Women, Men, Sports: Battles of the Sexes…or Sexist?

Posted: May 26, 2011 by The Cheap Seat Fan in Lost and Found Sports, Uncategorized
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After the game 4 of the Bulls/Heat series this week I had a convo after the game that was typical of hundreds of other post-game wraps I’ve had. It was about where the Bulls came up short, in what part of the game it happened, how Derrick Rose can still improve and how LeBron James is playing much better this postseason compared to others. Solid overall talk from start to finish. However, then I realized who I was talking to, and it blew me back. I glanced down at my phone and saw for the last 30+ minutes, it wasn’t one of my friends, ex-teammates or Father even. It was my girlfriend…and she was passionately deep into the whole scenario about the game (I mean I didn’t have room to talk for at least 15 straight minutes). This was crazy to me, as I had never had such a conversation about that with a woman who is basically oblivious to all other sports. This was a real fan of this sport.

I mean....really, this can't be where we're at still.

However, the conversation didn’t just revolve around the game, rather it also went deep into how she constantly had to deal with men who automatically disqualified her opinion on repeat based on the fact she wasn’t born with the usual genitalia that decrees someone a sports fan. This angered her even more, and took my mind to that same fact that I’ve seen many women state over and over again: that their sports knowledge is often disqualified on the basis of them just being what God decided they would be. I find this interesting, and there are a few general assumptions that are an automatic fail when used to address the ladies and the game. Guys, you may not like this one, but here in CHEAP.SEATS, I’m about the game. I really don’t care who watches/comments on it (and I DEFINITELY don’t discriminate when it comes to who clicks on this fledging site of my opinions either).

Let me clear a few thing up right now.

1. THE GROUPIE VIEW: Many women are automatically seen as only watching the game to “scout the field” or to see what guy they can potentially dig into. I’m not going to say this never happens, but I will say this clearly isn’t the case for all. To say that all women who watch sports are doing it to score a meal ticket or “salvation” is ridiculous. If you’ve been to college or ever really been around professional athletes you know that the dedicated groupie is NOT sitting on Twitter every night commenting on points, touchdowns or drafts. She’s AT those events to snag them, and usually has a seriously remedial knowledge of what’s really happening on the floor (yet an extensive one about what is earned and what it can buy), let alone follows a team. I challenge you to go out and stand within 10 yards of any pro athlete, regardless of his ability, and see what’s going on. Theres a difference.

2. THE EYE CANDY VIEW: In a bit of a branch off from point #1, there is also an assumption that women only watch to see who’s cute or whatever on the field. This is not only a fallacy, but also features hints of jealousy and lack of a grip in reality. Look at it this way, even if you just like music, you’re going to notice how fine Beyonce is. Whether you know anything about her albums, life or anything else, you will notice this, admire it, and most likely do what it takes to see her again. If you like women (and really mean it), it’s natural.

Same goes for women watching the game. This shouldn’t be a newsflash, but WOMEN LIKE MEN WHO LOOK GOOD TO THEM, and they will comment on this. Just like you do with Beyonce. So if they are watching a sport and see something of that sort, they most likely wont cut corners on, so don’t be jealous it’s not you. Doesn’t mean they want to (or a least actually would) jump on them all like a free steak just cause they walked down the same street.

(Also, I’ve never been one to care about every guy a girl finds attractive and feel like he’s a threat to me and my chances either. But I’ll be damned if that’s not what I think every time I see a guy go on a tyrant about a girl “choosing” an athlete just for the fact that’s what he is. Have some confidence lads, they really dig it.)

And finally….3. THE SEXISM VIEW: I’m going to bring all of this back home to where it starts at, in outright sexism. To say that a woman doesn’t know sports just because she’s a woman is ridiculous. If she has an understanding of the game, watches it often and participates in conversations about what she thinks on it, she is just as qualified as any man. As a matter of fact, I prefer the casual woman viewer, because she doesn’t cut corners or paint a picture like she is a default guru. She’s just watching to watch, which is fine. But many, many men have delusions of grandeur of being sports gurus by default just because they watch a lot.

