Puzzled about male reaction to women football

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Post by rwo power Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:33 am

I really wonder why there is often such a negative reaction to women football by male football fans. I would understand if they just say "Well, it's not my thing, so I don't watch it", but far more often, the reaction is extremely venomous and derogatory and make me wonder if there is something more behind it.

Usually the attacks against women players are not about their talent or ability, but people mainly troll around attacking the players looks (as if football is a model contest - the players are athletes and don't have to be beauty queens).

Moreover, many guys who talk down women football openly state that they never actually watched a match - or maybe 5 minutes of it.

Are male football fans somehow afraid that there are women who can play football? Or why else would they act af if they are personally insulted by the idea?

Mind you, when the first women matches were played in the 1920s, they often drew a bigger audience than their male counterparts (eg there were about 53 000 spectators at Goodison Park to watch the ladies - http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/women/4603149.stm ) and some suspicions say that the English FA originally forbade women football because they were envious at the crowds they drew as compared to the men.

Throughout history, the male FAs tried to abolish the women football games for the fishiest of reasons, and it was only in the 1970es (!!), that it was officially allowed for women again to play football.

Interestingly, one of the reasons guys give why they dislike women football is that the standard is comparatively low. But then, if the male footballers wouldn't have been allowed to play between 1920 and 1970, do you think their standard would be as high as today?

And moreover, the female game still is mostly an amateur game were the ladies have to work full-time and can only train in their free time. Imagine the top level male players having to work full time to earn their money - do you think their standard of play would be the same as you can see with the current full-time professionals? (Hint: Look at the teams of San Marino and Faroes who are only amateurs, too.)

So why is there all the venom against the ladies who prevail against all odds and play the 'beautiful game'?
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Post by The Franchise Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:08 am

I dont know about the venom. I am not blind, I can see it exists because people take their opinion much further than the game as you said.

But I can only talk about myself. I dont like womens football because it lacks the overall speed and ability of the mens game. And no amount of training can make up for it.

The game is played at a faster speed, both in terms of physically players moving faster and the speed in which the ball and decisions are made with it. Training especially wont help the former.

Also, the goalkeepers can be really really bad. Letting in slow moving high balls.

I dont think guys (again, I cant speak for anyone) are afraid that there are women who can play football. Its just an easier way to "be funny" by making and hinting at sexist comments. Many guys find those kind of jokes funny and overall, they dont take women's football seriously enough to care about the reaction to those jokes.
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Post by rwo power Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:30 am

Well, as I said, I'm fully fine with people who say they don't like women football and can give proper reasons - after all, I'm no fan of a lot of other things, too. But that wouldn't lead me to go into forums / discussions and invest a lot of time and energy to talk the stuff down.

Where I'm *really* puzzled is when certain guys (and it is usually guys, so I'll shorten it that way instead of making it gender-neutral) spend lots of time in threads dedicated to women football and claim that it is a waste of time etc.

Isn't it more a waste of time writing about something that one isn't interested in? But it seems that there must be something that deeply incenses those people so that they spend a lot of time talking/writing it down.

Moreover, I also read a lot of "That shouldn't be shown on TV as no one is interested in it anyway". This is particularly intriguing as it echoes the early attempts of the FAs to kill the women's game when they tried to forbid it.

(And moreover, at least in Germany, the TV audience is large enough that nowadays every international match of the German women NT is shown plus all matches of the Women Euros and World Cup and not only select matches as was done earlier. So you can't say "no one is interested in it anyway".)


Last edited by rwo power on Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Freeza Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:32 am

Totally agree with everything Dani said, women's football is not capable of reaching the same level as men's football. Which is why it is disregarded.
Also Men aren't afraid of women who can play football, yeah women can train their technique to be quite good, but male players are physically better 99,9% of the time. With the last being a freak of nature, that there is in some sports.
Also the attacks on players' looks, please don't act like it's only women who are insulted in that way. How many times haven't we heard "Messi looks like a midget" "Ronaldo looks like a *bleep*" "Damn Ribery is ugly" and "Dani Alves is a monkey". Those replies are just something that comes out, when they aren't able to construct a well-formed argument, or just can't tone down their hate towards something.
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Post by rwo power Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:36 am

Well, this still doesn't explain why many guys seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time actively and vociferously talking down something they are allegedly not interested in.
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Post by Onyx Mon Jan 20, 2014 7:09 pm

There's nothing wrong with women playing football. If anyone's criticising them for not looking good, well it's not a beauty contest. However I think people need to understand why the level of football is at the level it is, prior to simply criticising it.

