Gender in Relation to Fantasy Sports

Today’s society has become much more openminded to the breaking and bending of traditional gender roles. However, popular culture and leisure continue to be marketed towards specific genders based on stereotypical perceptions of gender norms. The stereotypical function of gender norms in leisure can be seen in the case of fantasy sports.
Erica Hateley in Keywords for Children’s Literature discusses the relationship of the binary gender system and the emphasis that is placed on males being masculine and partaking in activities that promote and display masculinity whereas, females should do the same in the ways of femininity (88). This can be seen in the developing domains of fantasy sports. Fantasy leagues promoted in society, such as fantasy football and baseball and NCAA March Madness brackets tend to be associated with men as the participants. It is much more uncommon to see women participate in such fantasy sports leagues. This created an unreached audience for fantasy platforms such as ESPN. To bridge this disconnect between fantasy sports and women, ESPN released a The Bachelor fantasy league. With the creation of this league, ESPN is helping to promote the binary gender system and the ideals that accompany it. The sports fantasy leagues are created for often promote masculinity and therefore are typically marketed to men while many reality shows, especially those involving lots of drama like The Bachelor, tend to be marketed more towards women. They are assuming most women are more interested in reality television shows about dating than they are in sports. It is unfair for these assumptions to be made and for stigmas to be placed around the breaking of the gender norm. Individuals should not be defined by the types of leisure they take part in and should not be bound to fit within the societal constraints of gender norms.

3 thoughts on “Gender in Relation to Fantasy Sports”

  1. I find it interesting that you included The Bachelor fantasy league. As a girl who isn’t very into sports, I have never participated in a fantasy league, but have always thought participating in one would be really fun. Because there is now one for The Bachelor, I finally have a fantasy league I know enough about to participate in.

  2. As both a football and Bachelor fan, I agree that gender norms are changing. I know lots of men who watch the Bachelor, and I know lots of women who watch football. Fantasy leagues are truly breaking these norms by allowing anyone, of any gender, to participate.

  3. I enjoyed reading this! I have many friends, consisting of boys and girls that are currently participating in the Bachelor Fantasy League. Although when the Bachelor Fantasy League first came out, I mentioned of my excitement of being involved in a fantasy league, and my co-workers and guy-friends seemed skeptical and confused. “A girl? In a fantasy league?” This puzzlement from their faces was rather offensive at first because I wondered what was so wrong about girls wanting to join a fantasy league team? But now, we all have a great time watching the Bachelor together on Monday’s and laugh about it, but it still makes me wonder?

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