Well here’s news to you: most of you don’t know anything either. There are very, very few guys that know as much as they think they do about the game, and often get the definition of facts and opinions brutally confused, yet will contend they are God’s Law to anybody (especially a woman) who contests them. I can completely accept anybody who doesn’t know as much me about any game, but I can’t accept that same person turning back on a woman who legitimately knows more than him and shunning her just because she has breasts. Nope, can’t do it. There is no automatic license to know the game based on sex, and just because you played  ball in high school, got some tick on varsity and then stayed in the Rec in college non-stop to become serviceable in the sport, you are NOT an experienced genius in the game worthy of disqualifying opinions that don’t have your same “legendary” experience in the sport. (FYI: This last scenario is what most of us are anyway, because face it, if we were really good, we’d be getting paid for playing now. And you know it.) 

In the end, I saw play it cool. Take everybody based on their knowledge instead of whether they carry a purse or not. I can only think of a few scenarios in life where women don’t exactly fit in, and watching the game isn’t one of them. You could bring an entire new dimension to a relationship, or even spark one up, over a common knowledge of game you didn’t even consider her knowing about. Don’t automatically assume “she” doesn’t get it just because, she may teach you something whether you like it or not.

For a follow where all comers of real opinion are welcomed, follow me on Twitter at @CheapSeatFan

  1. Oates says:

    Insensitive Comment of the Day:

    I disqualify an opinion of anyone that doesnt know what they are talking about. I dont mind it being contrary to mine but if its just ridiculous or remedial then I wont prepare for Mortal Kombat (*War cry*)

    With that being said….I do find a large number of chicks that arent up on their sports game which is fine. I dont hold it against them but I wont listen to hibbamahoo just for the sake of entertaining it.

    There are some chicks that do know what they are talking about & the “he looks good” comments dont bother me…but unlike the Beyonce videos….Sports is watched in HD (Man Law paragraph. 2.13.42) and her drawing attention to a guy’s ass or “package” that previously would have gone unnoticed, will result in banishment to the other TV.

    • idokick says:

      Same thought here Oates. I need not hear about peoples packages as I try to enjoy the 100 meter dash or watch a game winning touchdown.

  2. J Danielle says:

    Well I think the commenters above alluded to this: Men own sports and that’s the bottom line. You gotta talk about it the way they want to or don’t talk at all.

    I wrote on this issue for my own site and for Jezebel.com http://playerperspective.com/?p=454

    New angle: I wish women wouldn’t look to be accepted for their sports knowledge. If a man doesn’t respect a woman’s opinion on sports, they simply shouldn’t discuss that topic with one another. On the flip side, if you’re a man and you believe women know less about sports, don’t engage with any woman on sports topics. I personally do not want to talk to anyone who doesn’t respect my opinion. Save me some time by leaving me alone. That applies to any topic.

  3. Good points from all, however we are the more open minded of it. I in general don’t expect any casual fan to have the overall knowledge I work to obtain simply because of that: I work constantly to obtain and grow it.

    I wrote this after hearing many less open-minded commenter that went against a number of women (with my woman being the sample I’ve discussed it the most with) increasingly over the stretch of these NBA Playoffs, and they are talked down on in a way guys don’t do to other guys. It’s a clear issue of the narrative being out of whack, and these are the most prevalent points that I see about it. However many more have been raised in the wake of this article that I had no idea about.

    It’s real out here for the genuine female fan.

  4. Dani T says:

    Very interesting article here Matt. My two cents are that even though I’m not into sports I know how to enjoy them and I understand the decorum of game watching. This all stems from the fact that my father had no sons so if I wanted to eat game day snacks I had to sit and watch the game. This taught me an overall patience and respect for most sports. I don’t claim to be a sports authority, but I appreciate my guy friends for their open-mindedness to include me in sports nights just like they appreciate me for not going overboard with “chick questions” since I understand the game.

    I think it takes two to tango so both men and women have to be open-minded to enjoy the benefits of sports with the opposite sex 🙂

  5. Susan LaBrier says:

    I love baseball and don’t know all there is to know. But I do listen and try to learn from those who know more than I do. But when I’m talking among family members my opinions are heard and sometimes laughed at, but then I do some laughing as well. It’s family, right? But outside of this environment, I generally feel brushed off by guys who think they know more – and it hurts because I feel I missed the opportunity to learn something. And, seriously girls (not women) commenting on the “packages” of athletes – a lot talk – we’re wired differently. Matt’s comments on Beyonce are spot on. Personally, I’d rather be with a real live man – my husband. Thanks, Matt!

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