Mila Kunis. Rihanna. Demi Lovato. Victoria Beckham. Queen Bey herself. What do all of these names have in common? They’re all beautiful, strong women who happen to be celebrities, yes. But, they also happen to be avid sports fans. If you grab any gossip magazine on the rack and open it up, you’ll see tons of these lovely ladies on the sidelines rocking heels that are perfectly coordinated with their team paraphernalia. So many women join them at every single game. So, why are we constantly being scrutinized by men?
According to nielson.com, women make up 35% of all sports spectators nationwide, and it continues to grow. Certainly, this is less than the fan base of men. But, does that mean those of us who are enthusiasts deserve less clout? (The answer is no.) Men, we add to the group of people who support your team. Think of the advantages! We’ll have your back the next time you’re getting heckled by the guy a few cubicles down. You should be thanking us, not criticizing us.
This leads me to my next and most important point: Let people be the kind of fan they want to be. Not everybody memorizes statistics and is up-to-date on the latest season. There are all kinds of reasons for why people get involved, men and women. As Alyssa Rosenberg of The Atlantic eloquently described it: “I think there’s a lingering perception that women who love sports are dilettantes, pursuing a game to please our boyfriends or throw ourselves into athletes’ paths.” We live in a world where a Google search of the term ‘female sports fans’ is immediately linked to ‘flashing’ and ‘sexy’. But fear not, boys. Help has arrived. In order for you to survive the incredibly troubling issue of “What is appropriate to say to my girl friends who like sports?”, I’ve included a list of things below that you should generally avoid:
- So, you watch it because the players are hot right?
- Can you name even one player on the team?
- Oh yeah? [Insert absurdly vague trivia question here]?
- Is it because your boyfriend likes that team?
- Let me explain how this sport works.
I could go on and on for ages about this subject, but I’ll try to keep it simple for everyone. Ladies, you are an important and valuable part of any sports fan base. Don’t let anyone make you feel stupid or unworthy for not answering every scrutinizing question he or she throws at you. Whether you’re seated on the home stands, on your couch, or not watching the game at all, be the fan you want to be.