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Monday, January 24, 2011

Chp 334. Football and sexism... again.

First of all, let me begin by saying I find women attractive, just like how most men do. Secondly, a personal fetish of mine – I find women in uniform to be extremely hot, especially if they are wearing football jerseys. If that is a crime, sue me.

Last Saturday, I’m sure many of you football fanatics were watching the Liverpool-Wolves match. I watched in great anticipation because Liverpool was on a L-W-L-D-D-L-W-L-L-D streak in their last 10 EPL games, and with the Arsenal-Wigan match right after this match, watching the Liverpool match was like a warm-up exercise.

Liverpool played brilliantly and eventually won 3-0, but the talk of the match was definitely the lineswoman female linesman – Sian Massey.

Yeah, everybody was talking about her on twitter and various football discussion forums as the match started. She performed really well and she definitely won my admiration. Man, she is so hot running around in that uniform and raising her flag when necessary.

Now comes the crux of this topic – sexism.

Ok fine, like most men I was fancying her and might even have objectified her. And like many men, I do make the occasional sexist joke or laugh to one, especially when I am with a bunch of guys.

But two renowned Sky Sports presenter Andy Gray and Richard Keys have taken it a bit far. Their unaired comment about Sian Massey was leaked to the press, and apparently, they said stuff like:

Richard Keys: Well, somebody better get down there and explain offside to her.

Andy Gray: Yeah, I know. Can you believe that? Female linesman. Forget what I said – they probably don't know the offside rule.

Richard Keys: Course they don't.

Andy Gray: Why is there a female linesman? Somebody's fucked up big.

Read about it here [] or you can download the audio file from here.

The Guardian too reported that they are in the firing line as criticism pours in.

Sky Sports was under pressure last night to discipline its top football presenting team, Richard Keys and Andy Gray, after they were recorded making sexist remarks about two female match officials and a leading female football executive.

And my favorite Arsenal blogger Arseblog too came down heavily on these two Sky Sports commentators, adding his trademark sarcastic criticism:

Morning all. And welcome to Arseblog now owned by Sky Sports. Gentlemen, you may proceed as normal to the blog. Ladies, please proceed single file to the classroom where you will be taught the offside rule, the difference between a ‘number 10′ and a ‘false 9′ as well as the difference between Djimi and Armand Traore, how to titter in agreement with the menz and, of course, when to make a cup of tea (with biscuits and/or cake).


It’s no real surprise to be honest, they’re a pair of smug, cocksure know-it-alls who think that they’re somehow important in the grand scheme of things. They’ve been doing Premier League football for a long time now, too long. They are outdated, half-witted dinosaurs with a bit of technology at their disposal. Their caveman attitudes are fairly typical and without wishing to go too far off point if this is the way they think about female officials (and the general understanding of the game by women).

In the football world, men making fun of women for not knowing the offside rule is probably one of the oldest and crudest jokes by men. Even I too may have written such kinda stuff many years ago –

But then as you progress, you become wiser. You stop generalizing. You start realizing what a douchbag you used to be. You discover more and more women who know a lot about football, sometimes even more than you do. And most of all, you realize sexist remarks are as bad as racist remarks.

Two of my favorite Arsenal bloggers are women: ladyarse and Sairax from ArsenalOffside. I follow them closely on twitter too. They too have written strongly against this incident.

At the end of the day, sure the number of women who know football as much as men do is still lesser, but times are a changing, and making fun of women especially about the offside rule is prehistoric and done to death.

Some men argue that their comments were just personal remarks made off the record and were not even aired. Hence they don’t deserve to be crucified for that, after all, many of us say a lot of stuff we don’t say in public or on our blogs. Well, I leave that judgment up to you. What do you think?

To make you understand my point better – picture this. The next match after this was between Arsenal and Wigan. We witnessed A LOTTTTT of wrong calls by the linesman. On many occasions where Arsenal could have scored, the stupid linesman raised his offside flag. TV replays clearly showed that Arsenal players were not offiside again and again. Even the commentators said the errors the linesman was making were too much.

Yes. $hit like this happens in football all the time. To err is human and linesmen make the wrong call frequently and we just abuse them. And then we move on. Now imagine the linesman in that Arsenal match was Sian Massey from the previous match. Would we still say “stupid linesman” or would we be using a different adjective and pronoun and stereotype? To err is woman?

Sometimes, a little introspection can reveal a lot of things we don’t know about ourselves.

Football – Say no to racism. Say no to sexism. Spread the love.


marvinic said...

I love this Say no to sexism. Spread the love

Jona said...

Talking of football, 'sexism' and offside rule, I remember one of my favourite sports movies- "OFFSIDE" an Iranian movie about a group of girls desperate to watch the Iran-Bahrain world Cup qualifying match in Tehran.

Apparently, Iranian women are not allowed to watch men's football matches in the stadium in Iran "because the men swear." But Western women can watch!! Some of the girls who came disguised in male attires (desperate fellows really!) got arrested, and argued with the security guys about morality, etc, etc.

Anyways, women and football make good match; you don't have to leave alone your girlfriend to watch football, instead watch together, and support the opposite teams ;)

Keir said...

You said it yourself, Kima- the comments were unaired. They weren't promoting their views to others. Women with no direct League experience given the token spot to ref men's football should expect to be called on it rather than be coddled by the powers that be.

illusionaire said...

@ marvinic: :D

@ Jona: There are women who don't understand football, and then there are those who really do. And trust me, having a girlfriend who understands your passion for football is way better than having one who doesn't. lolz. :)

illusionaire said...

@ Keir: Thanx for the comment Keir. Well, when I first heard the news, my first reaction too was, "hey, why the hell are people poking their noses into a conversation that was made in private?"

But then I thought about it. This girl isn't just another girl who doesn't understand football. She's a qualified official who had officiated many FA matches and FIFA World Cup matches, and I just learnt that this is the second time she is officiating the premier league.

By insulting her that way, these so called football pundits are not just insulting her and the board (who consider her qualified enough to officiate a premiere league match) but are also putting a serious question on their level of expertise.

And about the talk being private, since it was off-air, none of the TV viewers may have heard it but since the microphone was on, everybody in the studio apparently heard them. I'm sure this infuriated many of them, and hence the reason why this unaired clip was leaked to the press.

Like I said, I am no angel when it comes to sexist jokes. I cannot throw a stone at these two commentators (let he who is without sin cast the first stone), but I will be mighty glad if others do. :)

Alejendro said...

Would she mind getting a little bit offside on the bed? :-P