Fellow Female Sports Fans: Calm Down.

Dear Inez Sains: You are why some men don’t take women who enjoy sports seriously. Stop dressing like Charro.

Nothing drives me more nuts than people complaining about how people perceive them based on things that they can’t change, like gender or race. It’s always been my experience (and as an educator, I have more in this field that I really want) of people defaulting to things such as that to take blame for why people don’t care for them. It’s a lot easier to blame folks for disliking you for reasons outside of your control than it is to take responsibility for your actions and change what you do. Women pull this stunt. “Oh, I didn’t get a promotion because I’m a woman!” Ok, yes, that does happen sometimes, maybe – but what about your job performance? Do you talk about people cattily behind their backs? Does your boss like you? Are you a decent employee? Answer those questions first before you start stating people passed you up for a promotion because you’re a woman. 

Also, guys don’t say inappropriate things to women just because women have ovum.  Guys do it when you walk into a locker room dressed like you bought your gameday wear at Charlotte Russe. You embarrass women who actually love the sport, and they shy away from working in the field of journalism and sportscasting because they don’t want to get lumped in with you. I’m not saying that all men who say stuff to women are justified or egged on by the women themselves, nor am I saying that lady sportscasters are fluff – I think Erin Andrews proves both of those assumptions wrong. But honestly, if you further the stereotype of the sideline reporter who is out there overdressed and asking inane questions, you’re doing women a disservice.

Women who get upset at men without taking this into consideration confuse me. They hold the guys up to a mirror that they refuse to hold up to themselves, and that’s what J Danielle does here in her Op/Ed, “Female Sports Fans And The Men Who Judge Them.” I’ve never noticed a ”haze of male exclusivity” surrounding sports aside from the one that women perceive to be there. I’ve never been told to get out of Turner Field or Busch Stadium or Philips Arena because I’m a woman. This isn’t ancient Byzantium, where “respectable women” didn’t attend sporting events. We’re allowed to watch, and by watching we’re allowed to form our own opinions and share them as much as the guys are.

J Danielle cites an article by Hampton Stevens titled “Can Men And Women Watch Sports Together,” and cites this paragraph as one that she takes issue with:

If guys have an inherent wariness about female sports fans, much of it comes from our fear of screwing up and hurting your feelings. It has very little to do with how much you spent on playoff tickets or how good you are at Celtics trivia. Truly. It’s because we know that having a woman around-even if you promise otherwise-usually means we have to be careful about what we say. What fun is that?As for women who pretend to like sports to meet athletes, avoiding that label is easy. Don’t wear heels to a ballpark. Kidding!

Honestly, he’s not saying that because they resent “having to be careful” around women. He’s saying that because he thinks women expect men to be “gentlemen” who aren’t offensive. Women have perpetuated that stereotype, not men, and honestly – if a guy is extremely uncouth around a lady, most women get upset because of that stereotype. Can you blame guys for initially walking on eggshells until they know what they can or cannot say around a woman? Stevens doesn’t say a thing about worrying that women will ruin the game watching experience.

And frankly, yes, I have corrected guys on sports trivia and hockey facts. And no, they don’t cry. They usually appreciate it and it starts a conversation. But then again, I don’t do it like a bitch, so they have no reason to get upset. Sometimes it’s in the delivery.

Also viable is Stevens’ point about not liking it when women introduce sexiness of players into conversation. Honestly, if you’re talking to a guy and you do that, your credibility does go out the window. Why? It’s not because you’re not “allowed” to objectify the players, but because by talking about how hot someone’s ass looks in football pants you’re conjuring up images of the know-nothing sideline reporters, and you’re probably killing the guy’s buzz. And no, not by making them feel inadequate that sports stars get more than they do, as J Danielle claims.

Wait… guy’s buzz? Yep. Most guys that I know find it attractive that a woman can hold their own in discussions regarding sports without being a drooling idiot. And no, expecting women to not drool over guys while men drool over ice girls isn’t hypocritical. Ice girls are there for that reason. Yes, they cheer the team on, and yeah, sometimes they clean up the ice, but the dudes in windsuits that other teams have do the same thing. Don’t kid yourself by getting upset at men who look at the girls with the shovel who can’t bend over while you’re oogling Ondrej Pavelec. It’s different.

Also, guys respond to sex. It’s biological and psychological that it gets their attention more than it gets a woman’s, hense all of the photos and ice girls and the like. Women’s brains don’t respond the same way as mens’ do. Sorry, but it’s true. If evolutionary psychology offends you, I really don’t know what to say.

The funniest thing, though, is this paragraph:

I do see stadium behavior as an issue for women. Some of these big drunk adrenaline-driven men in the stands are scary. I don’t even like to go to the bathroom or to concessions alone when I attend games and I ain’t no shrinking violet!

What? I go to Thrashers games BY MYSELF. Nothing scares me about anyone in the stands, except for the occasional female Flyers fan. That’s possibly one of the most ignorant things I have ever heard. You’re complaining about how men won’t accept women sports fans, and then you complain about being scared of some drunk dude with a piece of cheese on his head in the stands? Really? 

On a general note, I think that the way some men treat women sports fans is a broader metaphor for how women are treated in society. If a man believes something is inherently male, then he doesn’t feel compelled to take a woman seriously unless she jumps through whatever hoops he puts up. 

 Honestly, I wonder if she lives in a developed country. Hoops that are put up for people to jump through are largely a matter of perception, and 95% of them don’t exist. The 5% of them that do are placed there by a vast minority of people, whether you’re looking for society as a whole or sports fandom. If you keep crying about a tiny aspect of something, you’re not drawing positive attention to yourself, and that’s what women who complain about a small fraction of male sports fans do. You want to make guys dislike you? Cry about made up things and go off and pout, and when they ask you what’s wrong, just say “nothing.”

You know, live up to the ladies’ version of a negative stereotype since you’re so quick to stick men with one. 

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.