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Post by The Franchise Tue Jan 21, 2014 12:20 am

Well I agree, its puzzling why people spend time talking down about women's football tot he degree they do.

But alot of things puzzle me. It puzzles me why the Ballon Dor exists, it puzzles me why stats are so important, it puzzles me that in 2014 we have the technology to improve the ability to get better ref decisions and intentionally dont introduce it...and so on and so on...a ton of things in football puzzles me.

But yes, I agree with you. I havent actually heard anyone say it shouldnt be shown on TV...but whoever has said that is frankly stupid because as I say to anyone who moans about things on TV, "how about you just change the channel to something else...or better yet, go read a book".
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Post by Tomwin Lannister Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:53 am

I have nothing against it, but to me it's like lower league mens football. I wouldn't watch it because

A) I have no interest in the clubs
B) The atmosphere is often terrible
C) The quality of football is low

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Post by rwo power Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:33 am

@The Franchise wrote:But alot of things puzzle me. It puzzles me why the Ballon Dor exists, it puzzles me why stats are so important, it puzzles me that in 2014 we have the technology to improve the ability to get better ref decisions and intentionally dont introduce it...and so on and so on...a ton of things in football puzzles me.
Well, and this is why these things are discussed, too. And which is why I decided to post this thread so that maybe one or the other reader might reflect on his own stance.

@The Franchise wrote:But yes, I agree with you. I havent actually heard anyone say it shouldnt be shown on TV...but whoever has said that is frankly stupid because as I say to anyone who moans about things on TV, "how about you just change the channel to something else...or better yet, go read a book".
Well, there were several posts in the Guardian's comments sections when the Women Euro 2013 ran. The posts sounded totally indignant along the line "The football broadcasts are taking up valuable broadcast time, broadcasting a knitting contest would have been more interesting" etc. - And this while in the England the BBC didn't even broadcast the Euro on one of their main channels, but on some "red button" channel, which is, as I gathered, an optional channel. (I have to admit I'm not really clear how this works as in Germany the Euro was completely broadcast in the main FreeTV programmes of ARD and ZDF, so it wasn't even hidden in some optional channels, and here it gathered quite a sizeable audience, too.)

Point is that there seem to be quite some vociferous persons who do not only not like women football and thus simply ignore it, they are actively campaigning for it to stay suppressed, and that is frankly very weird.
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Post by dostoevsky Tue Jan 21, 2014 10:28 am

Personally I've no problem with watching women's football when a game is on TV and readily available, I've enjoyed some of the World Cup fixtures I've watched but such events are generally the product of chance.

The issues are interconnected ones of emotional attachment and the commitment of time. I choose to dedicate time to following AC Milan because of the association I have established over time with the club. It is such an attachment, which I would say dominates concessions of pure entertainment value, which can drive me to forego sleep to wake up at bizarre hours in order to watch my team. Even further, I dedicate time to informing myself of matters concerning the squad, of writing upon them and discussing them with peers. Many speak of the quality of football on offer, which I would concede, however I know that I've sat through some truly awful games simply because I was watching AC Milan and I imagine many have suffered through much the same for their teams.

Due to this attachment to the senior squad of AC Milan, I concern myself even with our youth team, a squad that will produce very few top tier players, perhaps failing to find one such talent in a single year. Yet even this squad is far easier to research than the women's team of AC Milan, which a quick search reveals to be wallowing in the second tier of Italian football.

The dedication of time to not only watching but learning about football through a particular club remains the primary focus of most fans. In the same way that many learn about football through a male team, grassroots support is likely to arise through interest in a specific club rather than an appreciation of the sport as a whole, which likely to arise over time as a result of their interest in one team or even player. It is furthermore not unreasonable in my eyes to expect that most would look to support a team in women's football associated with one they follow in men's football.

