Male Bostonians are glued to their TVs these days thanks to a series of baseball games between our Red Sox and the New York Yankees. This reminded me of a section from The Importance of Being Lazy, a book by Al Gini that was on my summer reading list:
Mariah Burton Nelson, athlete and author, has written a brilliant and blistering book on sexism and the culture of sports titled The Stronger Women Get, the More Men Love Football. Nelson believes that the more power women have acquired–athletically, economically, and politically–the more threatened men feel, and the more they cling to football and other manly sports… Men may have to deal with assertive wives and daughters and take a back seat to a female boss, but football remains the last bastion of mythical male domination.
Gini proceeds to trace the fantastic growth in attendance, player salaries, and the general budgets for macho gruntfests from the 1960s, when feminism took hold, and the present. He also notes that attempts to hook females into becoming massive consumers of professional sports have been failures. It is the guys who like sports and they especially like the ones where women aren’t competitive.
So do we believe this? It seems plausible. Horse racing, for example, which has no feminism-backlash angle, doesn’t seem to be substantially more popular than it was prior to World War II.
[People often seem curious to know my personal preferences in these areas. In this case it seems that I must be gay because instead of watching the Red Sox (I attend one game every 10 years and never watch on TV) I watched the last season of Absolutely Fabulous on DVD (from netflix.com). It is funny that we value movies more highly as culture than TV shows. All of my friends surveyed agreed that they'd much rather own AbFab on DVD and watch episodes repeatedly than own Lawrence of Arabia or Citizen Kane.]