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Sexism rears its ugly head once more in coverage of Women’s Football

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brimsonYou may not have seen the latest article to rubbish women in football, but Dougie Brimson has excelled himself with this diatribe on the women’s game and generally women interested in football. Now whether he is looking for the shock factor or trolling is not the point, nor is the blatant sexism that oozes out of every sentence in his piece – the point is who allowed it to be published on their site in the first place.

Scotzine has been at the forefront of covering the women’s game in Scotland for around four years now and we have seen a vast array of comments posted on the site, on social network sites and even in mainstream newspapers. But you would not expect a website that claims to bring you the best coverage of the women’s game in Scotland and who had worked with Scottish Women’s Football, as well as attending the brand launch of the SWPL last month – to be the place where a troll like Brimson would have his work published. But you would be wrong.

Recently we had Gordon Parks feel the wrath of women in sport, and specifically women in Scottish football who belittled him and made him look a bigger fool on national television over his sexist and derogatory comments about women’s football. Parks, to his credit, took part in a training session with Hamilton Accies WFC and changed his tune.

But when so-called promoters of the women’s game resort to publishing such tripe it is unforgivable. Despite their claims that it was published to ‘debate’ and that their site ‘has been all about opinions, whether we like them or not’. Would they publish racist, sectarian or homophobic content in the pursuit of debating such topics – whether they like it or not? No, I didn’t think so.

southwickThankfully, one contributor to their website and a former contributor to Scotzine pulled The Away End and it’s editor Andrew Southwick up on the publication of said offensive article. Adam Henderson, on his twitter page, commented: “Is this some sort of joke? Why is that on the site? Are we not trying to promote women’s football? I can understand someone questioning women’s football but that was just really sexist.”

Kudos to Henderson for tackling his editor head on in what is, in my opinion, a blatant attempt at increasing hits on the site for short-term gain. Things must be tough.

Brimson in his article, stated: “…. I was recently asked to write something on the issue of women and football and I am of the firm belief that the two don’t mix. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say that never the twain should meet.

“For when a female enters the dynamics of the terrace, everything changes. I for one will never swear in front of a woman if I can avoid it and I certainly wouldn’t utter some of the more colourful words I tend to use at games.

“Furthermore, for whatever reason I tend to moderate my behaviour if a female is near by because like most men who attend games, I know I act like an idiot and whilst it’s accepted behaviour amongst my peers, I don’t particularly want or need a woman to see it. In short, the presence of a woman dilutes the match day experience for me and kind of negates the whole point of going. And don’t think for one second I am alone in that thinking. Ask your other half if he would prefer to go to football with you or with his mates. On second thoughts, don’t. We’ll discuss that later.

“To be honest, I have never really understood why women have latched onto football anyway. Fair enough, most football grounds are enveloped in a testosterone frenzy every Saturday which must have an attraction of sorts whilst I also have an inkling that since most female football fans are more HAG than WAG, it’s crystal clear that the terraces are almost certainly the only place where they will ever find themselves surrounded by hundreds of men! Let alone find themselves in close proximity to millionaire footballers!

“There is even a school of thought that the main reason why this has happened is that it’s a spoiling tactic. The thinking being that in the same way that marriage is clearly an institution invented by women FOR women, football is a game played by men for the enjoyment of other men. And since all men know how much women like to stop us enjoying ourselves, what better way of doing that than by invading our sanctuary.

“To make matters even worse, we now have legions of women claiming to ‘love’ football. Er… no!

“Women can’t love football, at least not in the same way as a man can. The reason being that since she can never have played the game (and no matter whatever anyone says, women can’t play football) she can never understand the anger and frustration that comes from knowing that if we’d have practised more, we could have been out there playing instead of on the terraces watching. So with that element missing, when a woman says she loves football, what she really means is that she likes it. She can’t really do anything more.

“Equally, the fact that they have never played the game removes any degree of authority from anything they might have to say on the actual game. How can anyone possibly comment on a player’s inability to deliver a 30 yard pass when it’s unlikely they could ever even kick a ball 30 feet with any accuracy?

“But just as importantly, one of the worst things about those women who do see fit to invade the football stadium is that far too many of them seem to feel the need to behave like we do. Given that half the time we’re doing the very things that seem to provide so much irritation to the female of the species, I don’t understand why they do that and I certainly don’t want to watch them doing it.

“It is for these very reasons that I actually prefer women NOT to like football. Not simply because there is no real chance of them ever wanting to come to a game with me, but because I don’t feel the need to have to discuss it with them.”

He added: “However, for us men the fact that women are watching the game on television does have inherent dangers. Not only do you run the very grave risk of your partner actually wanting to indulge in football related conversation but more horrifically, they might actually ask to accompany you to a game.”

Now the article goes on and on about how women shouldn’t go to football games, they can’t play football etc. Brimson is Brimson after all he does state at the start of the blog: “I am often called upon to tackle subjects which could be deemed at best controversial and at worst, downright provocative.”

We can let him wallow in his own juices, but the way that The Away End and Andrew Southwick chased after Brimson – like a dog with a bone – to publish the article and just goes to show what some people would resort too.

The wooing of Brimson started on twitter from Southwick, by asking: “Has any female player or fan ever written a response to that, out of interest?”

That was followed up by: “If you let me repost the article on theawayend – I’m sure I’ll find someone to write a response….Good man, I’ll post it tomorrow.”

A blatant piece to cause a reaction and to secure hits through shock factor nothing more, trying to jump on the bandwagon of what the Parks article did with the Daily Record potentially. However, at least with Parks he was proved wrong he accepted it and that helped women’s football gain coverage in the paper – which was non-existent at that time.

I hope that The Away End and Southwick are taken to task over the publication of that tripe – long with Brimson – but as for their claims to having the best coverage of women’s football in Scotland – sorry kid, you can kiss goodbye to any glimmer of that being true now.

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About Author

scotzine

Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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