I myself am a female football fan and I have been since I can remember. I support my local team Wolverhampton Wanderers, of whom I am a season ticket holder. This has exposed me to a lot of issues that have affected me as a female football fan. Within this presentation I am going to explore three main themes which are: stereotypes, representation and identity.
Over the years women have had to endure many sexist opinions from males, and have been seen as inferior to men this is also applicable to the sport of football as I am going to explore now.
In my own personal experiences I have been interrogated about the different rules and regulations that football has just to prove that I am worthy to support my local team whereas my male peers are all happy to talk about football without checking whether they know the rules first. I’ve also been mocked for trying to input on a conversation about various different players as well as being told that I know nothing I’m just a girl. These are just some of the sexist remarks that I have to face just because of my gender.
The FA banned Female Football under the terms: “the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged”. This quote is a sexist remark that brings with it an idea that women are of less importance than men. This banning could be the reason why women are thought to be not worthy to be fans of the game as for 48 years it was only men that played Football and a primarily followed my males only. This links to Elite Culture because in Football the FA have a lot of, power and a huge influence to what happens so the public follow the FA’s recommendations with no queries, as the FA are the Gatekeepers of football information.
The mediation for males football is phenomenal yet the women’s football coverage is almost non existent. There are programmes dedicated to highlights of daily matches when it comes to male football programmes such as match of the day, but for women there are no such things this is therefore a barrier for women’s football to be encouraged and female football fans are almost forced into supporting the male teams, as the groupthink is that men’s football is better. I believe that I have been influenced from the main male role model in my life which is my dad as I follow the same football team as him. I think the media has also had an impact on this decision as the extensive amount of coverage on male football has been a syntagm of which gender team I should support. There is some coverage of women’s football although; it isn’t as celebrated as the male football teams for example: when the women’s world cup was on TV last year it was shown on BBC 4 this channel is a digital channel so isn’t as accessible. In comparison to this even the men’s England football team friendly’s are televised on main channels like England vs. Ghana was broadcasted on ITV 1. In these circumstances Goffman is applicable because; his theory suggests that information is exchanged to conform identity and the significance of behaviour. This applies to my situation as I am forced to act in a certain way when I watch Football matches and the gender that I support is also forced onto me, so I create this ‘mask’ in terms of Goffman.
The representation of women in football & in general in significant to the way that I present myself as a female football fan, and how I mould my idea of how I need to change my identity to fit the male dominated football world.
The fact that not many women have high positions in connection to football is a syntagm that; women are not seen as important enough to be in a high position. The few women that have managed to get into the high positions have to face prejudice about whether they are worthy of the positions they have! Recently there has been a public uproar about Andy Gray’s and Richard Key’s sexist comments about the professional lineswomen Sian Massey (one of only two women officials working as an assistant in Barclays Premier League), as well as more sexist comments about Karren Brady! Karren Brady is a sporting executive, she was the managing director of Birmingham City Football Club, which in 2002 gave her the achievement of being the first women to hold such a high post in top flight English football, due to the fact that Birmingham got promoted. Karren is now the vice-chairman of West Ham United, this is one of the only women who has such a high position in English premiership football. Society seem to have a lot of respect for the women who have achieved these high posts in Football; following the publics reactions to the release tape of the sexist remarks. This applicable to me because; it shows that even women who have made their way into the big time when it comes to men’s premiership football are still not accepted fully into this male dominated world, so therefore I feel that the representation of women at all levels influences me into changing my identity so that I will be accepted into the male world of football.
The representation of women in football is a microcosm to the representation of women in society as a whole. The fact that women are seen as inferior or unworthy to men in the world of football, is a microcosm to the way that women are unequal to men in society. This is shown in the way that women are paid less than men on average, even after 30 years of the Equal Pay Act has been in place women are still receiving 18% below a males average wage, this is a factual representation that women are of less value to men in an actual sense of money.
