Making gender relevant in Spanish-language sports broadcast discourse


  • Holly R. Cashman University of New Hampshire
  • Chase Wesley Raymond University of California, Los Angeles



broadcast discourse, gender, conversation analysis, membership categorization device (MED), person reference, soccer/football, social interaction, sport


Using the US Spanish-language television broadcasts of the FIFA Women’s World Cup soccer (football) tournament, the present study offers an analysis of the crucial role that language plays in the gendering of sport. Despite the framing of the coverage as a celebration of women’s participation in sports, this was undermined by the sometimes covert, sometimes overt, objectification, trivialization and patronizing of the players and their sport during the broadcast. We examine the ground-level interactional practices through which this marginalization was achieved. First we consider references to persons, presenting overarching quantitative distributions as well as contextualized examples. We then highlight how gender is brought to the interactional surface and made relevant – to the speakers themselves and to the at-home audience – through the discursive dichotomization of women’s versus men’s soccer, with particular attention to the ways in which topicalization of gender-based differences can pave the way for the recreation of gender-based inequalities. Finally, we illustrate how gendering soccer reflects and transcends the game itself, invoking and reestablishing normative gender roles and expectations in and from society.

Author Biographies

  • Holly R. Cashman, University of New Hampshire

    Holly R. Cashman in an associate professor of Spanish and linguistics at the University of New Hampshire and a core faculty member of the Women’s Studies Program. Recent publications include an article on the discursive struggle over homophobic slurs in Multilingua and a chapter on language, identity and queer Latina/o social networks in the edited volume titled A Sociolinguistics of Diaspora: Latino Practices, Identities and Ideologies (2014). She is currently working on a critical sociolinguistic ethnography of queer Latina/o bilinguals in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • Chase Wesley Raymond, University of California, Los Angeles

    Chase Wesley Raymond is a teaching fellow in the Departments of Linguistics, Sociology, and Spanish and Portuguese at the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests lie at the intersection of language and (different facets of) social identity, in both ordinary and institutional talk. He recently published an interactional analysis of gender and sexuality in animated sitcom interaction in Discourse and Communication. Other recent and forthcoming publications include analyses of interpretermediated medical visits, in Research on Language and Social Interaction and Patient Education and Counseling.


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How to Cite

Cashman, H. R., & Raymond, C. W. (2014). Making gender relevant in Spanish-language sports broadcast discourse. Gender and Language, 8(3), 311-340.