On the Sidelines


On the Sidelines

Gendered Neoliberalism and the American Female Sportscaster

Guy Harrison
Foreword by Julie DiCaro

Sports, Media, and Society Series

186 pages


August 2021


$99.00 Add to Cart

August 2021


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eBook (EPUB)
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August 2021


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eBook (PDF)
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August 2021


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About the Book

2022 Outstanding Book Award in the Communication and Sport Division from the National Communication Association

When sports fans turn on the television or radio today, they undoubtedly find more women on the air than ever before. Nevertheless, women sportscasters are still subjected to gendered and racialized mistreatment in the workplace and online and are largely confined to anchor and sideline reporter positions in coverage of high-profile men’s sports. In On the Sidelines Guy Harrison weaves in-depth interviews with women sportscasters, focus groups with sports fans, and a collection of media products to argue that gendered neoliberalism—a cluster of exclusionary twenty-first-century feminisms—maintains this status quo.

Spinning a cohesive narrative, Harrison shows how sportscasting’s dependence on gendered neoliberalism broadly places the onus on women for their own success despite systemic sexism and racism. As a result, women in the industry are left to their own devices to navigate double standards, bias in hiring and development for certain on-air positions, harassment, and emotional labor. Through the lens of gendered neoliberalism, On the Sidelines examines each of these challenges and analyzes how they have been reshaped and maintained to construct a narrow portrait of the ideal neoliberal female sportscaster. Consequently, these challenges are taken for granted as “natural,” sustaining women’s marginalization in the sportscasting industry.

Author Bio

Guy Harrison is an assistant professor of journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee–Knoxville. Julie DiCaro is a senior writer at Deadspin. Her work has appeared in outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Sports Illustrated.


"[On the Sidelines] is a scholarly discussion that challenges both fans and media professionals to look inward rather than dismiss problems like online trolls, harassment, sexism, and racism as simply the cost of becoming a public figure."—Oskar Garcia, New York Times

"On the Sidelines is a smart, compelling, convincing analysis of how contemporary discourses of feminism and neoliberalism converge to form and constrict the female sportscaster subjectivity. Sports broadcasting educators and professionals should read this book and earnestly consider the pragmatic solutions Harrison offers in the conclusion. Women in sportscasting should read this book to better understand how gendered neoliberalism corners them into no-win situations at work. Sport scholars should read this book as a model for making their analysis of women in sports media dance with contradictions and nuance in their arguments."—Jennifer McClearen, Sociology of Sport Journal

"Harrison's careful and detailed analysis supports the gradual (and likely contested) social construction of a new normal, one where women can flourish both on and off the sidelines."—Rachel Allison, Gender and Society

"Harrison's book offers opportunities for interesting discussions with students on how gender can be analysed within the sport media context as well as the implications of sport and sports media for equality, citizenship and human rights in society."—Britt-Marie Ringfjord, Idrotts Forum

“The degree in which female sportscasters still face unwarranted barriers to inclusion and ascension within the industry can only be explicated by understanding how much masculinity is baked into the proverbial cake of sports media. Guy Harrison (and the ten women sportscasters interviewed for this book) reveal these factors superbly.”—Andrew Billings, coauthor of Media and the Coming Out of Gay Male Athletes in American Team Sports

“A very important and timely feminist intervention into debates around gendered neoliberalism. On the Sidelines provides a crucial if disturbing look at female sportscasters, shedding light on how sports media is not only a gendered but a profoundly gendering space.”—Catherine Rottenberg, author of The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism

Table of Contents

Foreword by Julie DiCaro
The Pregame Show
1. Postfeminism, White Femininity, and Sportscasting’s Double Standards
2. Sportscasting’s Glass Booth
3. Gendered Offline and Online Harassment in Sportscasting
4. The Woman Sportscaster’s Affective Labor
The Postgame Show


2022 Outstanding Book Award from the National Communication Association

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