Seeing RED: Stop Patronizing Female Sports Fans

I’m about to go off on a rant, friends. Brace yourselves.

Last year, UConn introduced Pink Helmets for the Ladies Football Night (or whatever), ostensibly to get the fans with girl parts to support the team. Cosmos and pink shirts and happy hour, oh my! It was dumb last year, and it was dumb again this year, but UConn at least let people with vaginas run around and do drills and what have you. Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced the RED Women’s Movement, and I just… I can’t… It hurts so much.

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The RED people promise to show the ladyfolks “how to maximize their gameday experience; how to blend personal Buccaneer pride with the latest NFL fashions; as well as tips on sharing their experiences and ideas via social media platforms such as Pinterest.”

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But wait! There’s more! There will also be “gameday style tips from local area experts, and even a RED Lifestyle Lounge session to educate attendees on the art of incorporating their passion for the Bucs into their other lifestyle interests such as tailgating and home entertaining.”

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In its first act of patronizing idiocy, the brain trust behind this clusterfuck decided that as part the “year-round educational experiences focused on providing a better understanding of the game” they would explain to those of us with boobs some sportsball terms.

Actual sentence that appears on the RED website: What does the term “play clock” mean?

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There are so many things wrong with this.

First, obviously, is the underlying assumption that female fans are idiots who don’t understand sports or anything that isn’t girly and pink. You will never endear yourselves to women sports fans when you come at us with the attitude that our vaginas prevent us from comprehending even the absolute basics of sports. Mansplaining is a bad look.

Newsflash: Some women – lots of us! – already watch, enjoy and understand sports. We don’t need it tied up in a bow and covered in sparkles to appreciate it. I don’t need Pinterest to make sport palatable.

We watch sports for the same reasons dudes do: because we appreciate the game, the athletes, and the spectacle. We enjoy the gamesmanship, the strategy and the competition. We scream our faces off when our teams win, and we mourn when our teams lose. We root for our teams and players because we actually follow them, not because we like the color of their uniforms.

We don’t need someone to explain what the play clock, or a down, or a TD is. WE ALREADY KNOW GO TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE.

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These female-centric get-to-know sports things are sexist, condescending and wholly unnecessary. If you want to do a Football 101 thing, cool! That’s for everyone! I’m sure there are people who would get into that, but there is no reason to make it just for women, and even less to do that by assuming women are all walking Barbie stereotypes.

Treating women as some alien group isn’t going to make us like you. Talk to us like we’re people. That’s good advice for all dudes everywhere. Women aren’t idiots, and if we already watch your team, we don’t need this shit, and it just turns us off. Seriously, you need to stop. It’s terrible.

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Meghan Bard

2003 UConn grad, recovering journalist, cardigan wearer, former Daily Camper, current lawyer.