Unfortunately, every year when the NFL season kicks off I’m subjected to a barrage of sexist comments from men who consider sports to be "male territory." But even worse are the men who make jokes about female sports fans simply as an attempt to fit in with their ignorant brethren. Normally that kind of stuff gets me all riled up, but this year, my haters are no longer my motivators. I’ve had enough.
I first noticed my newfound indifference when right before the season started, Alabama News (AL.com) published an article that started out with the sentence “Football can be a confusing and often vexing concept, especially for women ” [emphasis added]. The article went on to say that if women can’t understand the game, they can at least throw a good party. To editors at AL.com this was deemed a proper lead-in for game-appropriate recipes ladies should make, presumably for the men they wait on hand and foot when they’re not busy birthin’ dem babies.
AL.com later apologized and took out the part that specifically referred to women, but that’s not really the point. When I read the article, I got the sense that the food writer who penned it took that approach in his lead not because he believes what he wrote, but because it has long been a typical way to talk about the subject. But the truth is, women hold so much power in sports as executives, athletes and fans, that that kind of thinking isn’t even popular anymore. Time passed that writer by and H.E.O.E.N.O. The tone was so out of touch that I couldn’t even bring myself to get upset.
I also let out a big yawn when comedian Kevin Hart recycled the same tweet he writes every single football season in which he refers to NFL kickoff as “National Shut the Hell Up Day” for women. Nor did I get upset when just a few hours later, The Daily Show's Travon Free tweeted something similarly wack and cringe-worthy.
I’m not sure how two men who claim to be professionals at making folks laugh were so desperate for retweets that they fell back on such trite material. But I can’t let struggle comedy take me off the deep end, especially since the level of corniness in those tweets was higher than my blood pressure during 76ers games. In the past I’ve responded to these kinds of ridiculous trolls by writing columns with stats on the number of women involved in fantasy football or how we’re making up increasing numbers of sports fan bases. Now, I simply cannot be bothered. Women who love sports are as common as flies on fruit. Get over it.
To be clear, I’m not saying women shouldn’t slap these guys down whenever they rear their ugly heads. In fact, many of the tweets in response to Kevin Hart were both informative and hilarious. But we must also realize that any man with a lick of sense already knows female sports fans aren’t second class citizens. And the ones who don’t aren’t fit to fix me a sandwich while I watch the game.
Jessica Danielle is a professional sportswriter and blogger who covers sports with wit and ardor at Playerperspective.com.