When you think game day attire, do you think six-inch platform wedges?

The NFL seems to think a number of women do, as it sells these beauties in its Chargers fan shop (there are similar versions for various teams):

Platform wedge

It’s been a rough year for San Diego football fans, male and female. But the difficulty in finding normal fan gear is one way in which it can be especially hard to be a woman football fan. On this special VOSD Podcast episode, Union-Tribune multimedia reporter Annie Heilbrunn and I delve into the ways in which the NFL and various media make it harder for women to get invested in the game.

One thing that’s especially prominent right before the Super Bowl are “Football 101 for Ladies” events that aim to teach women the basics — the premise, of course, being that half the population is too dumb to know the game to begin with.

The NFL isn’t the only party at fault, either. As the city has debated whether to build a new stadium for the Chargers, city and county leaders have discussed the issue — one that impacts all San Diegans and involves spending the money of all San Diegans — in forum after forum dominated by men.

“When you look at those stages, if there’s a woman there, that woman is so hidden amongst the men … it’s not like they’re at the forefront … unless they’re in a cheerleader outfit,” said Heilbrunn.

LT addressing the Chargers fans “it is time to build a new stadium to usher in another 55 years” pic.twitter.com/ABRJEoSFZf

— Marty Caswell (@MartyCaswell) November 6, 2016

No need for the little ladies to get involved with this complicated #stadium thing #TodayinSanDiegoBrotospic.twitter.com/yxlP2GX3Ws — Solsticed (@LoriSaldanaSD) July 29, 2015

The NFL enacted a new policy a couple years back requiring all bags brought into stadiums to be completely clear, a policy that overwhelmingly impacts women.

“They just don’t stop and think, ‘How can we make that experience a little better?’” Heilbrunn said.


If I may, though, I’d like to return to the fan merch for women. Let me tell you how many lace-up T-shirts I need in my life: none. I’m all set, thanks. And yet …

Subscribe to the VOSD Podcast on iTunes or get the RSS feed here. Stream or download it here.

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.