One by one each fan is filed through security screenings before they enter the arena, a typical sight before every game day. Then something unusual happens. After security has gone through a woman’s purse, they redirect her to a different line. They pass man after man and admit them into the stadium, but without missing a single female, they redirect them to this line; a line that funnels into a few rooms in the stadium’s concourse.
In these rooms, woman after woman files in then sits in a chair with a man asking her question after question. The man asks questions such as “Do you know the name of the starting tight end on your team’s 1975 roster when they won the playoffs against the Packers?” and sometimes simpler questions such as “What conference is your team in?”. The man asks about five questions and if the woman gets three wrong, she is then escorted out of the room and out of the stadium. The other lucky women who pass their screening are admitted into the arena.
Sounds surreal, right? I hope so. Women should never have to be quizzed about their team to be allowed to root for them. The irony is, however, that they are on a daily basis. Once a woman’s team preference is known, she better prepare for questions aimed at her like rotten tomatoes. Football is used as an example here, but in reality, women get interrogated about basically every sport. Some men have some sort of indigenous behavior to examine a woman’s knowledge of her sports team to decide whether or not she deserves the right to root for her team. This implies they are the experts and have the right to administer the test. This just in: just because you were born with balls doesn’t mean you have the authority. Women have to deal with conversations such as this from you ball-bearers daily:
-- ‘Oh you’re a (insert your team name here) fan?
Then tell me, how many rushing yards does (insert your team’s star running back name here) have this season?’
-- Oh, forgive me Your Football Majesty, I didn’t know I had to write the Wikipedia page on my team and every single one of their players to qualify as a fan. I will give up my right to love football.
This is an experience female fans (particularly football fans) know all too well. Whether their interviewers are drunk fantasy football gurus at a bar, know-it-all co-workers, or the overcompensating gym rats, the interrogation can come at any time, from anyone, anywhere. The worst case scenario is when the interview is issued by a female fan who has gotten caught up in the dick measuring contest and needs to prove her worth in front of her testosterone-laden friends (come on ladies, let’s stick together and not succumb to this wretched game).
Imagine if females really did give up their fandom every time they failed the test (given by the almighty experts). That would be an astounding 45% of NFL fans, 30% of NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, and NCAA fans diminished down to measely numbers. If you take those numbers a bit further to imagine the dollars spent on jerseys, tickets, and various paraphernalia, it is staggering; not just the money spent by women, but also the money spent for women. No league in their right mind would ostracize women. It would prove nearly fatal to their organization’s good name and revenue.
What would be even more fatal is sending every fan (regardless of gender) through that security screening. I guarantee you not every male knows the answer to every question. It seems silly to send women through an extra phase of security to be allowed into a game, but that is their reality for even watching a game with their male counterparts. If a woman tells you she likes a sports team, feel free to enlighten her on whether she has bad taste or has made a good choice, but do not send her through an interrogation to qualify her fandom.
You can follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Molly_TX.
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