It’s almost 2020, stereotypes should be old news by now right? Well, we’re still working on it.
Today I’m not going to get into fixing every wrong stereotype in the world, because that would take much longer than we will ever have time for. But I want to focus on one small, specific stereotype I feel I’m constantly fighting against...
Yes, I’m a woman, and yes, I love football.
I was at work last night, and the Thursday Night Football game was on, so of course I was going to sneak a look at the screen whenever I got the chance. I approached a group of my male coworkers and started talking about the game and the standings of the AFC and NFC playoff picture and who I thought might win MVP this year and what team is going to get the first pick in the draft. And they were all surprised by the sheer amount of knowledge I had about the National Football League. And then one guy asked me, “Why do you like football so much?”
Now if you didn’t know, I’m a Buffalo Bills fan. More like a fanatic if I’m being honest. I get the “why are you a Bills fan” question every time I bring it up, especially since I was raised in Indiana. I’m used to answering the “why are you a Bills fan” question, but I’ve never been asked the “why do you like football so much” question.
Now, my coworker clearly didn’t mean anything by this, but my girl power instincts kicked in, and I looked at him and asked if he had ever had to justify why he likes sports before. Was it just because I’m a woman that you were surprised I knew so much about the topic? Was I not allowed to research, engage in, and enjoy football?
Then I took a deep breath, calmed down a tad, and told him the reason. I love the sport because I enjoy the camaraderie, competitiveness, and teamwork displayed in football. The sense of family between the players and the way that an entire stadium of fans of all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds come together through the shared experience of rooting for something. In a way, it’s not too different from why we go to the theatre… but that’s a topic for a later blog post ;)
It is important to be well rounded, and no one should ever feel they need to apologize for their interests. In the past, media and society in general has formed a habit of gendering certain hobbies or labelling different activities as cool or lame. Girls dream of princess castles and boys of the Lombardi trophy. People who stay home reading comic books are nerds while the kids who go out dancing are the cool ones. It’s rare to see an athletic stud also studying needle point or watch an all star chemist jam out in a rock band.
Thankfully, society and the media are both getting the hint, and these sorts of distinctions are disappearing.
Shout out to “Stick to the Status Quo” and High School Musical.
Life would be boring if we all just stayed in our box or focused on one thing. Especially when it comes to gender. Men don’t have a monopoly of sports and women don’t have a monopoly on fashion and beauty tips. It shouldn’t be cause for confusion if someone is passionate about a topic you didn’t initially expect.
We all deserve to truly celebrate what we do, who we are, and what we are most passionate about. And it doesn’t matter if those things align or if they’re random interests that make up the unique person you are.
What makes up you? For me, I am a woman, and I am an actor, singer, dancer, and performer. My passions include my family, friends, writing, Disney, Downton Abbey, doing jigsaw puzzles, the color orange, and watching football.
Now, you could choose to look at me and simply judge me based off of my genetic makeup or my career. I would just be an actress and that’s it. But you wouldn’t even be getting half of it. My personality is made up of so much more than that. And a lot of the stuff that makes up me isn’t what you would stereotypically expect of someone in my field.
Today’s article is titled “Yes, I’m a Woman, and Yes, I Love Football” but it could just have easily been “Yes, I’m an Actor, and Yes, I Love Football” or “Yes, I Take Ballet, and Yes, I Love Football” or “Yes, I Sing Romantic Ballads, and Yes, I Love Football.”
The point is, you can enjoy whatever you want. And you should enjoy whatever you want. Without hesitation or justification. You don’t need to defend your interests to someone who decides you’re not the right kind of person to be interested. They’re enjoying staying in their box and keeping to their corner, but you, my friend, were meant to thrive and enjoy the open air.
You get to be whoever you want to be. And how exciting is that??
Let’s get a little interactive, shall we? Go ahead and fill in the blanks for yourself, then say it loud and proud for anyone and everyone…
“Yes, I’m , and Yes, I Love .”
Enjoy it. Enjoy the unique interests and passions you have. They make you YOU! And I guarantee the people in your life wouldn’t want you any other way.