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BLOG | What it’s like to be a feminist in sports culture

I love sports. I watch all nine innings of a baseball game and only leave early when it’s absolutely necessary. I yell at the TV when things go wrong for my team and I go to pubs with sports fan friends I’ve met through the Internet.

In the AT&T press box during the San Francisco Giants' annual FanFest in 2011.
In the AT&T press box during the San Francisco Giants’ annual FanFest in 2011.

To say that I’m merely a fan of sports might be an understatement if you’ve ever seen me on campus wearing a baseball cap of a now-defunct team.

But being a cisfemale at a sports arena or a ballpark? I get my intelligence questioned.

On more than one occasion, I’ve been harassed just for being a female. When you’re in a crowd where patriarchy rules supreme, it doesn’t matter how much you know. You’re fair game for taunting just because of your biology.

Never mind the fact that I’ve been writing about sports on the Internet for over two years now.

Just a few of the samples I’ve gotten from those oh-so-masculine alpha male men:

“I don’t think it was necessary for [you] to write an entire post about how sexist [those bloggers] were. You’re just giving them more page views,” said a Twitter user after I wrote a post about how a San Francisco Giants blog was misogynistic.

“three words. baseball. sugar. daddy,” said another Twitter user after I had informed this person that I don’t have the funds I want to go to as many games as I would like to.

“I went to a Mills once. A community college in Sacramento,” said a person at AT&T Park, the Giants’ home ballpark, after I had informed this person who spent over ten minutes harassing me at AT&T Park that I attend Mills College.

To top it off, a person who was my friend at the time kept egging the harasser at AT&T Park on, to keep degrading my intelligence and my worth as a sports fan.

It’s no secret that in professional sports, masculinity is valued above almost all things. Athletes are put on a pedestal for all to adore and if they ever did anything wrong, it’s not their fault.

If you’re a female sports fan, it must be because you think an athlete is cute. If you’re a female sports fan, it must be because you’re dating one of the players.

What about the thousands of women who love sports because they love sports?

Wow, what a tough concept to wrap my head around.

I know I’m not the only female who has had experiences like these, which is a shame because there are a lot of talented lady journos who, quite frankly, know their stuff.

It’s not a gender thing — it’s a person thing. If you’re a female (whether self-identifying or cis) who loves sports, good for you. If you’re a self-identifying or cis male who doesn’t like sports? That’s totally cool! A person’s gender shouldn’t get in the way of hobbies or interests.

But the sports world — both the world for athletes and the world for fans — still has many a ways to go before every gender that’s not cismale is on an equal level as cismales.

Jen Mac Ramos is one of The Campanil‘s Online Editors. Find her stories online here and follow her on twitter at @jenmacramos. She has also been the Senior San Francisco Giants Reporter for Aerys Sports, the first all-female sports network, since 2011. You can find what she has to say about the Giants at Third Street Kings.