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CU Boulder professor weighs in on Taylor Swift’s impact on the Super Bowl

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BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — As the big game approaches, experts are studying Taylor Swift’s impact and what reaction to her involvement shows about gender roles.

It’s no secret there has been a backlash to the relationship between Swift and Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, with her appearances at games sparking debates.

Jamie Skerski, a communication expert and professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, said the backlash and debates show a lot about gender roles and cultural values in the U.S. She has a course focusing on just that called Communication, Culture and Sport.

“Students sign up for it thinking we’re going to talk about sports, which we do, but we kind of use that as a Trojan horse to talk about issues of gender, race, capitalism, globalization, and it allows them to understand sport is reflective of other problems and successes in society,” Skerski said.

Those gender roles are tested by some NFL fans about her appearances on air.

“I think that is signaling an unease or frustration, this femininity interfering with what has been defined as a masculine context,” Skerski said.

Taylor Swift’s impact on the NFL

But it’s been proven that those frustrations aren’t necessarily warranted.

“The logic of, well, she’s a distraction or that she’s not good for the broadcast just doesn’t pan out. The analysts suggest that Taylor Swift has brought at least $300 million in value to the NFL or the Chiefs,” Skerski said.

FILE - Taylor Swift waves from a suite alongside Brittany Mahomes, right, during the first half of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Oct. 22, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. Sean Kammer, a South Dakota law professor who typically teaches torts and natural resources, is turning his attention to Taylor Swift next semester. The self-described “Swiftie” wants to draw on music and art to help his students reconsider legal language and craft persuasive arguments. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)
FILE – Taylor Swift waves from a suite alongside Brittany Mahomes, right, during the first half of an NFL football game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, Oct. 22, 2023, in Kansas City, Mo. Sean Kammer, a South Dakota law professor who typically teaches torts and natural resources, is turning his attention to Taylor Swift next semester. The self-described “Swiftie” wants to draw on music and art to help his students reconsider legal language and craft persuasive arguments. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga, File)

Kelce is redefining that masculine role, too.

“You have him being shown as vulnerable, as supportive, as tender, and I think that there is some reaction as to why isn’t he harnessing his power to sort of emphasize his dominance. Instead, he seems very content to not only let his girlfriend shine, but support her,” Skerski said.

Skerski believes the two fandoms have more in common thank they think, like when comparing sports fanatics into betting and fantasy with the so-called “Swifties.”

“The Taylor Swift fans that pore over her lyrics and look for meaning and connection and post on social media with other people that enjoy that. That is no different than spending hours on your fantasy football team and looking for insider tips, and yet we value one and consider the other frivolous, not important. I think those are the questions that tell us a little about American culture and ways we can explore these things and ultimately bring us together,” Skerski said.

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