I first read this article a few days ago. A lot of people would probably find it very strange how excited and overjoyed I was after reading it, but I just couldn't believe that the issue I'd cared about for so long was finally being given the media coverage it completely deserves. Ending sexism in football is something that I have been extremely passionate about since I first started Sixth Form, which was about three years ago now. I'd never really spoken to a lot of the boys in my year before, and when they all found out I was a big football fan, reactions went both ways. Of course, I have to stress that it wasn't all the boys that wouldn't take my opinion seriously. Many of them often chatted to me about the game and listened to what I had to say, but I still found it annoying that there was just as many who wouldn't listen to my opinion just because I'm a girl. Phrases that often came about were 'YOU like FOOTBALL...?!' and 'Do you actually like, go to matches and stuff?!'
Yes, I do. I'm a girl, and I really love football. I go to every home match and as many away matches as I can. What is the problem with that?
It was the week starting 20th March 2011 that I feel my opinion was properly listened to and respected for the first time. Living in a town near Leeds, pretty much every football fan supports Leeds United. On 19th March 2011, we beat them 2-0, and of course I got loads of stick for it. But by arguing the facts and explaining how we completely outplayed them in every aspect of the game, many of the boys that never gave me the time of day actually began to realise that I knew just as much as they did.
So, back to last night's program. I thought that it was done very well, and it showed the women and the issue exactly as it should have done. We don't hate men, we don't want women to dominate football, we just want to be equal. I knew there would be a lot of debate afterwards, and I knew that I'd probably get annoyed by a lot of the comments on Twitter, but some people's opinions really did shock me. What really, genuinely upset me the most was being told that this is something that women should just accept.
'It's just banter, and women should accept it.'
So Karren Brady should just accept having 'get your tits out' and 'slut' shouted at her, simply because she's a woman who works in a supposed "man's world"? These are derogatory, upsetting, offensive terms. Shouting offensive comments towards somebody of a different gender is no different to shouting racist, offensive comments at somebody of a different ethnicity. Would you tell somebody being racially abused at work that it's just 'banter' and that they should just shut up and accept it?
Another point that was thrown around was 'What about sexism towards men? That's never talked about in the media and given it's own TV program.'
The whole point of programs such as 'Sexism in Football?' is to show that any kind of sexism is completely and utterly wrong, whether it is towards women or men. It just happened to be focused around women because sexism in the football industry is currently one of the biggest cases.
There are many people that will think this whole issue is just one great big overreaction. If that is your opinion, think about just how much you love football. It wouldn't be the same without the females behind the scenes and the females that support it. And if you think football would be much better if we just left you men to it? Firstly, shame on you. Secondly, tough shit, we're here to stay whether you like it or not.