It’s Time to Give Women’s Football the Respect It Deserves

A simple search for women’s football on any video or social media platform inevitably brings up two categories of videos. We either have the comedy videos with footballing mistakes, Piers Morgan spouting rubbish and pieces on why women athletes should not be paid as much as men, or the other category which is the objectifying kind. For someone looking to become acquainted with the rising power that is women’s football, it is daunting, no matter if we are talking about a male would-be fan like me or, even worse, young girls looking to watch clips of their favorite players. 


So, this is why I think it’s best, that I, a man, should lecture everybody on why this happens. It seems that any insecure guy with a platform has decided to go on some kind of crusade in order to prove to everybody that the athletes who have the same biological composition as them are better than everybody else. The very same athletes, who don’t even know or care that these idiots breathe, are hero-worshiped and put on pedestals and if somehow allegations against them come out it is always somebody else’s fault.


With the same levels of mania displayed as 15-year-old girls when it comes to their favorite K-Pop band, some male football fans see the women’s game as a threat and an affront to the male game, despite the two being wholly separate and very different.  This perceived affront is in no part brought about by the increased popularity and success that the female part of football has received over the recent years.


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Landmark sold-out games in the Camp Nou, an increase in viewership figures and the 2022 equal pay agreement in the US have supercharged female football and no doubt irked many incels. We seem to be headed to a sporting landscape similar to that of tennis, where both male and female players are almost equally respected and revered and gather roughly similar crowds and sponsorship earnings.


This future is what scares the reactionaries, a future where they would be acutely aware of the fact that a woman athlete is better than them. After growing up and being basically told that you are better than half of the world’s population by default, the reality check that life gives you can be pretty harsh.


Some realize that the value of a human being transcends their gender or social status and go on to become normal people who can integrate into society, some remain firmly rooted in their mother’s basements persuaded by the internet that the world is against them. Their hatred thus gains many outlets, especially on the internet, with some of them, who are football fans zeroing in on this niche with the reasons for their hatred becoming apparent, namely insecurity and frustration.


These two sentiments usually come from a sense of unfulfillment and lead them to grasp at straws in order to either justify their failings or convince themselves that it’s not all bad and that there are lesser people out there than them. However, when those perceived lesser people are winning Champions Leagues in front of packed stadiums and appear in adverts everywhere their worldview takes a hit.


Basically, it boils down to the fact that a girl can be better at football than you, which is a hard pill for most men who take pride in their gender to swallow. In order to avoid this cataclysmic realization, they start employing more levers than Barcelona to justify in front of the world that any male is inherently better at football than the best professional female player.


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Armed with this hatred they scour the internet to find the most comical mistakes female players have made, seemingly forgetting that male players continue to drop absolute howlers at every level of the game from the Vanarama National League to Champions League finals. Alongside this highlight reel of hatred, we find the usual content portraying female players as sex objects.


What I find particularly funny is that those videos elicit the response that they are not professional athletes that should be taken seriously seeing as they post or appear in material that displays their natural beauty, once again forgetting that almost all professional male footballers have done countless ads for underwear. 


As with any shift in society a paralytic fear surges through some of its members that do not wish to accept the changes. However, as history shows us those are usually the ones that get left behind and ultimately end up being ignored, which is the perfect way to deal with them.


By: Eduard Holdis / @He_Ftbl

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Getty Images