The top 12 shows during the fall in 2015 were all NFL games. The largest viewership was 29.4 million during the Seattle-Dallas matchup on November 1. Simply put: the NFL is a juggernaut in the ratings. That’s no shock; it’s been that way for years. However, what might be surprising is that men aren’t the only ones tuning in. Women make up roughly 45 percent of the NFL’s estimated 150 million fans.
But did you know that women play professional football, too? The Legends Football League (formerly known as the Lingerie Football League, which got rebranded in 2013) has teams stationed in the US and Australia (Canada had teams for two years, in 2012 and 2013), and there’s even a Hall of Fame. The LFL was created in 2003 and held its first season in 2009. And while the game is similar to what you see in an NFL or NCAA game, the wardrobe is strikingly different than what the men wear. The players are still vibrant, athletic, determined, and disciplined, but, sadly, they are also basically naked. Also, makeup is permitted, if not encouraged, because what woman could catch a pass without her mascara neatly applied before kickoff?
Still, during the LFL season from April to August, the injuries, punts, tackles, and drive to win all deliver the same intensity — except LFL players reportedly aren’t paid a dime. However, the LFL does have a TV deal with Fuse, which means the players do get exposure on television. The trouble is, to get noticed often requires them to look a certain way to be recognized. (Read: sexy.)
The criticism that the league fails to treat women fairly seems warranted in one sense, but the other side to that is that the league is also progress for women in football. What do you think? Can women only do the same thing with less? Have the players given up on striving for equality? Or is this simply another first step that will eventually (and hopefully) lead to an LFL that’s based solely on talent instead of how attractive someone looks in a skimpy uniform?