• Football, Fandom, and Feminism

    If you’re an atheist or skeptic there is good decent chance that you look upon sports with a certain highbrow disdain, mocking those who take it too seriously. Every year, on the verge of Super Bowl Sunday, I’m faced with a barrage of jokes from my freethinking friends demonstrating their hipster ironic ignorance, apathy, and/or contempt for gridiron football. I’m not entirely sure why people feel the need to do this, but probably it is some form of social signaling leftover from high school: I’m not one of those guys, I’m one of these guys.

    Personally, I would say that the most healthy attitude to adopt would be to let everyone have their own fun and not waste any time talking down other forms of recreation. My favorite meme on point directly compares geek fandom to football fanhood:


    These folks get it. Everyone loves dressing up as their favorite on-screen character, which is why hotcakes wish they could fly off the shelves like replica Peyton Manning jerseys. Once you start to see all the different fandoms as expressions of similar underlying human needs, you can let go of grade school rivalries and broaden your own horizons in the process. Some people who enjoyed the cheap beer and expensive commercials yesterday are planning to geek out on their next major sci-fi convention road trip, and that is okay. We are allowed to inhabit different recreational spaces, or rather, we should be.

    Of course, not everyone is willing to take a live-and-let-live approach to other folks’ idea of a good time. Consider the following five top voted commercial spots, along with a small sampling of the social media reaction thereto:

    This one gets a free pass. Rescue dogs in trenchcoats are amazing. Even PETA is on side with it:

    Too adorable for words. Another free pass.

    The takeaway lesson here appears to be that if an advertiser has the temerity to feature men and women in any sexually-charged situation (including, oddly enough, having an ultrasound) then they are likely to draw the ire of the #NotBuyingIt crowd. If an advertiser features dogs being cute, they are probably safe.

    I suppose it is possible, in theory, that poking fun of the well-known overprotective Dad trope might make some fathers even more protective than they already are. It may be that Doritos is guilty of “humanizing fetuses” and promoting sexist stereotypes about both men and women. Hyundai should perhaps be upbraided for telling the world that women, much like men, are capable of being distracted by sexy people.

    Or maybe these online media critics are desperately looking forward to the chance to be offended on behalf of women everywhere. Much like dumping on someone else’s fandom, it gives one the chance to feel enlightened while signaling virtue to one’s preferred in-group.

    Your thoughts?

    Category: Current EventsFeminism

    Article by: Damion Reinhardt

    Former fundie finds freethought fairly fab.