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Research Forum Will Focus on Photo Preferences of Women Athletes University News
For release: February 1, 2010

For press information, contact Gabrielle Maxey, 901/678-2843

Athlete or Diva? Photographic Preferences of College and Adolescent Female Athletes
Athlete or Diva?
Photographic Preferences of College and Adolescent Female Athletes
Media images of  women athletes often highlight their beauty and sexuality and deliver potent messages. Dr. Sally Ross, assistant professor of sport and leisure management at the University of Memphis, has conducted research to determine what types of photographic images young women athletes would create for themselves and what messages they would like to convey in those photos.

Ross will present her findings in a Women’s Research Forum Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 3 p.m. in Clement Hall, Room 409. Sponsored by the U of M’s Center for Research on Women, the event is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will follow the presentation in Clement Hall, Room 337.

As part of the study, adolescent and college-age female athletes had their pictures taken for a photo essay. Fifty-two of the women participated in groups interviews, during which they viewed their photos and discussed their perceptions of the images. Ross will share themes arising from the research, as well as photos from the project.

Ross is a former Big Ten All-Conference and Academic All-Conference student-athlete. Before earning her doctorate from the University of Illinois, she was an assistant athletic director overseeing student-athlete support services there. She also served as an academic counselor and life skills coordinator for student-athletes. Her areas of research include experiences and opportunities for girls and women in sport, as well as athletes’ representation in the media.

For more information, call 901-678-2642 or email

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