Furthermore, I propose that the difference in fan support may be a consequence of the strong association of female basketball players with gender nonconformity by virtue of their basketball player status. In various sports women have had to prove their athletic skill and passion for their sport in order to be perceived as legitimate and even in pursuit of that legitimacy, women flounder among a sea of male athletes (Messner, 1988).
Compared to the WNBA’s New York Liberty, the Chicago Bulls averaged almost twice as many people in game attendance, a near 10,000 people difference (wnba.com; nba.com).
A popular blog site poses the question why are WNBA game attendance records so low?
The inequity in fan support also appears in collegiate athletics.
As cited earlier, “The SMU women’s basketball team wins games.
Exactly one week later on February 19, 2011 I attended the men’s basketball game and observed a very different atmosphere.
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There was an overwhelmingly larger amount of fans at the men’s game, but the student section sparked the most notable difference. “Sports and Male Domination: The Female Athlete as Contested Ideological Terrain.” .
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Brenna Rushing said it best when she wrote “The SMU women’s basketball team wins games; the men’s team wins fans” in an article that appeared in the Daily Campus in April of 2009.
Another user poses the same perplexity and cites the collapse of many professional women’s teams and wonders why this disparity exists, especially when tickets to WNBA games sell for as low as ten dollars.
Respondents’ answers demonstrated the bias against female basketball athletes and the blatant discrimination towards women who don’t conform to the stereotypical feminine gender.