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Can’t Blame a Girl For Trying


We are the few, the proud, the curvy… the women who love football. Just like male fans range from the bandwagon fan to the Ultra and everything in between, female fans come in different forms, too. Some love the players, some love the colors, some love the game, and some bleed the colors of their team. Anatomically, we are different, but we all have two very important things in common: one, we are football fans, and two, we are human beings.

Do you see 3 females or 3 human beings?

But one of these genders is not always treated like a human being. I can understand that in such a male-dominated world women would stand out a little. For example, people have no troubles whatsoever distinguishing my voice and my guests’ voices on the podcasts (hint: mine is the one with the American accent.) And I actually wrote about gender differences in the world of football a little over three years ago, but it seems like some people maybe missed that memo. Or maybe they just don’t have any experience talking to women, I don’t know. One of my favorite greetings ever was “FFS women on a football blog!” You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so I don’t suggest this as a welcome.

I understand that if a male fan takes off his shirt in celebration, there is limited interest amongst a primarily male market. Whereas if a female fan were to do the same, there may be markedly more interest in that same market. I understand the anatomical differences, I really do. But it doesn’t mean that I want to be constantly confronted with the female anatomy and your sexist comments about them on a football account. Believe it or not, some of us female fans are actually watching the game, not the players, and it really says a lot about you when you post those pics… like things your wife that you claim to adore so much may be interested in knowing, for example. But if I am to have my fanship questioned every time a player takes his shirt off to celebrate, why can’t I question yours when you post something that is really not football related at all?

She's not trying to start a conversation about Milan

And I understand that when there are so many males around, finding a female fan can be a little exciting. Anytime we find people of the opposite gender who share common interests, it’s in our nature to pay closer attention and perhaps even test the waters by flirting or something. But please understand the opposite perspective, too, that being outnumbered by a hundred or even thousands to one, if everyone tried to flirt with us, it would get really old really fast. Especially if we’re talking about injuries or lineups or tactics… that’s not an invitation for advances. We didn’t take off our shirts or ask for any kind of attention based on our gender, and we’re all just trying to love football, just like you. Maybe you could wait for us to flirt first? And if we don’t, maybe we’re really just wanting to talk football?

There are a lot of people who don’t seem to understand what sexism is or why it is so damaging, which is why I wrote “50 Shades of Sexism” about a year and a half ago. While I focused on the plight of people like Barbara Berlusconi in that article, sexism is incredibly rampant among football fans everywhere I go. Women are put down, insulted, treated as less than, threatened, and otherwise abused, simply for things as simple as sharing their opinions. Or they are treated differently based on whether or not they share photos of themselves, and their work and opinions muted in favor of comments about their looks, body type, or voice. And heaven forbid if those “compliments” that were unsolicited are not reciprocated or appreciated. Because even if all the women wanted to do was talk about football, they’ve been objectified by their male peers, and have thus lost all football credibility and are also subject to any and all abuse.

One of Milan's CEOs is not like the other

Speaking of abuse, I still marvel at the reactions to the “Girls Gone Wild” article I wrote about a year ago. In admitting the threats and abuse I had received as a woman, I received more abuse from those I anonymously “accused.” As in the perpetrators played the victim... to their own words, even though I had purposely kept them anonymous. And that's not to mention other people who believed them over me despite having the proof in black and white. God bless the rival fans who pointed out that whether or not you agree with me, it's never appropriate to threaten to rape a woman. That should have been the first and most obvious point derived from that post. Yet if I had the “proper” anatomy to be a football fan, none of this would have ever happened in the first place.

But how do you know, you ask? People try to tell me maybe it’s just me, not my gender. Maybe people actually don’t like what I say. Sometimes, that may be true. But more often than not, it happens that I’ll say something and be abused for it, yet my male counterparts will say the same thing and have either no response or a positive response to the exact same opinion, often by the exact same people. I am often told how to think, what to do, who I must be friends with, what to say, and plenty more. I am called names directly associated with my gender, insulted for having the audacity to speak at all. None of these things ever happen to any of my male counterparts. But it seems that no matter where I go, there are always men ready to put me “in my place.”

Sure, Milan signed her now, but what will they do with her in 4 years? 6? 8? 10?

And yet here I still am. More than four years later, still writing about Milan, making podcasts, and terrorizing Twitter with my two boobs and a vagina. It should be obvious by now that I have no plans of stopping. The abuse I’ve received is ridiculous, and speaks more for the need for more men to start behaving like real men than anything about me or my gender. I am not a feminist at all, I simply want to be treated like a human being. Someday, maybe my daughter will be a football fan in her own right, without being abused or being asked for pictures or threatened or being hit on or told how sexy her voice is instead of people acknowledging what she says. Or maybe it will be her daughter… or maybe never. Because at the rate we’re going, sexism is far more prevalent than racism, though it is rarely even acknowledged. And we all know how well the fight against racism is going. Still, you can’t blame a girl for trying.


This post inspired by the music of Garbage’s “Stupid Girl”


Our next match is
Milan vs. Sampdoria
Sunday, April 12 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)