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Unacceptable But Unsurprising Assault: How the Challenges of Women's Football Goes Beyond Sexist Stereotypes

by Oana-Maria Moldovan

Society has long marginalised women in sports, football is a good example for it (being perceived as a “man’s sport”), creating a divide between men's and women's football that is deeply rooted in gender inequality.

Women's football has been underrepresented, underfunded, and undervalued for far too long. Despite this, women have continued to defy the odds and fight for their place in the sport.

Women's football has faced numerous challenges, including pay disparities, lack of media coverage, and limited opportunities for development and competition.

These obstacles have hindered the growth and recognition of women's football, often leaving many talented female athletes without proper support or resources.

However, the tide is slowly turning. Women's football has seen a rise in popularity and support in recent years, thanks in part to events like the FIFA Women's World Cup (we’ll come back to this in a bit) and the increasing visibility of female footballers.

Achieving true unity, teamwork, and cooperation in football requires bridging the gap between men's and women's football.

It requires equal opportunities, funding, and acknowledgment for female footballers. It requires trusting women the same way we do men. It necessitates challenging gender stereotypes and creating an environment where women can thrive in this sport.

Ultimately, unity, teamwork, and cooperation in football can only be achieved when women are given equal opportunities, respect, and resources.

When will the time come to break free from the constraints of gender inequality and embrace the true spirit of the sport? Until those times will come, the dream of unity in sport will remain just that - a dream.

The reality is like this: how can you play well if the people you are supposed to trust are forcing themselves on you or your fellow colleagues?

Now, let's talk about what has actually happened.

The star Spanish football player Jenni Hermoso has formally accused Luis Rubiales of sexual assault for forcibly kissing her on the lips after the Women’s World Cup final, according to the country's prosecutors’ office.

Rubiales, who was subsequently suspended as the president of the Spanish football federation, planted a kiss on Hermoso's lips during the awards ceremony following Spain's victory over England to secure the title on August 20 in Sydney, Australia.

Rubiales has maintained that the kiss was consensual, but Hermoso, along with her players' Union, has vehemently denied this claim for the past few weeks. She has also alleged that she and her family faced pressure from the federation to publicly express support for Rubiales in the immediate aftermath of the kiss, which cast a shadow over her team's triumphant moment.

It should have been about women in sports, about women in football these weeks, but in exchange it`s, yet again, about men imposing their power on women. So the discussion is no longer about women, but about men.

Numerous individuals are raising concerns about the president's conduct, deeming it unprofessional and an infringement upon personal boundaries. They contend that it contributes to a culture of sexism and the objectification of women in the realm of sports.

Conversely, some assert that the criticism is overstated and posit that the action was merely a congratulatory gesture devoid of ill will. This incident has ignited a more extensive dialogue about gender dynamics within the sports industry and the imperative for increased respect and equality.

Now, Jenni Hermoso is accused of lying for attention both by the Spanish Federation (which published a false statement of “hers”) and by the so-called “football fans” all over the world.

Misogyny is so clearly deeply rooted in sports that, as it seems, if a woman makes it to the top of the world people would do anything to forget about her achievements.

People on the internet called her, for the past few weeks, slurs, saying that she is not good enough (she is good enough to win the Women’s World Cup final, but not good enough for anonymous users on the internet). Some even contested her womanhood. After all, a woman can't do that, right?

We can't play sports, we can't succeed in them, and if we do we are sexually assaulted and then blamed for lying about an assault that was filmed and seen by millions of people.

We should be talking about these fantastic footballers that won the World Cup, but in exchange we deny a woman her right to her body, her right to her feelings and her right to her own achievements.

Someone on the internet said that “real women do ballet”. Real women also play football, and basketball, they do boxing and play golf, and so many more sports that are considered to be “only for men”.

Edited by Emily Duff

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