‘She has “ruined” football’



Kara Hopkins|Marlin Chronicle

As everyone has heard, Taylor Swift is dating Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Swift’s media attention in games and the idea of the couple has stirred controversy in the football community, but it has even made its way to local news channels. If we look deeper, the details of this scandal drive home the point that there is embedded misogyny and a double standard in society. It shows that in the public eye, the discomfort of men is more important than the struggles of women.

This double standard has been exemplified in the football sphere far before Kelce and Swift’s relationship. Liking football can be seen as tame, but the fandom lifestyle is called cultish. While NFL fans scream in the stands, screaming in a concert is criticized as obsessive. NFL fans wear merchandise and even make their team the theme of their man caves. Meanwhile, spending money on a t-shirt for Taylor Swift can get me ridiculed for being crazy, when in reality I am doing the same thing as NFL fans. 

This can be further shown in the criticism of ticket prices of Swift’s Eras Tour in late 2022. Boys that I went to school with, the media and even members of my church congregation were baffled at how much people were spending on tickets. I recall those I talked to, mostly men, saying it was stupid to spend that much money on a performance. However, according to CBS News, Super Bowl tickets reached up to $12,000.

Now, men are complaining about something traditionally feminine, Taylor Swift, being advertised to them during a broadcast. Meanwhile, women every day are suffering in silence while traditionally masculine hobbies are thrown in their laps.

A great example of this is my early career working at a water utility company. I needed to make money, and I enjoyed my job, but to keep it I had to appear interested and engaged in 40 hours a week of “bro talk.” 

If I wanted to join a conversation, chances are I had to fall upon hobbies and ideologies that were traditionally masculine such as sports, firearms and cars. I had to attend work events with themes tailored to men. While I do hold some traditionally masculine hobbies, like fishing, I had to be interested in things that I did not like during the work day.

  I did all of this just to avoid appearing off-putting and mean. I had to play a part to seem tolerable to my coworkers. If I did not speak during conversations, I was boring and rude. If I did not show up to events, I was impolite. I had to adapt to their ignorance at the age of 15. 

Meanwhile, NFL fans are complaining about femininity in microdoses. The New York Times found that on average, Taylor Swift is shown for 0.46% of the hours-long broadcast. That is 23 seconds per game. But this still makes some fans angry. They burn vinyls, make signs and create AI images of gruesome, inhumane things. All of this is just to prove a point that they don’t like femininity displayed in traditionally masculine spaces.

I could have lashed out and burned hockey sticks and basketballs in front of my co-workers who spoke non-stop about the sports. But I have been trained as a woman to keep quiet about things that bother me. It seems to me that women are forced to comply with the society that men have created, but men can complain and gain immense media coverage. 

It’s shocking to me the level of attention this issue has gotten when issues that are targeting women’s quality of life right now are not receiving this amount of air time or this level of passion. Their complaints surrounding a broadcast that occurs once a week outweighs the struggles women face everyday. 

They complain she has “ruined” football, when in reality she has contributed positively to the sport. This season, she has influenced many women to start watching the broadcasts, a goal long-held by the NFL. According to SportsPro Media, female viewership rose 9% for the Super Bowl, the best it has ever been on record.

If we look at the data, most of this is likely because of Swift’s appearances in games. The New York Times reported that the Chief’s games had five percent more viewers on Sunday nights than any other NFL team, and in addition Kelce’s jersey sales went up by 400%. 

Her influence also reaches social media, where the NFL and their associated brands push Swift-related content to promote the sport to a female audience. These posts often go viral, reaching more than just those interested in football, or Swift. 

The official NFL Twitter account even added the phrase “Taylor’s Version” to their bio, a play on her re-released albums. She has influenced social media trends and in turn influenced a new generation of football fans. 

Because of her influence, Swift has increased revenue for the NFL, adding $331.5 million to the franchise according to Apex Marketing Group. 

These are all positive impacts, supported by quantitative data. However, it is disregarded in the conversation of her impact amongst some NFL fans. They focus on their personal opinions of Swift, rather than the fact that she is inspiring women to be interested in the sport they enjoy so much. 

This is a deeper issue that falls into how society views women, their interests and their struggles. Those who say that it’s not that deep are the same men who are painting “F Swift” on their nails, making signs and wishing sexual assault on Swift. Those who say that it’s not as deep as double standards and sexism are the same ones dramatizing this issue. They are reverting to personal attacks on Swift, instead of trying to fix the issue they find so unbearable.

At this point, it’s not about disliking Taylor Swift as a person. It’s sexism hidden in the roots of our society and our media.


Kara Hopkins is a first-year majoring in Media and Communications and Environmental Studies. She enjoys taking care of her many plants, freshwater fishing and watching movies. Kara can be contacted at knhopkins@vwu.edu.

By Kara Hopkins