The 1950s are calling

I’ve found that in many ways the UK is far advanced over the US in the rights and treatment of women: birth control, for example, is free in the UK. The Church of England allows fully ordained women. They’ve even had a female prime minister over here (even if she was vile).

However, there is still one area in which the men are ferociously sexist: football, or soccer depending on which side of the Atlantic you grew up (which is another, very tedious, debate).

Here’s an example: there is an annual football tournament at work. In previous years, teams that didn’t contain at least one woman had to pay extra money as an incentive towards inclusiveness. This year that requirement was scrapped and none of the teams chose to include a single woman. Those of us who wanted to play had to beg other women in our office to join a separate women’s team. It was a ghetto squad, to be sure, in that we were destroyed by every other team and playing us was a joke between the other teams; it felt like being stuck in a low-rent episode of Mad Men. However, it was fun.

During the tournament we talked about starting a women’s team for the regular 5-a-side company league on Wednesday nights (as there’s no equivalent league for women). I’ve just broached the subject with some of the men who play and, as you can probably imagine, the response was less than positive—there was no discussion, no rational debate, just either sarcasm or complete disregard.

The thing is, any person who is shit at football would be allowed to play as long as he has a penis. No one would ever tell a guy, even if he’s horrible, that he’s not allowed to participate in the league. They might complain about him behind his back, but there’d be no question of disallowing him the opportunity to take part. Not so much with women.

I feel like I’m in a sports movie where the men are horrible to a woman who just wants a chance, until she gets her moment and proves to them all that she, a woman, is as good as they. The problem with this scenario is that I’m actually quite terrible at football. I’m not deft enough with the ball or fast enough on the pitch. I just sort of like playing.

I’m sure that any guy reading this will protest that I don’t understand how competitive football is, how it’s in their manly blood to play to WIN and it’s more than just a game. Or something like that. And I probably don’t understand—I surely don’t respect the attitude that we must win at all costs. That way leads to hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis in an interminable and illegal war. I do like competing, I’m just not ruthless. And it bears repeating that I’m kind of crap at it.

So the truth is that I’m not really into playing with a bunch of people who don’t want me there; that stops it from being a good time (though the woman of The Citadel cry tears of shame for me). It’s just a fun thing that I’d like to do that I’m told I can’t. I don’t like being told I can’t do something. Ask my parents about this sometime.

But even more than that, I think I’m just disappointed and a bit hurt. I was expecting, or at least hoping for, better.

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~ by kellly333 on October 11, 2011.

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