Sexism In Football Since time began, feminists worldwide have demanded equal rights and yes, they’ve probably said just about everything there is to say about sexism. We all dream of the day when women and men are treated with the same amount of respect, attention and understanding. But will this day ever come? Sexism should be non-existent and football is no exception. Sexism can begin in the simplest of places; a primary school for example. Picture this, a group of boys are playing a football match in the school playground, one of the girls in the class decides to join the game.
The boys are aware of her presence, but decide to ignore this fact and continue the match around her. She approaches the boys at the end of the match and asks: “Why didn’t you pass the ball to me? ” In reply, one of the young Ronaldo-wannabes says: “Because you’re a girl. Girls can’t play football. ” What they don’t know is that, in many years to come, she will become England’s best female footballer, representing both Arsenal Ladies and the England National Team. Professional football clearly has a huge effect on society. Even as a fan of football, a woman can still be a target of sexism.
The misconception that females watch the game solely for the ‘hot guys’, is present in the minds of most men. Although this isn’t necessarily true for all women, the generalization is that all women think like this and it is both offensive and inconsiderate. It is clear to all football fans that it is pointless to support a club because of a good-looking or specifically skilful player; you have to love and believe in the whole team. It’s obvious that a woman can love a team as much as any man can, she’s capable of cheering and spurring her team on with the same amount of passion that any man could.
Football is a game that is meant to unite. Bring people together, no matter of their background or way of life. The beautiful game. So surely women should be respected and be as much of a part of the game as anyone else. Sexism at this level is fairly controllable. But it’s when it begins to affect people’s lives that it is unacceptable. Take for example, the ridiculous incident involving Sian Massey, the professional, fully qualified referee. The day when she assisted at the Liverpool vs Wolverhampton match.
After making a correct offside call, she was wrongly criticised by commentators Andy Gray and Richard Keys; who mentioned that she didn’t know the offside rule, due to the fact that she’s a woman. Yet the male referee in the Germany vs England match last year didn’t know what constitutes a goal? I don’t think anyone based it on the fact that he was a man. Atrocious. But conflict also occurs off the pitch, with supporting roles, such as physiotherapists under attack. Sexism extends right to the top of the profession, as Sir Alex Ferguson proved in 1994, when a female physiotherapist applied for a job at Manchester United.
She received a ‘hurtful and insulting’ letter in reply that was completely and utterly out of touch with modern day thinking. He even had the audacity to say that his players didn’t like the thought of women being involved in football. Surely, if a woman has the same training and experience as a man, she should have equal opportunity? 17 years on we’d all like to think that this was a one-off incident and that women do have a role on and off the pitch, but for this to happen the whole ‘laddish’ football culture needs to change. Money is a constantly debated subject in the world of football; from player’s wages to transfer fees.
But the difference in the wages of male and female footballers is ridiculous. To give you a rough idea of the extent, Lionel Messi, the best male player in the world, earns roughly ? 35million a year, whereas Marta Vieria da Silva, the best female player in the world, earns roughly ? 255,000 a year. Both these people play the same game, both represent their country and they were both recently voted as the best players in the world; the only difference is their sex. So why does Messi get paid 100 times more than Marta? There are many campaigns running all over the country to promote women’s football.
Recently, 2011 X Factor finalists, Belle Amie, visited a local girl’s football match in Birmingham. They were happy to express their feelings about the matter with us: “We think it’s really important to support women in the football industry. As a predominantly male game it’s important to remind people that women can play the sport at a high level too. ” This sort of promotion will help to develop everyone’s understanding that women have a key part to play in the beautiful game and that there is no reason why football should still be a male-dominated game.
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