Wednesday, 26 January 2011

I, Sexist

So there I was fighting the good fight.

It's the day following Andy Gray's sacking from Sky Sports for sexist comments made about referee's assistant Sian Massey and toward Sky Sports presenter Charlotte Jackson. I was just in the middle of explaining to a colleague of mine that football is not the impenetrable bastion of machoism that it would like itself to be, and that women are involved in far more important and more physically demanding pursuits, when the tide turned against me once more.

As regular readers will know, my path is strewn with cow-pats from the Devil's own herd. So it is unsurprising then to note that, when the conversation turned toward the possibility of a female actually playing, rather than officiating, in a professional men's football match, I turned out to be the sexist. You see I just wasn't having it. For all it's namby-pamby awful-ness, football remains a reasonably physical game. Whether we like it or not, the woman has not been born yet who is strong, fit (in the aerobic sense of the word) and fast enough to compete alongside men on a football field.

These issues are far less relevant when it comes to officiating, hence Sian Massey was able to do an excellent job during the Wolves v Liverpool match last weekend. Yet this part of the conversation becomes but a distant memory, a myth that old people might tell their grandchildren, because someone chose the inopportune moment just after that to walk into the office. This person happens to be a University academic and a regular reader of this column. I vaguely remember her hitting me over the head with something which, looking on the bright side and given the amount of information about our conversation that she had access to, could have been something a lot heavier.

I just feel wronged by all of this. I have colleagues who think that women should not even be allowed to go and watch football because they think that somehow they don't belong. That their poor little ears might bleed if they are exposed to a few thousand morons who fritter away their hard earned money screaming at millionaires they could never hope to connect with. If Massey had any fears about some cretin shouting 'gerrum out, love!' from a few yards behind then I am sure she would choose another career path. Football, the self-styled national obsession, is blinded by it's arrogance if it genuinely believes that women have no place in it.

And that's really all. Hardly an Earth-shattering return to form blog-wise but slowly, slowly. Or something. I have shamelessly used this column to set the record straight, the pity of that being that the real sexists in this office would no more read my blog than they would take their daughters to the match.


Sudohnim said...

To be fair Ste, the slap to the head was a mildly patronising "there, there young man, you carry on with your view". I have to be honest, I didn't really engage with the discussion because my head was up my behind at the time. That said, having thought about it a bit... I still think you're wrong. I don't agree that the woman who can play competitively in premier league football hasn't been born yet. Up and down the country on back streets and in Sunday leagues, little girls give the lads a run for their money (I know, trust me, I was one). The problem is, football, whether we like it or not, from grass roots up is a sexist sport. Talent scouts don't scout for little girls - so they're not picked for first teams. So their playing career never gets to beyond girls team footie. I personally couldn't care less about football. Tell you what though... listen to the lads whinge about not being able to enter the "Race for Life" ... sexism works both ways in my book.

As for Sian Massey... well, like you said, I doubt she would do the job if she thought a bit of sexist banter would upset her. Whats most annoying about this whole debacle is the people who are offended on her behalf!

That said, Andy Gray needed to go. He's just gross nevermind sexist. Offering a co presenter to tuck his d*ck in his pants for him is just plain gross and if a comment were made like that by either bloke or woman, it should be sackable, which is why he is now, where he is. You makes yer bed and all that :)

Stephen Orford said...

Very interesting. Turns out I AM a sexist then. I'm disappointed.

Agree with you about Gray though. Creepy stuff really, and a little bit beyond mere 'banter'. It might not have been so gut-wrenchingly awful if Charlotte Jackson had been in on the joke but she seemed to be doing her best to ignore that he existed.

And..........crime of all crimes........Andy Gray and Richard Keys were crap!

Thanks for reading.

Sudohnim said...

I don't think you're sexist (not based on one football discussion anyhow). But maybe you did need more info :)

There's a difference. Oh also... as for the people in the office... well, burn me for saying it but I rather suspect that for them there was more comedy value in a disabled bloke being sexist (ie you're not allowed) than anything else. People at work get on my pip at times. Sad but true.

Stephen Orford said...

To be honest I start most of the disabled jokes in the office. You might think it an odd way of dealing with it but I find it takes that weapon away from them before they even get started. Not that I'm suggesting that anyone would make those sort of jokes off their own bat. It's just better for me to take that option away from them before we start.