Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Discussing Female Sports Fans

A few weeks ago I posted an entry that largely criticized female sports fans which might have been a failure since it didn't take on the tone that I originally envisioned.  (Though a few female fans had good things to say about it so take that as you will.)  I stand by my criticisms, because I wasn't criticizing the female gender, merely actions that can more often than not be applied to the female gender.  I also pointed out that there are several wonderful female fans and thanked them for their contributions.  (More on them later.)

A few days ago, Buffalocentric called out male sports fans for being disrespectful to female sports fans.  I'm not sure what he (she?) saw that prompted the entry, but I honestly haven't seen very much disrespect on twitter or in the comments of a few of the female Buffalonians' blogs.  The worst of it, in all honesty, has probably come from myself.  My biggest criticisms have come against fans that root for several teams with apparent equal fervor, and that get too attached to players to the point of either being unable to criticize them, or referring to them as their babies (or the obnoxious twit-speak bbs), which isn't a bad thing per se, but it does look unprofessional.  But those are all things I have also, and will continue to criticize male fans for, and I try not to fall into the rut of pulling too hard for my guy (Vanek) even though I'm just a blogger, have no legitimacy, and thus have no reason not to.

I would note that I'm the only person to have pointed out that there could be fundamental differences in the way men and women approach sports, and that perhaps we need to recognize and accept that rather than badgering back and forth needlessly about respect or a lack thereof.  I think that both genders can achieve equality while still having a different approach to or view of something like sports.

I'm really torn on how to react to the assertion that there are too few women covering mainstream sports.  It's true and it isn't.  Yes, if you turn on ESPN, or Versus, or Fox Sports, you won't see many women.  But a big part of that is the fact that almost all of the popular sports are men's sports.  If you turn on softball, or gymnastics, or the WNBA, or women's hockey, you'll find a ton of female announcers.  (So maybe the men lobbing accusations are sexist in their sports viewing and should really be lobbying for women's sports to get a fair shake...because they definitely don't.)  It makes sense when you think about it, athletes tend to cover the sport they played.  I can see how women wouldn't want to cover the male version of their sport because they're so much more intimatele knowledgeable about the female version.  They know the game, the rules, the players, and they still have relationships with many of the people involved.  Like I said, it makes sense.

Back to the other side.  That there are too few reputable female sports personalities is an uncomfortable reality.  I'm not trying to hide this fact in the above paragraph, merely saying that the assertion that there aren't any female sports personalities is false.  But there definitely aren't any mainstream ones.  Part of the reason for this is that networks don't seek out women for talent, they look for a pretty face.  It's how hacks like Ines Sainz, Erin Andrews, and Jenn Sterger got jobs (and in the case of the latter, implants were a big factor too).  (Though Linda Cohn homing for the NYC area teams every chance she gets isn't helping either.)  Which is a bullshit double standard since anyone watching football coverage has had to deal with John Madden's bloated self, and Michael Strahan's garage sized gap in his teeth for years.

So what's the deal?  Is there a bottleneck of female talent waiting to burst onto the scene as TGR's Corey Griswold has suggested?  Are women being held back?  (Undoubtedly they are in some areas.)  Are they holding themselves back because of the harassment Sterger and Sainz have "endured?"  (I'm sure a few are.  And I put quotes around endured because I think if you're not going to conduct yourself like a professional, you don't deserve to be treated like one.  Not saying the Jets were justified in harassing them, saying that whoever let them even cover the Jets screwed up because they clearly did not take it seriously enough.)  I tend to agree with Corey that there is a burst coming.  Social changes come about at a maddeningly slow rate.  It took over a hundred years after the end of slavery to grant African Americans full voting rights.  I doubt that getting more women in the broadcast booth is going to take that long, but it is going to happen slower than we all would like.  Luckily I, and many Buffalonians suffer no lack of a strong female fan presence.

Even though I disagree with a lot of things Meg (hopefully posting names is alright with everyone) says, I like that she has a broad knowledge of the NHL.  I love the simplicity and honesty of Amanda's postgame recaps (the only recaps I read).  Caroline is unparalleled with a camera in my opinion, and tends to have pretty good info on individual players.  Kate has a snarkiness and sense of humor that everyone loves.  Heather has perhaps the most wide ranging skill in covering the many different aspects of Sabres hockey.  And Shelby is wickedly intelligent and agrees with most of the things I say which makes her number one in my book.  (She just needs to write more.)  (Apologies to those I've forgotten and haven't mentioned.)


  1. I appreciate your kind words, Alex. :) Hopefully I start writing more because I'd like to. I miss blogging, I just never have time anymore...

  2. Thanks for the shoutout Alex, I need to blog more m'self (I'm gonna try to get to it on Monday/Wed/Fri after my WGR internship, days when I'm actually not sleeping.) We butt heads a lot, but you are no slouch either...I may not give credit where credit is due...but you deserve some credit :) (and if I'm not the Meg you mentioned, I just made an ass outta m'self)