For female fans, passion isn’t all-inclusive

Zoe Leone, Associate Arts & Life Editor

As I sat in the student section of M&T Bank Arena during this year’s men’s hockey game against Yale, I couldn’t help but notice the rather extreme levels of energy around me. As the game progressed, it became apparent that the vast majority of the over-the-top screaming was coming from one distinct group of fans: the men.

The intense, and sometimes volatile, nature of male sports fans is not new information. A group of Philadelphia Eagles fans flipped a parked car before this year’s Super Bowl. But things can escalate and take a turn. After the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals, fans took to the streets of Vancouver and caused major damages to the city. In the most intense cases, a 2013 study found that domestic violence by men increases by 38% in England after the national soccer team loses a match.

The examples are extreme, but the facts still stand. Men are allowed to be fans of things, from sports to comic books, with every emotion. Whether it’s anger or sadness, we’ve learned to accept the consequences and let things take their toll.

And yet when it comes to women mixing their passions with their emotions, why are we so critical?

The rise of “Beatlemania” brought about the term “hysterical females” that was often associated with fans of the popular band, according to The Guardian. A quick Google search beginning with “are fangirls” will quickly produce the result “annoying” as the rest of that query.

In my own experience, when women convey emotion toward the things they’re passionate about, they’re viewed as unstable. Similarly, when those interests align with things that are traditionally considered feminine, the reaction gets even worse.

Why is it socially acceptable for a man to go purple in the face while screaming for a college hockey team, but when I bring up liking Taylor Swift, I’m given a lecture?

I’ve gotten the judgemental looks whenever I’ve talked about something I love. Whether it be a TV show or a musical artist, unbridled enthusiasm from a woman is almost always met with a raised eyebrow or a snicker. The double standard runs deep.

I’ve lived this experience too many times. Recently, I was having a conversation with a man about our love for music. When I cracked a joke about his repeated listenings of The Smiths and The Cure aligning with stereotypical male music tastes, I was immediately hit with a rant about my own favorite artists.

He told me that my favorites–ranging from Swift and Lorde to Hozier and Florence + The Machine–weren’t influential and were only popular because they were making money-grabbing music. The pretentiousness was almost blindsiding. Why is my taste in music somehow lesser? Is it because I’m a woman? Is it because some of the artists I love have a predominantly female fanbase? Or is it just because a man felt threatened by my suggesting that his passions weren’t as special as he thought?

Popular TikToker Talia Lichtstein pointed out the inconsistencies in a video posted to her account. In it, she snarkily remarks on how the men who grew up making fun of girls for obsessing over One Direction are now writing tribute messages to Tom Brady as he finally retires. While Lichtstein is dripping in sarcasm, she’s incredibly on the nose.

Some of the worst offenders of judging female fans are male fans themselves, especially sports fans. Screaming over a boy band is somehow going too far, while screaming at a TV is perfectly acceptable.

The issue is intertwined with misogyny and forces women to take the hit every time. No matter their interests, women are perceived as crazy while men are considered passionate.

So next time you go to judge a girl for her obsession with Harry Styles, remember how you acted over your favorite sports team. Maybe she’s not as crazy as you think.