Football is a part my culture and is one of the influences that makes me who I am although, I think that there aspects of my core self that I choose to contain when I watch Football matches. This is applicable to the Johari Window theory, the Johari Window theory explains there are four different panes/selves, in this case I change my known self, as I only show certain parts of my personae that I want to I show the parts of my self that I think will be welcomed in this area such as the more dominant and angered side of me and that is praised in these circumstances, I choose to hides parts of my identity that I think will be mocked in this environment such as anxious or worried aspects that will lose me respect in this male dominated environment, and therefore these are things that I am consciously aware of, the blind self is the aspects of myself that I unconsciously allow to be shown about my core self, this is the area that I try to conceal from the rest of the male environment as much as I can. The hidden self would be the aspects of my core self that I successfully hide from the public so that I blend into the background and in turn become expected into the dominant environment of a Football match I aspire to hide aspects of my identity that will be mocked in the football match environment things like; being quite and timid as these are characteristics that are looked down on in this setting. The blind self would be the same in anyway situation as these are parts of my self identity that I am unaware of as well as others being unaware of, and therefore do not change in this environment as I am unconscious of these aspects in general. The reasons why I feel the need to change these aspects of myself may be because of the ways that women are represented in Football in a general sense, as women are unrepresented in football in various different ways, I've already explored the ways that they are unrepresented in the media and also, the amount of women who work in a football or sport environment are few this effects me as I see that women are not excepted in this environment in any form so this encourages to try to evolve so that I will be expected while at the Football match.
My identity is affected by the football as it is a part of my culture, my identity is adapted in the football environment as I’m going to explore now.
When I watch Football I think that my identity changes I consciously choose to converge to become more like the males around me, I try to use language that is applicable to Football terminology, as well as the changing the paralanguage which I would normally use as I change the speed tone and volume to suit the setting. These are all decisions that I take into consideration so that I blend into the background. I think I do this so that I am accepted in this male dominated environment, this is applicable to Cooley as his theory explains that we create different versions of ourselves based on the opinions and reactions of others. This applies to me because; I change my identity so that males will except me in their environment as a valued and knowledgeable member, the Looking Glass Theory is specific to my situation as I consciously adapt myself so that I think that people will except me especially males, I change my appearance in ways that I think will help me to be seen as the ‘norm’ within the specific enviroment. I specifically change the clothes that I wear so that I won’t stand out for example; sometimes I wear the teams shirt as this is a frequent style that a lot of other people follow so this helps me to blend in, I try not to wear any colours that are stereotypically associated with being a girl such as pink, as this will make me stand out from the rest of the crowd which is what I try not to do when at a match.
In order for women to be accepted more into the male dominated world of football there should be 3 main things change: the media should make an effort to celebrate and publicise woman’s football. This will show people that there are women’s teams and make it more public about the achievements they are making and more female footballers will become a household name. There should be more women accepted as officials and assistants in the Barclays Premier League as this will help women officials to be accepted as equals. Women football teas should push for more support from society, so the games become attended by more which will in turn bring media coverage with it. These three points will help football to become more accessible to women, and will create self esteem among women to attend matches without feeling the need to adapt their identity how I feel I need to when I am hurtled into the world of football.
Chloe Hamilton Being a Female Football Fan
Stereotypes “ A mould into which reality is poured, whatever its individual shape. A stereotypes is a simplified and generalised image of a group of people, which is created out of the values, judgements and assumptions of its creators, in most cases society itself.”
Investigation of Women and Football It is perceived that Women don’t know Football simply because; we are of a different gender. Females have been playing Football since the game has existed women played; Tsu Chu in China since 255 BCE yet somehow we are still inferior to knowing Football. The fact that women have been following some sort of Football since the beginning surely must mean, that we as a gender have knowledge on this sport? There are the odd rules and regulations that women may not be fully understanding of but this doesn’t mean that we still can’t appreciate Football as an entertaining sport can it? I believe that it doesn’t! Surely there are some men out there who watch Football but are not completely sure of all the rules and regulation that Football inhabits.
Where do these stereotypes stem from? There are various different reasons why men have created these stereotypes and one of these reasons is the FA. In 1895 women’s Football was recognised by the FA after 30 years of women battling for them to be recognised only for this revelation to be demolished 26 years later in 1921. This could be the course to the prejudice that women face today as women’s Football was not recognised until the WFA was formed with 44 members in 1969, which then led to the FA lifting the ban of women playing on the grounds of affiliated clubs.
Football Microcosm “ On average, for every £1.00 a man earns, a woman gets only 82p across both the public and private sectors.” “ In the banking and insurance sector, male pay averages are approximately £18 per hour, whereas women receive just under £10.50. ” “ Women's earnings remain 18% below male wages 30 years after the equal pay act.”
How the Representation of Women Affects Me MEDIA SOCIETY VALUE
Identity “ The sense we have of ourselves, which we then ‘represent’ ‘elsewhere’: a person’s social meaning.
What Needs to Happen?! Media More media coverage of women's football! Jobs For Women being accepted in the Barclays Premier League as officials. Fans There should be a push for support, for women’s football teams.