By: Gina Mason
William Congreve got it right when he said, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a scorned woman.” With that in mind, I don’t think Men’s Health thought one of their recent articles through when it discussed women and sports. However, the men’s wellness magazine witnessed just how quickly the tides can turn when it comes to insulting women.
On Monday, Men’s Health had a major lapse in judgment when they posted an article that was titled, “How to Talk Sports with Women.” If the title did not slightly raise a red flag, the photo below with a blonde and a foam finger will.
Obviously, not all women are sports fans, however, the magazine had a major oversight when it came to publishing this one. This article, which has now been deleted said, “Not all women share your passion for sports, in case you hadn’t noticed…The reason? They need story lines.”
This was a little confusing to me….Sports have no story lines? If so, why do they call teams “Cinderella “ stories? What about all of the human-interest segments they run about the players/teams/staff during every major sport broadcast? Sports are all about big plays and story lines, which is why every major newspaper has a daily sports section.
The article even went on to quote co-author Andrei Markovits of the book “Sportista: Female Fandom in the United States” who generalized an entire population of women by saying “most women don’t care about stats.” Lastly, it finished the article with a classy touch of, “Just don’t expect her to wear the foam finger.”
Once faced with backlash, the magazine quickly tried to recover by posting two tweets to apologize for this indiscretion. “Apologies for our “talk sports with her” story. It missed the mark and the negative feedback is justified. We’ve deleted it. [part 1] It wasn’t meant to suggest that women are in any way inferior to men, in sports, or anything else. But … we’re sorry that it did. [part 2].”
The article not only generalized females, but also insulted men and women alike. It will be very interesting to see how this will affect Men’s Health sales over the next few months and what will happen to the brand in general.
Interestingly enough, here are some stats about women and sports:
• According to Topsy, the two hour timeframe that the tweet was posted, @MensHealthMag had more than 4,800 mentions a majority of which were outraged readers.
• Female sports fans make up about 35% of fans in each league. This makes one out of every three sports fans a female, according to Nielson.
• The ESPN Sports Poll and the U.S. Census said that 44 percent of all football fans are now women.
• According to a study by Big Research Media Study, over 60 percent of women watched sports regularly versus 42 percent who watch soap operas regularly.
What did you think of Men’s Health apology? Did you think they were out of line? What should they do to repair this misogynistic image that they have created?
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