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‘You can’t be what you can’t see’: Indigenous Australian sportswomen as powerful role models
It is generally agreed that sporting role models (SRM) can inspire behaviour and attitude. This paper explores the influence of three contemporary Indigenous Australian sportswomen, and in doing so, their role as SRMs for women and girls. By applying and extending Marianne Meier’s (2015) theoretical lens, the actions, voices and influences of the women are considered. Meier recognizes and describes nine functions of SRMs. The voices of the Indigenous female athletes are portrayed through a media analysis including the athletes’ own social media commentary alongside mainstream media over a four-year period from 2017 to 2021. Examining the Indigenous sportswomen’s SRM status enables a layered and deeper understanding of the unique platform provided by sport, which can serve to strengthen their voices and influence. Indigenous Australian sportswomen are constructed in complex and sometimes contradictory ways, at times portrayed as advocates, deviants, sporting ambassadors, and political activists.
Publication titleSport in Society
Department/SchoolSchool of Health Sciences
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
Rights statementCopyright 2022 Informa UK Limited