Yet here we reach quite a sad state of affairs. With information regarding our women's team so scarce and the challenge of watching their games regularly even more intimidating, it's simple to forget that the team even exists. Whilst I will watch the World Cup if it's on TV, so little fanfare typically surrounds the event that I generally chance upon it on some secondary channel or as a replay on the channel that broadcasts the local league. Whilst it is admirable that this tournament can go ahead with relative success, too few national leagues command the necessary attention and coverage to advance a following along club lines. Whilst I gather from the success of their teams in the Champions League that Germany and France seem to have a more sophisticated system in place, information concerning Italy is dire and I can not speak for Spain and England.

There are deeper cultural reasons why these clubs and national leagues have never received the commercial interest, media attention, grassroots support and acclaim that would be due to a professional sports league, however that's another kettle of fish. The issue of men attacking women's football with an aggression that belies their supposed disinterest boils down to a simple state of being though. They're bored, sexist gits with too much time on their hands and nothing better to do.
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Post by McLewis Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:06 pm

I tend to fall in Dosto's general direction on this topic. I know that Roma have a women's team, but the machismo, chauvinistic attitude that is pervasive in Italy cannot tolerate any attention the women's league there would get and as such, the women's team is more of an enigma. That's something we kinda have to accept at this point.

In general, I have very little issue watching women's football. The reason for this is that I'm not actively trying to compare it to men's football. It simply is what it is and I leave it at that. We are spoiled in that we are used to watching what we perceive to the pinnacle of the sport. When you watch something that isn't quite the same, you have to adjust your expectations accordingly. Many male football fans fail to do this and what RWO described above in her OP is the result.

Moreover, I think Marta is extremely talented and one of the best women to play the sport. Birgut Prinz was an absolute beast in her prime as well along with Abby Wambach now and Alex Morgan in the future. They are all extremely talented players and comparing them to Messi, Ibra, Ronaldo etc is just not very productive.

I am not an active follower of the Chicago Red Stars (of the newly formed National Women's Soccer League), but I do keep up with their results and will watch some of the games when available, just as I do with the Chicago Fire in MLS. For me it's about supporting your teams locally. I plan to do the same for Detroit's teams, one who plays 2 tiers below MLS and another that plays in the national indoor league, and would do the same if they developed women's teams. As an American, I not only follow the US Men's team, but I also care enough to follow and support the Women as well. And though they often derided by male American sports fans, it's secretly a source of pride that we have a women's team ranked as one of the top teams in the world in a sport we didn't even invent. Very few men are going to admit that, but I think that's very true.

I think that's what is to be a true fan of the sport. To watch and find interest in it at as many levels as possible. To be able to go from Barnet to Pescara to Atletico Madrid and then back down to Real Salt Lake on down to the Atlanta Silverbacks. I want to continue to develop myself as a purist in that way. Not only watching, but actually enjoying women's football for what it is, is just another step.
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Post by rwo power Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:34 pm

@McLewis
In a way it is a pity that in Italy the women teams receive so little recognition. Did you know that the Italian Women NT was one of the pioneers in international women football? They had their first official match in 1971. In comparison, the first official match of the German Women NT was only in 1982* (against Switzerland, as tradition demanded Smile).

One Italian club team (Torres Calcio Sassari) made it into this year's Women's CL quarter final, too. (the QF matches take place on 22/29 March 2014, btw.)

BTW, talking about clubs - I think it is a shame that the Arsenal Ladies are not exactly taken seriously by most English guys as they are usually a force to be reckoned with, too.


(*) Fun fact, as taken from Wikipedia: "Other football associations had already formed official women's national teams in the 1970s, while the DFB long remained uninvolved in women's football. In 1981, DFB official Horst R. Schmidt was invited to send a team to the unofficial women's football world championship. Schmidt accepted the invitation but hid the fact that West Germany had no women's national team at the time. To avoid humiliation, the DFB sent the German club champions Bergisch Gladbach 09, who went on to win the tournament. Seeing a need, the DFB established the women's national team in 1982."
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Post by sportsczy Wed Jan 22, 2014 3:36 pm

The issue with women's footy is the same as with women's basketball for example:  The difference in pace and quality is so extreme that i can't really get into it.  I also feel that the women's game is far less tactical.

