Earlier this month, Men’s Health Magazine took us back a few decades with its article “The Secret to Talking Sports With Any Woman.” The article, which has since been deleted, suggested that a woman couldn’t possibly care about sports because there are no storylines to follow and that they simply “just don’t care about stats.”
It didn’t take long for social media users to attack the magazine, causing a major stir and invoking the need for some serious damage control, and I can see why.
Assuming that women need to be emotionally invested in something to take an interest in it is stereotypical, misogynistic and quite frankly, a load of crap.
According to BuzzFeed, one in three sports fans are women. I’ve been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and trust me, it has nothing to do with any players’ wife, kids or how good his butt looks in football pants.
Sports have always been a part of my life, whether I was playing, attending games or spending Sunday in front of the TV.
Yes, I can spot a false start before the ref throws the flag and no, I don’t fill out my March Madness bracket based on mascot or jersey color.
I, like anyone else, am perfectly capable of understanding the concepts behind sports and actually enjoying them. Regardless of my gender, I can root for my teams and talk trash, and I should be able to do so without being quizzed on the team’s history or naming five players from the starting roster.
It’s no secret that there’s a division between men and women in society, but where do we draw the line? It’s bad enough that women barely have a say in their own reproductive rights and make a mere 77 cents per every man’s dollar; now we’re being told what activities we do and do not like.
It wasn’t until 1920 that women began to have a say in anything regarding their own lives by gaining the right to vote, but other things such as participating in higher education, having a job or choosing whether or not to have children?
Forget it. While the women’s rights movement has progressed since then, articles like “The Secret to Talking Sports With Any Woman” are prime examples of how women are still seen as inferior and unable to take part in “male activities.”
Accepting women as serious sports fans is a step in the right direction toward gender equality, because believe it or not, women are people too.
Men shouldn’t feel intimidated by a woman who is knowledgeable about sports, and should instead appreciate the fact that they can watch a game with their female friends without having to think twice about it.
Ashleigh Balsamo is a junior at JMU in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Her major is media arts and design with a concentration in journalism, minoring in women and gender studies.
Ashleigh loves writing and design and was editor of her high school yearbook and literary arts magazine. She is currently a contributing writer for JMU’s newspaper, ‘The Breeze’ and student-run magazine, ‘Port & Main.’