Even in today’s modern society, as gender roles are becoming more fluid, watching sports is still widely considered a male pastime. A 2015 Saturday Night Live sketch fake-advertised a “Super Bowl Activity Pack for Women,” featuring childlike activities for women to do (in the kitchen, of course) while the men in their life watch the game. The sketch, while poking fun at the notion that watching sports is a male-only activity, did little to challenge it. It may come as a shock to some, but there are a good portion of women who genuinely enjoy watching sports, and are tired of being unrecognized as a legitimate part of sports fandom. Here are some of the most infuriating things for women who like sports to hear.
- “Do you even like that team/sport?” As someone who frequently reps her favorite teams – be it with a t-shirt, a sticker on my computer, or a baseball hat – I have consistently been asked to justify my allegiances. I frequently hear, “Do you even watch basketball?” or “Do you actually like the Dodgers?” My answer is always a frustrated yes. I don’t think people mean to offend me when they ask, but I can say with certainty that a man wearing a team’s logo would never be asked the questions that I am.
- “Does your boyfriend/dad/brother make you watch games with them?”Believe it or not, some women choose to watch sports on their own accord. We are not captive prisoners forced to watch the game by a domineering male counterpart. Watching sports is a great way to bond with guy friends, but I’m just as happy enjoying the game on my own. Also, watching the game with a group of girls can be the most fun of all.
- “Can you even name one player on the team?”Women should not have to prove themselves as “true sports fans.” Whether a woman can name the entire roster or doesn’t know one name truly doesn’t matter. Women shouldn’t have to worry about being tested on their sports knowledge. Being challenged to justify their fandom can cause women unnecessary anxiety and even embarrassment.
- “Do you want me to explain the rules to you?”This one can come off as thoughtful or condescending, depending on the situation. It’s usually condescending, though, as men assume that the female brain is incapable of generating enough power to understand the rules of football. Ladies, if you don’t know something, just ask. Guys will be more than happy to explain something to you, and likely appreciate that you asked. Men, don’t assume that women don’t know the rules. More often than not, if a girl claims to follow a sport, she understands the rules. It’s really not as complicated as y’all would like to think.
- “Girls are so annoying to watch sports with.”There’s nothing women hate more than being called annoying. Often, this comment follows a woman’s attempt to make small talk during the game. For many women, watching sports is a social event, and an opportunity to catch up with people you might not spend time with otherwise. If a woman is making an attempt to talk to you, don’t shut her down by calling her annoying or distracting. If she asks you a question about the game, it’s because she wants to learn, not because she’s trying to distract you.
- “Are you even paying attention?”Yes. Maybe I’m a little bit obsessed with checking Twitter, but I’m often looking at ESPN updates. And even if I’m not paying attention, it’s not your job to monitor me. If you’re a guy watching sports with a woman, do her a favor and let her watch the game on her own terms. If she wants to chat with her friends or update her Instagram, that’s her own choice, and should be none of your concern.
- “I can’t hang out, I’m watching the game with the guys.” This puts women in an awkward position, whether or not they wanted to watch the game with you. Often, if a woman does want to watch the game, they will have to invite themselves, causing them to feel uncomfortable and unwelcome. Even if a woman doesn’t have much of an interest in sports, this statement can be hurtful. It assumes (and often falsely) that someone wouldn’t want to watch sports solely based on their gender. Trust me, if a woman doesn’t want to join, she’ll tell you. More often than not, she would appreciate being included.
- “You probably just watch basketball/football/baseball because of the hot guys.”Nope, but seeing hot guys in tight pants is just an added bonus!