Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Fight for Acceptance: Women In Football

Hello people, it's been a long time! (In fact, I'd say far too long!)

I haven't written a blog post in some months now, but despite this, it isn't because I couldn't be bothered - it was more because I was struggling to find an issue to actually address without seeming repetitive, or like I was ranting. It was only yesterday when I saw an article on Eva Carneiro and Chelsea calling for an end to sexism in football that I realised this issue still does need to be tackled. Much to my dismay, we are well into 2015 and still, still women are being dehumanised, desensitised and objectified due to their gender. We don't choose what gender we are when born, nor what race, species, sexuality or even what religion in some cases. Despite this, acceptance for all isn't happening. To put things back into context: men have gender privileges, simple as. Just because an environment (such as the game football, in this instance) is male-dominated, that does not make them superior. 

For those who don't know, Eva Carneiro is Chelsea FC's first team doctor and has been so for a number of years now. Being born in Gibraltar to a Spanish father and an English mother, it became clear to her what she wanted to do career-wise, as when she was just 16 she knew she wanted to pursue a job working in the medical department. "...women want to be leaders..." she said at a Swedish medical conference last year. She finished that particular sentence indicating how oppressed women were, due to the unwritten rules of society. You might think this doesn't concern you, perhaps because you aren't female, or perhaps because you yourself have never been on the end of sexist abuse, however it was Desmond Tutu that once said "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.".

So, what exactly happened with Eva? She was victimised by having vile abuse hurled at her. Two nights ago, the BBC broadcasted a clip of some Manchester United and other Manchester City fans shouting things like "Show us where you p**s from, you s**g, show us your m***e." Of course, this really isn't acceptable. These male and other female fans don't shout this at fellow men, such as male referees, whether because they aren't that way inclined or not is a different question. But the fact men don't receive this level of gender abuse does not mean they should be the ones doing this. The fact Eva is trying to work yet constantly is treated like a piece of meat is unacceptable. How about we start recognising her for her intelligence and compassion, instead of her assets?

It isn't just Eva (she is frankly, quite high-profile in the game) who even to this day receives such a level of abuse. Assistant referee Helen Bryne was targeted at an unspecific Football League game where fans taunted her. We know these women as figures who do a job, but what if it was our daughters, sisters, even mothers who couldn't fulfil their dreams and aspirations because they were worried some misogynistic, disgraceful beings would humiliate them to such an extent? It needs to stop. Now.

Following this abuse, Chelsea have called for an end to sexism in football and in all seriousness, this demand has needed to be made for a while now. They shouldn't be the only club wanting this either. Furthermore, the FA have urged all supporters to report sexist abuse when encountered because we can't, and we shouldn't have to tolerate this for any longer. Discrimination in a sport such as football where we are all supposedly "united" should not be happening in any shape or form, whether that's racism, sexism or dealing with non-heterosexual players. We should be embracing and accepting, not doing the opposite. Awareness is spreading of this though, thankfully. A campaign group called 'Women in Football' launched an anti-sexist social media drive yesterday, and all female staff in matchday programmes will be championed following International Women's Day, tomorrow.

However, whilst we can celebrate International Women's Day tomorrow, we need to eradicate inequality. Let's make it International  Women's Day every day, and make sure women aren't inferior, or superior either - because that isn't what I'm proposing. We just need to recognise women have every right to do the same as men without being abused. We are all humans and we are all equal. 

On that note, have yourselves a lovely week ahead. With love, 

Sophie xo 

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