Football season is finally upon us, and everything’s right in the world again. This week, millions of women all over the country are prepping their game faces and setting their fantasy line-ups, and we’re ready for another five months of wings, beer, and sweet, sweet competition.
As a kid, I grew up watching the Green Bay Packers every week with my dad and my Wisconsin-born grandfather. Now, as an adult, I keep the cheesehead held high and obsess about football from pre-season to post.
But, there are downsides to being an NFL-loving lady. People see football as “manly,” and they make assumptions about your motivations for watching the game. Women are rarely given the fan cred we’ve so totally earned, and it can be frustrating to constantly have to defend your love of the game. Here, 9 struggles female football fanatics find annoying AF.
1. You want a new jersey, but fucking everything is pink.
There’s nothing wrong with being girly and loving sports, but does everything made for women really need to be bright pink and bedazzled? Last time I checked, my Aaron Rodgers jersey was just fine without glitter, and I can find better ways to express my #TeamPride than by wearing a frilly magenta thong with a rhinestone NFL logo.
2. The dude-bro from your fantasy league keeps giving you quizzes.
At some point in every female fan’s life, a dude will hear you talking about your team and say something like, “Oh, you like the Colts? Well, can you list the leading rushers in the entire NFL for the past three decades in alphabetical order while doing a handstand?” And, you won’t know the answer, because most people don’t know that answer. They’re just trying to prove you’re not a “true” fan because you’re a woman, and that’s bullshit.
3. People think you love the players, not the game.
Yes, J.J. Watt is bae forever, but that’s not why we pay for the NFL Network. Hot dudes (if you’re even into dudes, that is) are just a bonus. They’re not the reason women watch, and they’re certainly not why we love our team. Now, stop distracting us with dumb questions while the game is on.
4. Mansplainers assume you don’t know a running back from a wide receiver.
Never mind that you’ve been watching football since you were two years old. There will always be some random guy trying to explain pass interference (not that you asked) or acting like you don’t know what a first down is. You could tell them you don’t need the help, but they’d probably just come back with more random stat quizzes, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
5. Dudes treat sports bars like singles’ night.
We’ve all been there: You roll up to your favorite sports bar after work, ready to catch the latest Thursday night game and unwind in peace, when lo and behold, some asshole keeps pestering you to let him buy you a drink. In case you missed the memo, we’re not here for you, thirsty boys. We’re here to watch Seattle embarrass Miami.
6. Sometimes you’re torn between your team and your squad.
Some people really hate watching football, and that’s totally fine, except when you make plans with your ball-hating bestie and then the Pats go into overtime. Do you ignore your friends to watch the game? Do you live in suspense? It’s one of life’s biggest questions — and also the reason you’ve been in the bathroom for 35 minutes, because you’re totally watching the game on your phone.
7. Your lifelong devotion gets treated like a phase.
You’ve always been into sports, but everyone acts like it’s just a habit you picked up from your new fling or because you’re trying to impress a boy. It’s assumed that men are born with an inherent love for the game, and women randomly decide to like it so they can score cool points. Neither one is true, and most women are ready to punt the next person who asks you if we like Baltimore because of a boyfriend.
8. You never get props for your spot-on analysis.
Got a hot take on #Deflategate? Think it’s bullshit there was a flag on that play? Yeah, well, unless you identify as a dude or look like Erin Andrews, no one seems to give a fuck. It’s hard to get respect as a female fan. You know just as much, if not more, than any other football fan, but most people assume your smart commentary is beginner’s luck or a soundbite you borrowed from ESPN.
9. Sports blogs, radio, and websites are not safe spaces for women.
If you ever want to see toxic masculinity in action, just check out your local sports talk radio station. Most sports media assume only straight white dudes are paying attention, so they have no problem objectifying women and treating us like complete idiots. And, they usually encourage similar behavior from their fans. Male sports fan can be downright hostile to women, especially online. Ladies might have a love for the game, but often it feels like the game does not love us back.