On the other hand, you have women's tennis... it's still very fast and it's actually more varied tactically than the men's game today.  I actually enjoy watching women's tennis more than the men's very often.

There are also other sports where the women's competition is better than the men's... for example, women's gymnastics is a lot better than men's gymnastics imo.  

etc.

For me, it's about choosing what entertains me and what doesn't.  Nothing to do about men or women really...
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Post by Freeza Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:04 am

Women's gymnastics better? please define which gymnastic disciplines you're talking about, because I have gone to a gymnastic school. And the boys were far better than the women, both in rhythmic gymnastics and tumbling.

I actually enjoy watching women's football sometimes, especially when the USA are playing. But it's hard to get interested in club football, the level is not really that competitive. Maybe it can improve at some point in time.
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Post by Robespierre Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:35 am

@McLewis wrote:I tend to fall in Dosto's general direction on this topic. I know that Roma have a women's team, but the machismo, chauvinistic attitude that is pervasive in Italy cannot tolerate any attention the women's league there would get and as such, the women's team is more of an enigma.  

I confirm Very Happy
I admit to being wary about the women football , I think to not follow it even with Italy in final or Inter female to win match for scudetto

for me it is another sport. It ' s sufficient to consider the results of match
but maybe we need of an Italian Alex Morgan.
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Post by BarrileteCosmico Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:40 am

@sportsczy wrote:The issue with women's footy is the same as with women's basketball for example:  The difference in pace and quality is so extreme that i can't really get into it.  I also feel that the women's game is far less tactical.

On the other hand, you have women's tennis... it's still very fast and it's actually more varied tactically than the men's game today.  I actually enjoy watching women's tennis more than the men's very often.

There are also other sports where the women's competition is better than the men's... for example, women's gymnastics is a lot better than men's gymnastics imo.  
etc.

For me, it's about choosing what entertains me and what doesn't.  Nothing to do about men or women really...
The point rwo is trying to make is that women's football would be more entertaining if it were a professional sport in most of the world, not amateur as it is in most places. It has the potential to become more entertaining.
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Post by rwo power Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:16 am

Well, my main point was that it is weird that there are so many venomous comments against women football, especially by guys who claim that they are not interested in it.

In this thread, the discussion is refreshingly civil, albeit I have the suspicion it is mainly due to the fact that it is in the Clean Debate Section.

My point about the women game being less athletic etc due to the lack of training time as it is mainly an amateur sport was more an explanation *why* the teams are pretty far behind the men's game.

Oh, and to emphasize the point about the money - when Olympique Lyon got quite a lot of sponsor money, they immediately shot to the top of women football. It is no real surprise that this team, where the ladies didn't have to worry about how to earn their money. but could train instead reached the last 4 CL finals, winning 2 of them.

And when VfL Wolfsburg decided to give their ladies a fix job with VW that would give them a lot of time to train, they suddenly won the treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions league last season, when before you saw or heard virtually nothing of the club while they were still full amateurs. So even a comparatively little amount of money has an enormous effect in women football.
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Post by sportsczy Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:59 pm

What tennis did is that it forced sponsors to cover both sides... men and women.  You couldn't just sponsor the men's side alone.  Also, they made the prize money for men and women equal as a result.  In that case, the world organizations for the sport forced investment into the women's side.  That's what needs to happen in footy.  But i highly, highly doubt it happens.  Most administrators of footy aren't that forward thinking.

They also spent massively in making their top women players into superstars.  Granted, with some of them, it had more to do with how they looked and little to do with their tennis ability.  But who cares.  It's the world of entertainment. Combining sports and glamor is perfectly fine by me.

I wish this happened in footy too...  i think that women's footy can evolve.  But i don't think it will be possible in a market competitive investment/sponsorship environment.  It's going to need to be forced.
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Post by rwo power Thu Jan 23, 2014 4:35 pm

Yeah. Last season the HSV (who incidentally is Nr.17 on the current Deloitte list, but who has the most abysmal management imagineable) withdrew the successful women football department from the Bundesliga because they did think 1 Million Euros for the complete team and staff were too much, while they throw several million Euros out of the window for the men's side (by now they accumulated around 100 million Euros of debt despite being the football club with the 4th highest revenue in the Bundesliga)...
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Post by lszanto Fri Jan 24, 2014 8:11 am

@sportsczy wrote:What tennis did is that it forced sponsors to cover both sides... men and women.  You couldn't just sponsor the men's side alone.  Also, they made the prize money for men and women equal as a result.  In that case, the world organizations for the sport forced investment into the women's side.  That's what needs to happen in footy.  But i highly, highly doubt it happens.  Most administrators of footy aren't that forward thinking.

