Men worldwide have been left flummoxed by supposed recent revelations that women can in fact play football, reports have suggested.
As England’s Lionesses soared into the semi-finals of the 2017 European Championships – their second successive semi-finals in major tournaments, a feat which has not been managed by the men’s team for 49 years it’s worth noting – folks all across the country dropped their jaw in awe of the fact that the ladies actually managed it.
Though the success of the women’s team is remarkable, and long may it continue, it’s hard to argue that the joyous achievements of the team are constantly undermined by the arrogant, idiotic comments of those who aren’t willing to embrace women in sport. And don’t give me any bullshit excuse as to why it’s substandard to the men’s game, instead support it and let it continue to grow.
Constantly women in football are lambasted with how they’d attract more viewers if they embraced their sexuality, how they still deserve to earn less than men, or how refreshing it is that they actually play. It’s sickening.
Why? Because it’s not refreshing. Contrary to unpopular opinion, women’s football is a thing. It’s not new, it’s not a surprise, it’s not a fashion show or whatever other pathetic sexist slur you want to brand it as, it’s a competitive sport which is televised at the highest level regularly and taken very seriously. Sure, it’s not regarded as highly as the men’s game yet, simply because as it stands it’s sub-par. And that’s not because it’s women playing – don’t even begin to suggest I have an agenda of that style here – it’s simply because it is literal years of development behind the men’s game, something which it is actually benefitting from as it’s managing to avoid half of the mistakes which has cost our rather faltering nation many years of potential achievement.
Women’s football is in fact rather on the come up. Having seen many countries intelligently implement under 17, 19, and 21 (etc) teams, as well as youngsters worldwide having many more opportunities to participate at an age young enough to dream of having a career in the game, there’s never been a better time to be a part of the sport. It’s not quite the shock success it’s described as, moreover a well designed model of competitive recreation.
So why, in spite of the fact that the women’s game is just another sport, is it being “humoured” daily by commentators, pundits, and journalists alike? In England’s case, it may well be because we actually challenge for honours. How refreshing!
No. The truth is that the Lionesses and fellow countries are still being viewed from a sexist perspective. “They’re not men, but they’re actually quite good. How refreshing!” As if it isn’t the day job of the majority of these women. A number of the featuring countries in the 2015 World Cup spoke of their determination to “inspire a nation”, the next generation of stars, or even mediocre players who appreciate the game nonetheless. The underlying fact is, however, that it’s still a growing battle for equality in the women’s game. It’s time that they were taken seriously, and judged on their performance and not their bloody looks. Because they’re fantastic players. All of them. It’s becoming irrelevant that the standard isn’t quite yet that of the men’s, because the women’s game is developing at such a rate that they could quite easily level the playing field in just a few years.
So journalists, commentators, and pundits alike, stop and think next time you decide to speak: exactly how refreshing is the women’s game? Or more so, how oblivious and naive have you been to the quality of it for such time? Watching world class players face off against each other shouldn’t be the glass of water to the face you describe it to be, and it isn’t. This is a truly competitive sport, continuing to grow thanks to the ability of the players. It’s played much more to the true nature of the game, too, with much higher emphasis on team unity and purpose, rather than individual ego and personal honours.
The Lionesses may not be the most technically gifted team at Euro 2017 but their spirit and grit is something the male game has been lacking for years. Playing for one another, they have a chance to bring home a trophy for this country which carries real weight. Perhaps if they win they’ll get the respect they deserve.
Or instead, perhaps we’ll continue to suffer through mediocre former players like Jermaine Jenas vividly describing a goal scored by the ladies which in no way accurately describes a goal scored by the ladies. Perhaps we’ll continue to listen to the likes of former FIFA FUCKING PRESIDENT Sepp Blatter (yes, that dick) say that the game would prosper more if they wore tighter shorts. Maybe we’ll look at the USA ladies team fight for pay equal to the men who they’ve so drastically outperformed, and we’ll pretend they don’t deserve it.
No. It’s time people stand up and embrace women’s football. Accept the contribution they make to the game and to the country. Welcome the success that they could bring with further funding. Inspire young girls all over the world to follow their passion and become well paid professionals in a legitimate career path, like blokes have been doing for decades. Challenge ANYBODY who says that they don’t deserve to be taken seriously. Because – if nothing else – they’re doing it better than us, lads.