Heard on Campus: Marie Hardin on the role of sports in society

"The primary role of sports in society is to reinforce gender roles and ideals.  We are being educated about gender roles as we watch sports; what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man."

--Marie Hardin, associate director for research in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism at Penn State. Hardin led an engaging discussion about the way female athletes are portrayed by the media, providing compelling examples from Sports Illustrated, ESPN the magazine, and other major media outlets during a Research Unplugged discussion with community members on March 24. Hardin also noted that "the business model for sports is headed towards a cliff. It's not sustainable."

Research Unplugged is an informal lecture series hosted by Penn State's Office of Research Publications and held at noon Wednesdays in Penn State's Downtown Theatre Center. The afternoon begins with a brief introduction of the topic, followed by an open floor for questions, comments and discussion. The event is free to the public. Complimentary coffee and light refreshments are served. For information, visit

Marie Hardin discusses how female athletes are portrayed by the media. Credit: Laura Stocker Waldhier / Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated June 02, 2021