Media are often criticized for their portrayal of women's sports and female athletes. But athletes now have direct access to their public and potential fans through social media, which give them a chance to frame themselves the way they wish. This study is a quantitative content analysis of athletes' Twitter profiles. Four elements of athletes' profiles were coded and analyzed: profile, cover, and background pictures, and biographies.
Findings show that, through Twitter, female athletes simultaneously preserve and counter the traditional gender roles and masculine hegemony in sports found in traditional media. Indeed, they overwhelmingly present themselves as athletes through their biographies by stressing their athletic careers in them. However, visually speaking, women tend to highlight their femininity by favoring professional photographs rather than pictures in a sports context (either action shots or passive ones), while the opposite is true for male athletes.