you burnt and other marvelous features. Most guys who are into playing games and professional sports persons own great watches which not only help them in improving their performance but also give them a very hot and a sporty look. These are the three most popular items all sports persons love.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

How do female athletes want to be portrayed?

More than 350 scholars gathered from all over the world for the annual meeting of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) in New Orleans, which concluded on Saturday. The conference offered valuable research for those concerned about the relationship between sports media and society. Steve Bien-Aime, my colleague from the The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, extensively documented some of these discussions on this blog (see earlier posts here). One main area of interest at NASSS is gender in mediated sport. While much research has been done on representationof female athletes, scholars have recognized the need to examine perceptions of female athletes about the ways in which they are portrayed in the media. Researchers from the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sport took upon the task to explore how female athletes would prefer to be shown in the media. In the study titled "Exploring Elite Female Athletes' Interpretations of Sport Media Photographs: A Window into the Construction of Social Identity and 'Selling Sex' in Women's Sports,” Dr. Mary Jo Kane, Dr. Nicole LaVoi and Dr. Janet Fink (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) identified four ways in which female athletes typically appear in the media and asked female athletes to pick which representation they would prefer. The four representations were: (1) A woman in an action shot, participating in her sport (competency frame), (2) A woman with some symbol of her sport (such as holding a ball in her hand), but outside of playing field (mixed message frame) (3) A woman completely outside of her playing field with no indication of athletic participation (“sexy/classy lady” frame), (4) A soft pornographic image of a nearly or completely naked woman The researchers found through focus groups with Division I female athletes that most of them would prefer to be portrayed as the woman in the (1) frame – playing their sport. Some of them wanted to pick two representations as they identified with both the (1) frame and the (2) frame. However, when the female athletes were asked which photo would bring most attention to their sport, one-third of them said that it would be the soft pornographic image. They picked this based upon the belief that hypersexualized images were more marketable to a male audience. Consistently with the Tucker Center’s previous research, Dr. Kane and her colleagues contested the “sex sells women’s sports” assumption, arguing that these hypersexualized, soft pornographic images are counter-productive as they do not foster respect for female athletes and women’s sports. According to the study presented at NASSS, female athletes prefer to see themselves portrayed in an athletically competent pose. Ultimately, Dr. Kane and her colleagues argued, only these types of portrayals will lead to change in cultural perceptions about women’s sports. For a summary of the “sex sells sex, not women’s sports” argument, see our earlier blog post. To see twitter updates from the conference, go to #NASSS12 @CurleyCenter.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Studies challenge ideas of sport fandom

Two recent studies presented Friday at the annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in New Orleans challenged the concept of sport fandom.<.div>

Antunovic presents during the "Sport and Gender" panel.
Bloggers on women’s sports blogs appear to view fandom differently than common perceptions of fan behavior, said Dunja Antunovic, a researcher with The John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. Bloggers on Women Talk Sports and BlogHer perceive sport often through a participatory perspective rather than an observatory lens, Antunovic said. In other words, instead of following teams many of the bloggers on these websites enjoy sport in terms of well-being and as a livelihood.

Antunovic and her research colleague Marie Hardin analyzed the bloggers’ profiles to gauge their views on sport and fandom. Many of the bloggers were not rabid fans of teams and did not focus on the more aggressive actions of fandom. They were more fans of the sports themselves and in terms of women’s sports, they worked on “bringing visibility” to them, Antunovic said.

Overall, the bloggers saw sport's purpose to be positive, inclusive and build relationships, she said.

But why do women need a separate space to discuss sports? Preliminary research by the University of Tennessee’s Traci Yates can perhaps help to answer this question.

Yates interviewed four women NFL fans to gauge their experiences as fans. A common theme among these women was the fact they had to verify their sports credentials, Yates said. Male sports fans often “tested” the women’s sports knowledge and acted as if they are the gatekeepers on determining genuine levels of fandom. One of Yates’ interview participants expressed embarrassment at this type of questioning and the overall challenge to her quality as a fan.

To that end, another one of Yates’ participants talked about how she had to change her language style to fit in when she watched sports among men. She never talked that way except in that sporting context among men, indicatinf that perhaps sports fandom is defined by aggressive men.

Both studies also more broadly discussed working to change the definition of fandom; that there should not be “fandom” and then a women’s style of fandom. Rather, the definition needs to encompass a wider segment of the population – one that likely includes the majority of male sports fans, who are people who like sports but are not the intense, face-painting, tribalistic individuals commonly portrayed as the typical sports fan.

-- Steve Bien-Aimé

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is the regulation of celebrations in sports part of a larger battle?

"Control of the body is a political issue."

San Jose State's Vernon Andrews made that statement during presentations on the "African-American Experience" Thursday at the annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in New Orleans.

Andrews’ statement was part of a broader discussion regarding his research on how black expression is regulated in sports.

Thursday he focused mainly on the discourse surrounding end-zone dances in football. Why are these dances considered undignified, uncouth or unbecoming of an athlete? Andrews argues that white elites dictate the rules for behavior in social spaces.

During his specific presentation, Andrews introduced statements from media members questioning the celebrations of expressive athletes, with some even criticizing the now famous Tiger Woods fist pump.

Andrews said that there should not be a blind following to the notion: This is the way it’s always been done. Rather, it should be asked: Who did it “that way” first, and why should everybody else adhere to that? Perhaps there is a cultural significance to the behaviors performed by the small percentage of athletes who are expressive, Andrews said.

He also said the power to make the rules for social spaces should not rest with the owners, but with the players and fans instead.

“It’s not the owners’ sport. … It’s all of our sport,” he said.

-- Steve Bien-Aimé

Analysis of Sports Illustrated yields interesting data on portrayals of women athletes

A new study indicates that representation of women athletes is improving, but there’s a caveat to that point.

The University of Buffalo’s Kiera Duckworth analyzed Sports Illustrated issues during Olympic years and found that the majority of articles portrayed women athletes as “strong, competent athletes.” Her research was presented Thursday at the annual conference for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in New Orleans.

This is a positive signal for women’s sports because it is imperative that women athletes are recognized for their athletic prowess and not being sexualized.

However in her analysis of advertisements in the same issues, Duckworth found that there were differences in representation based on race. White women were portrayed as “the girl next door”, black females were shown predominately in a sporting context and Asian women were sexualized.

Taken together, Duckworth’s research indicates that the focus needs to be placed not just on journalists, but on advertising companies who also create societal representations of women athletes.

-- Steve Bien-Aimé