If I was a man: the double standards between sports and pop culture fans
By Cissie Brotzman
After the Super Bowl last month, users on TikTok began pointing out the double standard between male sports fans and female pop culture fans.
Many users have been using pop sensation Taylor Swift’s song “The Man” in their TikToks to demonstrate the difference between the perceptions of each fanbase, particularly focusing on the lyrics, “I’m so sick of running as fast as I can, wondering if I’d get there quicker if I was a man.”
The TikToks show photos of sports fans during big events like the Super Bowl as opposed to pop culture fans at big events like concerts. In the videos, the sports fans are being called “passionate,” while pop culture fans are being called “crazy” and “obsessive.”
So what is the difference here? Both sports fans and pop culture fans are just that: fans. So why are they labeled so differently?
Jon Machota, a writer who covers the Dallas Cowboys for The Athletic, tweeted a video of the AT&T Stadium doors opening for the Jan. 16 Cowboys vs. 49ers game. The video showed thousands of fans sprinting through the doors to their seats.
One Twitter user quoted Machota’s tweet, saying “but girls get made fun of for doing the same thing when they see their favorite [musical] artist.” Another user quoted the tweet saying “But I’m a hysterical little girl if I do it.”
Many people will say there is no right answer to this question. Many people will choose to ignore that these biases are even occurring.
When you look at the typical fanbase of sports like football, most of them are stereotypically men. In contrast, most people who are pop culture fans are stereotypically teenage girls and women. Although society is slowly improving, sexism is still prevalent today. As someone who has dealt with being called “obsessive” when it comes to my favorite musical artists, I have felt this sexism first hand.
I have always been very passionate when it came to my favorite musical artists and pop culture. I watched my male family members get together to watch football games and scream at the TV when their team lost. I went to school and heard everyone talk about how angry they were with the game’s score. But when I would talk to my friends about my favorite band’s new album, my classmates would call me “crazy” and “weird.”
I have even witnessed men saying they cannot listen to certain music artists because “that’s for girls.”
The TikToks that recently went viral depict accurate ways society describes sports and pop culture fans, but they shouldn’t. Sports fans and pop culture fans act the same way toward their passion, so they shouldn’t have labels that describe them differently. They should just be called fans.
In 2022, we should not accept a society in which gender stereotypes still exist. Women and men should both be allowed to enjoy whatever they want to without dealing with the double standards society puts on them.
Originally printed in the 3/9/22 issue.