Sexism in Football: A Response

Gabby Logan commentating

Perspective is a wonderful thing.  It allows you to stand back and view a wider picture but sometimes something catches your eye and you want to see it close up and understand why it does what it does and what caught my eye was the article Sexism in Football, The Truth.

Now I’m a woman who writes about football.  I don’t feel the need to say that sentence very often, unlike Omid Djalili who starts every ‘comedy’ sketch with ‘As an Iranian I…’, I don’t say it because I feel it is superfluous but this is one of times I feel compelled to put my gender in context with my passion, the passion of football.

According to the article there was no evidence of sexism in football from the BBC documentary.  I agree that the programme was quite woolly but to say there was no evidence is clearly blind, deaf and dumb.

There are a number of women working in the upper echelons of football but they are outnumbered by men.  I agree that a majority of ‘working women’ don’t want to work in football but that doesn’t mean that the women that do should be treated as second class citizens.  Women that have been employed to carry out a role but have been hindered because of their gender and the evidence in the programme showed some have been locked out of press conferences or meetings or there have been signs put up saying ‘No Women Beyond This Point’ within the clubs.  You might as well hand them  Panda Pops and bags of crisps and sit them out in the car park whilst the grown up’s talk.  It’s ridiculous and illegal.

Now let’s talk about banter.  I bloody love banter.  I dish out as much as I get back.  When a bloke starts calling me names I know that he has reached his limit and has resulted to ill conceived insults instead.  When some men find out I’m into football their first response is to challenge me with some form of sports quiz.  Apparently knowing what the offside rule is immediately qualifies you for your coaching badges in some men’s eyes.  My husband on the other hand, who had little interest in football, was brought into the conversation without a batter of an eyelid.  I have to prove myself to be worthy of being a football fan.  A little sexist maybe??

What often happens is that when these men realise my level of knowledge of the Bosman ruling they get a little turned on, which means I can never win because now they’re not thinking about football they are concentrating on what cup size I am.

Here’s a revelation for you.  I don’t watch the women’s game. Why?  I don’t enjoy it. That doesn’t make me sexist against my own gender it’s purely a matter of enjoyment.  Why I should have to write about something I don’t enjoy and Sian Massey have to officiate women’s games if she doesn’t want to, as indicated in the article?

Sian Massey has proved she is an excellent official.  I have no problem with any woman being an official at the match but nor am I going to give her an easy time if she does get a decision wrong.  The difference isn’t whether they’re black, white, tangerine or have a vagina, it’s whether they’re competent and consistent in how they referee.

Then we come to female sports presenters. There are some brilliant ones Jacqui Oatley (not Oakley) and Gabby Logan, spring to mind because their delivery is knowledgeable and measured.  I think the most sexist part of the article in question was when the writer said about Gabby Logan ‘ just be thankful you have a job in the game you profess to love, even though you only got it in the first place thanks to your late father and your good looks.’  Well I’m sure the most shocking aspect of that statement for Gabby would be to find out that her father is dead not that she got a job because she’s pretty.

There are however some extremely shrill female commentators that make your ears bleed when there is a build up in play.  Give me Alan Green and Gabby Logan any day of the week (but not Garth Crookes).

So to Karen Brady.  I’m afraid I can’t defend her because I think she’s bent.

Let’s leave the final words to the author of the article.

‘You see that is the thing that really irritates me. Women want to be part of this ‘man’s world’ yet are the first to complain when we act like men! So now we have to change the way we have always behaved to fit in around them.’

I would say no you have no obligation to change but with attitudes as antiquated as that the modern world will deem you irrelevant anyway. He was right in his title of the article, Sexism in Football , the whole article dripped in it ‘love’.

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