Sunday, July 01, 2007

Look at all those female fans...

...who aren't watching women's sports., a website for the female fan reports on a new study that found the number of American women who consider themselves fans--sometimes "avid" fans--of professional sports (and they mean men's sports) growing. But the bemoans the fact that sports franchises and sports media fail to acknowledge the female sports fan or to know what she wants (because, the author assumes, the female fan must innately want something different). I have problems with the all women are inherently different argument, but I agree that most sport media ignore women because they can't figure out how to talk to them.

She makes a good point when she critiques magazine marketing. One can walk into any bookstore and find any number of publications about sports--some very specific. But in the "women's" section there are mags about marriage and fashion and homemaking.

Unfortunately the author inadvertently raises a point that actually throws a wrench in her own argument. At the start she rhetorically asks what happened to Sports Illustrated for Women. It's another argument that media don't know how to talk to women about sports. But SIW was about women's sports. And that was the problem. All these 50 million female fans are following men's sports. They fall into the same ideological trappings; that men play the sport the way it should be played and that women play a lesser, and thus unworthy, version.

It's not surprising that sport franchises and media don't market to women adequately. Those in control are men who have always thought that women--as athletes or as fans--themselves are inherently different and not worth their attention or energies.

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