The stereotype goes that girls don’t like sports, but why is that?
It could be due to many girls not growing up watching sports, like boys tend to do, or the fact that sports like football and basketball are male-dominated spaces and that can be intimidating — even just being a fan.
Sports are something that everyone should enjoy, so why don’t girls?
According to Statista, 46 percent of men are avid NFL viewers, whereas only 21 percent of women are. Though 30 percent of men and 35 percent of women are casual watchers and 24 percent of men and 44 percent of women don’t watch at all.
The breakdown is even more disparaging for the NBA.
Just because girls aren’t the target audience doesn’t mean they don’t watch. “I like watching because I have an older brother, and he watches a lot of sports, and so does my dad, so I’ve grown up watching sports,” said Taylor Venters, junior.
Liya Mekuria, junior, is also a casual sports fan: “I mainly watch volleyball and sometimes football. I like watching because I like the competitiveness and having a team to root for.”
Girls may find sports that are more female-dominated, like volleyball, have a more inclusive fan base. “I feel more welcomed to talk about volleyball versus… football because for one I play volleyball, so people know I know what I’m talking about, but also I feel like the people that watch [volleyball] are less likely to do things like quiz me on it,” said Mekuria.
Like most male-dominated spaces, girls are forced to show they belong, guys ask questions like “name the quarterback” or “how many championships has the team been to?”– and sports are no different.
“Sometimes I’ll mention that I watched a game or my favorite team, and guys will give me a pop-quiz on the most random things or other girls will say girls that watch sports are ‘pick me’s’,” said Mekuria.
“I don’t really talk about sports because none of my friends watch, but I have heard guys try to make girls prove they watch sports when they don’t do that for other guys,” said Venters.
They Never Gotten into Sports
Many boys start watching sports young with the other male figures in their life and have grown up watching and having a team to root for. While this may be the story for some girls, it’s not for all.
“I never really grew up watching sports, but I do think it’s interesting… especially watching games at school,” said Nadia Harris, sophomore.
Also because many girls don’t grow up watching sports they don’t have a team to root for, which is an incentive for many to watch a game. “I don’t really know where to start when it comes to getting into sports because I don’t have a team to root for… it feels like a lot to start,” said Harris.
They Just Don’t like it
In the same way some people don’t like reading or school, many people just simply don’t like sports.
“I’m just not a big sports person… I like watching games at school, but I don’t really care to go out of my way to watch,” said Clare Smawley, senior.
Many may also find sports boring, especially if they don’t understand the rules or strategy.
“When I first started paying attention to sports, I would be confused or bored because I never knew what was happening, but the more and more I watched, the more interesting and exciting it got,” said Mekuria.
People in general, not just girls, are also finding it less appealing to sit and watch a full game. According to Morning Consult, Gen Z’s interest in sports is lower compared to the other generations. Those who are interested get their sports news from social media rather than watching the games live, according to Morning Consult.
Now we can get immediate sports updates and people aren’t as invested — this leads to even fewer girls being involved.
Everyone should feel welcome to enjoy sports, if they wish, without judgment or feeling like it’s daunting.