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Fangirls vs. Sports Fans: What’s the Real Difference?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

With March madness coming to an end and the Era’s tour kicking off, it’s interesting to consider the differences in prejudice towards basketball fans and Taylor Swift fans. Both of the groups include a diverse fan base, though the biggest contrast is that NCAA fans are majority men and Swifties are majority women. While March madness also includes a women’s tournament, almost all of the broadcasting is focused on the men’s tournament, which is the first indicator of sexism within the tournament. 

This year was the second year that I participated in a bracket for the men’s tournament, and I was kind of  surprised to find out that I really enjoyed it. Although I chose my teams based off of the schools my friends go to, I actually managed to remain in the top four standings of my group. It was really exciting to have a team to support throughout the games, and I was starting to understand why some people get so into sports. 

In contrast, I am a massive Taylor Swift fan. I spent almost eight hours fighting for my life in the TicketMaster queue in order to score tickets for the Era’s tour. This will be my fourth Taylor Swift show, and I cannot wait. I have been closely watching the set lists for what the mystery song might be for my show, and I think that it is safe to say that the passion I feel for Taylor Swift is the same kind of passion people feel for basketball, just with a different focus. 

I find that more often than not Taylor Swift fans are seen from a negative point of view. When I told people how long I spent on my dorm room floor waiting to buy Taylor Swift tickets, I was met with looks of shame and words of pity. But Taylor Swift means the world to me, and she is an incredibly powerful woman that I have looked up to my entire life. Taylor Swift was there for me through my darkest moments, and she is somehow able to put all of my inexplicable thoughts into words, which makes me realize that I am not alone. I would wait however long it takes to be able to see her sing the songs that mean so much to me with a crowd that I am able to feel so safe in. 

Whenever I begin to express how much she means to me, people look at me like I am delusional. Especially when talking to men, it is clear that their opinions on Taylor Swift are deeply rooted in sexism. Some of the most common responses are “she only sings about breakups” or “hasn’t she dated like every male celebrity?” Everytime I hear one of these my blood begins to boil, and it makes me frustrated that this is such a common idea that people hold about one of the most powerful and important people in the world to me. 

Through my March madness experience, I saw that people feel the same way about some of the sports teams they support. However, the attitude towards sports fans is worlds different than the attitude towards Swifties. While screaming lyrics at a Era’s concert tour is seen as being a crazy fan girl who needs help, screaming at a TV over a basketball game is seen as being a passionate and resilient fan. There is an upsetting contrast between what constitutes being a fan of something versus being too over the top or obnoxious, and in many instances the contrast is supported by blatant sexism, which was exceedingly prevalent this March. 

Reilly Burton

Denison '26

Reilly is a sophomore at Denison University studying communication and international studies. She is the social media/outreach coordinator for Her Campus Denison and is involved with various other organizations on campus. She loves to be creative, ski, read, and hang out with the people she loves.