We all know sexism is alive and well, especially in relation to women and sports. We’re all aware women’s sports get less viewers and female athletes get less money, but we’re forgetting another facet of this sexist dilemma. Have you ever told a man that you liked a certain sport, then he proceeded to quiz you on it? If you haven’t, I have hope for the future. If you have, that’s exactly what I expected.
I’ve grown up watching hockey with my dad and brother. Hockey nights are a fond memory in my childhood. Over time, I’ve established favorite teams and players. I even have a few jerseys to match. Nearly every man who knows about my love for hockey believes they need to interrogate me on the subject. If I don’t know one player from some team I don’t even care about, then I am immediately discredited. It feels as though some men enjoy harassing women about their passions; they wait for us to fail their little quiz.
If I do answer all of their hockey questions correctly, they’re shocked. Their next assumption is that I learned all this material to talk to men. Somehow they believe watching hockey with my family for 20 years was all to please men. You can see my frustration, and I’m sure you’ve felt something similar whether with sports or something else.
The stereotypes regarding women and sports can’t seem to fade. Sports are reserved for masculine people. Society assumes the female commentator is simply a pretty face; she can’t possibly add anything substantial to the conversation. Meanwhile, society also assumes the cheerleader in the stands doesn’t actually care about the game she is cheering on. This patriarchy assumes that women like you and I only enjoy sports to appear interesting to men. As a result, it feels as though we can’t win. Men make fun of us when we don’t know anything about sports and when we do.
Of course this is not true for all men, but it is up to those who believe us to stand by us.