Christina Hoff Sommers has written a piece arguing that there is a reason that women’s sports are less popular then male sports, and it is not because of bias:
Since 1989, the Center for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California (USC) has published a study of “Gender in Televised Sports” every five years. The latest report has just been released and the Women’s Victim Industrial Complex is reeling from the findings. “Shocking,” says the Women’s Sports Foundation.
According to the report, coverage of women’s professional teams has “nearly evaporated” and a “deepening silence” has enveloped women’s professional soccer, basketball, golf, field hockey, and softball. “Nothing short of stunning” says author Michael Messner, a feminist sociologist at USC. “This is simply intolerable.”
National Public Radio sports commentator Diana Nyad, a celebrated distance swimming champion, was moved to write a special introduction to the latest report: “Women’s athletic skill levels have risen astronomically over the past twenty years … It is time for television news and highlights shows to keep pace with this revolution.” She describes the neglect of women’s sports as “unfathomable and unacceptable.”
But the heavy focus of news and highlights shows on men’s sports is not only fathomable but obvious—that is where the fans are. And that is where advertisers expect to find customers for “male” products such as beer, razors, and cars. Men’s professional sports are a fascination (obsession is more like it) to many millions of men, because they offer extreme competition, performance, and heroics. Women’s professional sports, however skilled and admirable, cannot compare in Promethean drama.
Even women prefer watching male teams. Few women follow the sports pages and ESPN, but many enjoy attending live games—featuring male athletes. According to Sports Business Daily, 31 percent of the NFL’s “avid fans” are women.
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