Anyone who has ever spoken to me for more than five minutes could probably tell you that I have a love affair with the NFL. It started when I was in elementary school, when I would watch football with my dad every Sunday. I didn’t really understand the intricacies of the sport until high school, but my fandom was born way before that. Over the years, I have cataloged infinite bizarre and mundane facts and stats in my head, mainly regarding the Philadelphia Eagles.
I spend most of my time watching NFL Network, trolling twitter for current updates, and obviously watching games. However, my passion comes with a price. Due to the strange and bewildering fact that I happen to be a girl who like football, guys tend to give me a lot of shit. Compiled below are eight lovely things guys have said to me, typically on more than one occasion, in regards to me being a female football fan.
1. “How do YOU know so much about football?!”
Excuse me, how do YOU know anything about football? I am a person, just like you, who likely became interested in the sport in a very similar way to yourself. Please spare me the backhanded ‘compliment’ and treat me as an equal, thank you.
2. “You only like football because your boyfriend did right?”
This one kills me. My boyfriend liked football. My boyfriend taught me a lot about football. But I watched football before I even liked boys! And even if my boyfriend HAD gotten me into football, what’s it to you? Why does the way in which someone discovers a passion have anything to do with his or her devotion to and knowledge of said hobby?
3. “Did your dad teach you about football? Or your brother?”
On a similar note, this one is just kind of funny. Turns out yes, I started watching football with my dad. Did you just happen to turn on the TV when you were two and have football knowledge seep into brain? Did you come out of the womb rattling off statistics? And why are you asking about my dad? Maybe it was my mom who started watching football with me. And for the record, I have taught my little brother everything he knows about sports. And he’ll admit it.
4. “Women shouldn’t talk about sports.”
This comment fueled my desire to write this. I get it. People make jokes. Ha. Ha. Ha. But when someone literally tells you that you cannot do something that you love, something that you know you’re good at, because of your gender, you HAVE to at least say something. Honestly I don’t care that it was a joke. It means that somebody heard what I had to say about football, recognized that I was female, and make a ‘woman’ joke at my expense. Feminism is about equality. How many ‘man’ jokes do you hear? How many times do you hear people joke to a man about ‘getting back in the kitchen’? I’m being mocked because I’m not equal to you for whatever reason, and honestly, it sucks.
5. “Guys must love you!”
This one makes me laugh. All my girlfriends constantly tell me that I must get hit on all the time, that guys must think it’s so hot that I know a lot about football. HA! Guys are typically uninterested in girls who watch sports. This has been my experience, and that of a few friends as well.
Guys are either 1. Intimidated by a girl who knows more than them about a team or a sport, 2. Under the impression that we’re ‘faking’ it and pretending to know about sports to hit on a guy, or 3. Appalled by the grotesque screaming, beer drinking, and bottle throwing that happens when we watch games. I can’t speak for all men, but when it comes to most of the guys I know, they are very uninterested in a female sports fanatic.
6. “Will you grab me something to eat, the game’s on”
Are you kidding me??? The amount of times I’ve been asked to fetch a snack for one of my male peers is absurd. Do you not see me on the edge of the couch, in my Reggie White jersey, biting my nails and screaming my face off? Do you REALLY think I’m not paying attention? Idiots.
7. “She knows a lot, for a girl”
Guy friends introduce me to other guys like this ALL OF THE TIME. It’s never, “She knows a lot about football”. They always have to point out that fact that I’m somehow different than they are, that there is no way I could share the plethora of sports knowledge that’s lodged into their brains. This is actually so offensive and when I think about it for a while I get really angry. Again, I’m you’re equal, and me being female has absolutely nothing to do with the knowledge of anything that I may or may not have.
8. “You don’t strike me as the type of person who would watch sports”
Is this because I love shopping, painting my nails, wearing makeup, watching the Kardashians, and instagramming everything I eat? Our society has given almost every activity a gender, and I happen to enjoy many of those that have been labeled female. I also like going to football games, watching NFL Network and ESPN, reading Sports Illustrated, and going to sports bars. These things have all been labeled male.
Due to the combo of interests I possess, many don’t believe that I am the ‘type of person’ who would watch a football game. Can we all do a bit of good for society and stop expecting people to fit into any type of mold? Gender is a social construct, and I’m tired of having something that is so beloved and special to me, one of my greatest passions, attacked solely on the basis of me being female.