Sports Aren’t Just for Men

In our societies, we are constantly being interpellated in to certain roles. These roles are various and depend on the situation. During lecture, we heard an example of a police officer hailing someone on the street and when they turn around, they are being interpellated. This past weekend, I noticed that I was being interpellated in to a gender role myself.

I have been in Chicago supporting the Chicago Cubs in the World Series. Every game day I go out to a bar, dressed from head to toe in Cubs apparel, to watch. My girl friends and I sit and focus all of our attention on the game. However, almost unsurprisingly, the bars are filled with men. There are very few women that go out to watch. As I sat at each bar, surrounded by these men, I realized I was being interpellated in to a feminine role.

The men would be loud and high five, but when my friends and I would do the same, we were looked at weird. It felt like because we’re women, we weren’t welcome to watch the game. Some men even stared and laughed at us for being nervous and holding each other when it got to the 9th inning. I felt uncomfortable being there, but stayed anyway because I was there for the Cubs.

In our society, there are stereotypes when it comes to women watching sports, such as, we only focus on the players’ looks, we don’t know enough about the sport or we act like we know what’s going on when we really don’t. This is just what most people, men in general, think women do. Our culture is teaching us that sports are just for men, not women. This is what is being taught to children from birth.

We are taught the same as adults. In Messner and Montez de Oca’s article, they talk about sports advertisements during the Super Bowl and Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.  In today’s ads, men are the men focus. The article focuses on beer and liquor ads that are directed towards men. In these ads, the men are losers or nerdy and the women, if they are shown, are every man’s fantasy. The main purpose of these ads is to say “you may not get the girl, but you can have a good time with your buddies”. Having these commercials air during the Super Bowl further pushes the expectations of gender roles of men and women when it comes to sports.

However, my friends and I completely go against these stereotypes. We love sports. We watch because we understand the game and genuinely enjoy it. Personally, I grew up watching sports and plan on going in to a sports based career. As a woman, this field is hard to break in to. Since we are taught that sports are for men, women are not taken as seriously. I currently have an internship with Fighting Illini Productions. Through this, I work behind the camera to put on live broadcasts of various sports at our University. I record, edit and distribute highlight videos as well. There aren’t as many women doing these jobs as there are men. Most people believe that women should be in front of the camera instead of behind it.

The article by Kearney talks about media and technology directed towards girls. In 2002, Mattel released their Barbie Video Camcorder which was marketed to young girls. It was pink and have Barbie stickers all over it. The camcorder had to be plugged in to the television in order to work and the instructions specifically said to only use with an adult. This camcorder was teaching young girls that they couldn’t leave the house, they had to play inside. It also taught them that they shouldn’t use technology. “Thus children have long been socialized to believe that ‘femininity is incompatible with technological competence’ and that ‘to feel technically competent is to feel manly’,” (Kearney 2010).

It makes me angry that society is telling me how to be/act. As a woman, I should take on a feminine role. I shouldn’t watch sports as intently as I do, it isn’t feminine enough. It is a masculine thing to do. I shouldn’t work in a sports based career, but if I do, I should be on camera instead of behind it. I think we should be able to do what we want and act how we want without backlash from society.

References:

Messner, Michael A., & Montez de Oca, Jeffrey. (2005). The male consumer as loser: Beer and liquor ads in mega sports media events. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(3), 1879-1909.

Kearney, Mary Celeste. (2010). Pink Technology: Mediamaking Gear for Girls. Camera Obscura 74.

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