Wondering how the World Cup is going? Don't ask here; I haven't watched a single second. And while I hate to admit this, it might be because I'm a woman.
Now now, female sports fans, no need to slap me with a foam finger. I know there are plenty of ladies who love sports -- in fact, when living in basketball-crazed Sacramento, I was even one of them (Go Kings!) But the stats back me up here: at the end of the day, the world of sports-viewing remains steeped in testosterone.
Even the Women's World Cup in 2011 was predominantly enjoyed by men: in the U.S., 61 percent of the viewing audience was male, compared to 39 percent female. This gender divide is consistent throughout football, baseball and other major sports. The sport with the most robust regular female viewership is NASCAR. Its audience? A whopping 37 percent female. Dive deeper into fanaticism and the picture gets bleaker. ESPN.com, for example, boasts a paltry 6 percent female readership.
So, ladies, what gives? Are we too busy getting mani/pedis or talking about lipstick colors to enjoy brute displays of athleticism? Are we genetically wired to recoil from all that physical force and gladiatorial grunting? Do the jerseys make our hips look fat?
All these assumptions have -- consciously and unconsciously -- been made by both genders for years. But the reality is a bit more nuanced and a lot less sexist than that (happily).
In fact, research reveals that ladies are simply too busy for such frivolity. One study found that women were too overwhelmed with child care, chores and other duties to justify spending several hours planted in front of the TV in a La-Z-Boy, cold brewskie in hand. When they did watch, they said it was often to spend time with their partner -- essentially a form of double-tasking.
So basically, sports-viewing habits tap into the sanctioned misogyny of household behavior (yes, women still do more housework than men) and general feelings of go-go-go anxiety that plague women (men too, but more so women).
For this reason, and because sports really can be a lot of fun to watch (Go Kings!), it might be time to shift our viewing habits a bit. Between cooking dinner, washing dishes, maintaining a more-than-full-time career, working out and -- as the case may be -- taking care of the kids, it's also important to carve out some personal time. And one of the best ways to do that is by kicking back in a La-Z-Boy to watch a sports game... preferably with a cold brewskie in hand.