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Can women who love football still be feminists?

By WITW Staff on November 7, 2015

To answer the question right off the bat — of course female football fans can still be feminists, even with the sport’s apparent ability to attract athletes who perpetuate violence against women and officials who seem to brush such bad behavior under the rug. But it’s complicated. In a “Voices” piece for USA Today published this week, Diane Roberts, a feminist scholar and English professor at Florida State University shared her perspective. “Human beings are contradictory and paradoxical,” she said. “And I can apparently, at the same time that I love football and I’m sitting there cheering for FSU… I can also step back and go, ‘This game has problems.’” At Florida State University alone, 20 football players have been accused of crimes against women since 2009, according to Fox Sports.

However, a piece published in Salon last year took an opposing stand. Claiming that feminism and football don’t mix, the author argues that the sport is “a $10 billion industry made up almost entirely of men: male players, male coaches, male trainers, male executives, male owners. Its gender roles aren’t antiquated; they’re medieval.”

So what do you think? Can feminists still cheer on their favorite football teams, even with known abusers on the field? Tell us in the comments.

Read the USA Today story here and the Salon piece here.