Women Who Watch Sports



Fierce Female Football Fans!

Do you know who the quarterback is on the Niners or did you catch the Sharks game last night? Do you have your March Madness bracket ready to go? You do? It shouldn’t be that surprising. However, when girls say that they watch sports, they are met with questioning glances or an FBI-style interrogation about every single stat in the game. It’s like as soon as someone identifies as a woman she can no longer know what football is, or she is not a true fan if she doesn’t have the average free throw percentage of every player in the NBA memorized.

A woman can be a fan of the sport and not be obsessed, and she can also be obsessed with the sport and not questioned. It isn’t a big deal. “Impressing our boyfriends” is definitely not the only reason we watch sports. That’s such a heteronormative and closed minded way of thinking. We watch sports for the same reason everyone does: we love the game.

Sophomore Daphne Chen has gone through the same struggle many women go through when they comment about sports in general. “Just because I watch the Warriors doesn’t mean I need to know every single statistic of theirs. I’m not a ‘bandwagoner’ just because I don’t know when the Warriors won their last championship other than 2015. Watching basketball is fun for me. Learning stats is not.”

Junior Brittany Gillingham watches soccer, and she has also been interrogated on her knowledge of the sport, just because she watched it. “I remember watching soccer with my brother’s soccer team. They would quiz me on every foul or rule that occurred during the game. Yes, I know what an offside is, thank you.”

This bias is also shown in the franchise merchandise sold by these sports leagues and teams. I don’t want a pink Raiders jersey or a Niners thong. I wish that the products were more like the authentic jerseys and sportswear that are worn by the athletes and sold to men. It would be nice to have jerseys that are fit to women, so I don’t have to borrow a jersey from my dad or a male friend that hangs off my body like a dress.

Even fantasy football is seeing a surge in female participants. According to the New York Times, women are signing up twice as fast as men to fantasy leagues. Still, women only make up 20% of all fantasy football players. Women who play in these leagues are extremely passionate about their teams, but are still accused of not knowing the sport, only playing for their boyfriends, or picking players based on how attractive they are. I myself have had a fantasy team in a league with my friends, and I think it was an extremely fun experience that people of any sex can enjoy.

Also, just because someone doesn’t watch football, enjoying figure skating or gymnastics isn’t any different. No sport is better than the other, and athletics should not be classified as more feminine or masculine. I think it’s high time we ditch all the unnecessary hang-ups we have about sports in general and show some respect to the athletes who play them as well as the fans who support them.