Why is sexism still rampant in sports?
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Comments on Just Eat’s TikTok video celebrating 101 new girls and women’s grassroots soccer teams across the UK show just how far we have to go in the women’s game.
It cannot be denied that in recent years, the landscape for the women’s sport has finally begun to change. This year, in particular, it looks like the women’s game is moving from strength to strength.
next week, The famous Tour de France – the Tour de Femmes – is having its first women’s branch. The W Series – All-Female Racing Championship – Recent Viewership exceeded 1 million At Silverstone weekend, it became the largest motorsport spectator in the UK outside F1 since 2014. And, earlier this month, the inaugural event at the Women’s Euro set a new attendance record England beat Austria 1-0 at Old Trafford with 68,871 fans.
Not only this, but for this year’s championship, Wimbledon made changes in the roll of honor – Removing the title before the name of your women’s champion Corresponding to the presentation of the male winners of the tournament.
It’s a pivotal year for female athletes – so why is sexism still so prevalent in sport?
Yet, despite the undeniable excellence of female athletes around the world – and the unstoppable rise of the women’s sport, much is still wrong. Especially on social media.
Fitness Instagrammers health made the reel twice Last week called for some comments on the Just Eat TikTok ad. The ad, in partnership with UEFA Women’s Euro 2022, begins by explaining that “101 years ago, women’s football was banned in the UK” but now “it is bigger and better than ever”.
In the video, Just Eat announced that they are launching a new initiative to encourage girls and women across the UK to take off their shoes and kickstart 101 grassroots women’s teams to get them on the pitch. Something we all can – and should – get behind.
Yet, when you scroll through the hundreds of comments, most of them are negative, anti-feminine, and full of hate. “The good old days,” says one—when women’s football was banned.
“There should still be,” says another TikTok user. “If we could go back in time”, “Life was good 101 years ago”, “Bring back the past”, “Men are better”, “Should stay that way” … and go on and on.
“I saw the video for Just Eat on women’s football and thought, ‘This is amazing.’ But when I saw there were so many comments – over 500 – I had this sinking feeling, I knew they would all be terrible. ,” says Emily Keir, half of Twice the Health. “When I read the comments, I was not shocked, or even surprised. I was just angry. ,
“There was no retaliation, just comment after comment. What I found was the amount of negative comments – these guys went out of their way to write how they wished they could go back to the ‘good old days’ when women were not allowed to play football. They weren’t even talking about our ability to play the game, just that we shouldn’t,” Keir says.
“Within my little bubble of sporty friends, we often talk about ways to champion the women’s sport – especially with the Tour de Femme this summer – but we all know that this kind of negativity exists. And such comments keep coming.”
So how does this abuse end?
Sue Anstiss MBE, author of Game On – The Unstoppable Rise of Women’s Sport And the founder and CEO of Fearless Woman says it all starts with education.
“It’s about educating men to appreciate that as the women’s game grows and thrives and flourishes and becomes more successful, it’s not taking anything away from them – we Not splitting the pie,” she shares.
“They’re not going to get less coverage, less visibility, less funding for their teams,” she says.
Football fans, in particular, she explains, feel particularly protective over football as ‘their game. “It’s not an excuse by any means, but there’s certainly something around that tribalism where men feel very protective of football and therefore denigrate and belittle the women who play it, making them stand out among their peers.” And feel better in myself,” she says.
“Without a doubt, there is more to football than any other sport I have ever seen – be it rugby or cricket or MMA – anything else. Football is the worst of all sports – it’s everywhere, but there’s more to it.”
Of course, there will be a small number of people who are anti-feminist or racist or intimidated by homosexuality, but for those who truly believe that football is not for women, there will be hope to see the quality of the women’s game. It will help in changing their mind and attitude.
Women’s Euro 2022 is being shown on BBC and Sky and on mainstream television, “so that people can see it’s an incredible product, which might not look like the sport they saw 20 years ago,” says Anstis. “The quality and standard have improved in a big way.”
And if you can’t get them to watch sports, show them how great it is and the benefits of women’s sports, “you may be able to get their voices out there by being overwhelmingly positive,” she says. Huh. “Call them out, count on partners—both men and women—and swap messages with things like ‘this is awesome’ and ‘I love this’ to spread positivity and make more noise.”
If you see hate on social media you can definitely block, mute and report it. “I don’t think it’s a total solution,” says Anstis. “But – we hear of some female athletes being abused online – blocking it and not listening to it makes a difference. People are submitting these comments simply because they want a response and a response, and Sometimes they even cut and paste what others have said because it looks like they will attract attention.”
The internet can, at times, seem like an echo chamber built for raising trolls and lewd comments. “Social media, sadly, is a place where they can say things they would never say on the street and would never say face-to-face to a professional footballer. But social media is a tool available to people to be bad. Gives the means – enables them to behave in a way that they might not be in society,” she adds.
But it’s not all doom and gloom Is getting into women’s sportsRegardless of what these keyboard warriors write online.
“I think that as women’s sport becomes ‘normalised’ – it becomes more and more every day, and we see more sports, more coverage – that men who fear their sport will be taken away from them. They will see the positives and benefits of women in sports (they may even have daughters who experience those benefits) and the attitude will change – in fact, they are already changing,” she confirms.