Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Female fandom: Study says they don't like the pros

A study out of Canada about the gendered nature of fandom reveals that women are not huge fans of professional sports. Not a shocker despite the plethora of popular media accounts of women forming fan clubs and becoming the latest target demographic for fan apparel.
Some women just don't like professional sports, some go just for the social aspect, and some like sports other than professional sports. In other words, it's not that women don't like sports. Studies like these--or rather the way they are reported on--always worry me because of the generalizations that often manifest.
Otherwise I don't find the results startling in the least bit. I mean did anyone see the Cardinals game a few nights ago when that women got a beer spilled all over her? Who wants to pay (a lot) for that privilege?
I personally used to like professional hockey. But I stopped going to games and watching on television (for the most part) because it was just getting too violent. Too gratuitously violent. And the way the crowds cheered for fights made me crazy.
But I like collegiate hockey. And a lot of other sports. I still watch golf and tennis. In other words, I am a fan. But I think we also need to consider the definition of fan. Because it still is closely related to word of origin, I probably am not a fan of any sport. And the people who are fanatical about certain sports and teams--those people scare me.
And a note to the Ottawa Citizen (where I read the article), cheerleaders (who you picture next to the article despite no mention of cheerleaders) are not the ultimate fans. From what I hear and have witnessed, the majority of cheerleaders know very little about the game for which they cheer. (And a PS to the researchers, the presence of cheerleaders could be one of those deterrents for female fans.)

(h/t to ns at Out of Left Field for the story)


Anonymous said...

I used to be a huge MLB fan, but between the ridiculous Sons-of-Sam-Horn/Boston papers' constant ragging on female fans as fake fans just out to ogle the players, and my growing awareness that it's totally irrational that we treat "pro sports" as synonymous with "pro men's sports" I've switched all my sports lovin' to women's pro sports. Softball, football, soccer, whatever.

Lisa Creech Bledsoe said...

I'm so infuriated by the photo of the cheerleader that I had to blog about it ( I probably should have waited 24 hours before hitting the "publish" key, but I didn't.

Thanks for your write-up; all I could do was stutter angrily. I gave you a link so that people could click through to read what a cooler head than mine has to say...