Almost four years ago, one of my first features for Daily Cannon was about the condescension of female football fans, yet here I am, years later, talking about the same thing.
As a female Gooner, I wrote from personal experience about how women often have to answer a 100-question quiz on the history of world football if they just so happen to mention that they enjoy watching the sport. Whereas, as I say in my previous piece, “any bloke can seemingly fart his way into the conversation without as much as a raised eyebrow.”
Not being taken seriously as a female fan isn’t just about pride, although of course that’s involved to a certain degree, it’s about how quickly women can be completely written off and nodded out of a conversation if men don’t deem them as worthy.
If I misquote a manager, forget something that happened in the weekend’s game or make a mistake when using statistical evidence, it’s because I’m not as clued-up as men about football. If a man does the same, he’s only human – it’s just a mistake.
As a female football writer, I’m often pulled up about nothing more than human error far more than my male counterparts. And, after speaking with over 100 women who are every bit as passionate as men about football, I’m confident in the fact this isn’t sheer coincidence.
When I set out to rewrite my original piece published almost three years ago, I wanted to simply pen an up-to-date version given my experience in the field. And by ‘the field’ I mean at the matches, on the internet and in the pub. However, when I put out a call to arms on social media, asking women to share their individual experiences of what female football supporters face, the response was, quite frankly, overwhelming and this new piece took on a life of its own.
Firstly, let me begin with how I became a football fan.
My family are Manchester United supporters and I grew up in a Chelsea-supporting village in Surrey, not far from where the Blues train.
As a result, I’ve always been around the sport and although I had very little interest in it as a youngster, this changed when I hit my teenage years. My friends were happy to teach me about the offside rule, which until this point society had led me to believe was practically quantum physics if you had a tiny woman’s brain, as well as formations, players, the Premier League and trophies.
Despite often watching games with my Chelsea-supporting friends, I soon found an affinity with Arsenal. As clichéd as it sounds, I liked the way they played and I held a fondness for Arsene Wenger and his unwavering class. Before long, I was going out of my way to watch games, openly conversing with people about how amazing Eduardo was online and religiously soaking up content from a certain Arsenal website known as LadyArse.com.
Several years later, I would find myself writing for the same site, which is now Daily Cannon.
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