The issue with this is the disparity between mens and womens football is much much larger than the difference that was in mens and womens tennis. The other problem with this is that the reason you sponsor an event/team/tournament is to get exposure, the exposure or amount of viewers that you would get with the mens side of the game would be many times greater than when women play which is why sponsors probably aren't interested.
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Post by Peccadillo Tue May 27, 2014 3:07 am

Just to touch on tennis, I dont think you can compare sportsd like Tennis to football. Tennis is a sport which women can play exceptionally well and are not all that off the men. In fact sometimes womens tennis matches are great to watch because through their comparitive lack of power, at times they need to place a higher emphasis on placement and movement etc. Which can lead to a more interesting game than two big hitting men just smashing it back and forth from the baseline.

I dont get angry about womens football.. As a gooner, a lot of our fans are very supportive of our successful womens team. Sure we joke about it sometimes but by in-large there is support from both club and fans.

However someone mentioned before about TV rights.. I have to be honest, I and many people get annoyed when they see affirmative action devalue the efforts of those who could be more deserving.

For example.. Is it fair that a womens football club might get a TV slot, when a lower division club, who both play at a higher standard and have a much larger fan base do not? Simply because they are women?

I would say it probably isn't fair, given that average attendances in the FA WSL are about 500 - Arsenal womens have easily the highest with 1400 average.
But at the same time, for all young budding female footballers and others who are fans of womens football it's great.. Who knows maybe in 20 years time Arsenal females will draw bigger crowds and people will feel the TV rights are justified. Maybe it can evolve.

But for now, although I dont have a problem with womens football and am somewhat on the fence about this whole issue (wisely), once possible place in the male psyche which could contribute to the "anger" you describe (which I havent witnessed) could be that.. A reaction to what they perceive to be affirmative action.. Similarly, affirmative action can invoke a lot of anger in racist people. Whether anyone who has a "problem" with womens football or the mechanisms in place to promote it are "sexist".. thats really a case by case thing.

I dont think you can really judge men if they never choose womens football over mens, which is unlikely to ever happen... what possible reason would they have to wan to do this. Much like men should not ill-judge a woman for electing to watch womens football over mens.
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Post by Tomwin Lannister Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:45 am

Take gender out of the equation, and basically people who watch mens football at the highest level might just not want to watch football at a much lesser standard? For the same reason I don't watch league 1 football, I don't watch womens football because the football being played does not interest me.
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Post by Motogp69 Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:40 am

RWO for me it is less the football, I actually quite enjoy watching women's football, but it is more the audience itself that is the issue.

I have never missed a women's national team game for the U.S., but I have attended a few games and the experience resembles more a Justin Bieber concert than a football match.

I look forward to taking my own baby girl to her first game, but it's just an odd experience given the crowds that I am used to at a football match.
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Post by cyberman Tue Jul 08, 2014 1:51 pm

Because it's a poor version of what we watch.
Would you watch conference football on the tv despite a Serie a or Bundesliga game on another channel?
The women keepers are poor, no speed to the game with general poor technique.
The top teams in each league really do dominate to embarrassing degrees. The depth of talent is really shallow and not worth watching IMO.
There's nothing that interests me


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Puzzled about male reaction to women football Empty Re: Puzzled about male reaction to women football

Post by rwo power Tue Jul 08, 2014 5:48 pm

@cyberman

I think the "we" you used is a bit over the top as there are in fact people who watch women football. (Or is it the majestic plural you use?  ^^)

As for watching conference football despite Bundesliga being on - as my team is currently in the 4th division, so of course I would watch this before any BL match, if they are actually shown on TV for a change. ^^

As for poor women keepers - yeah, there are some that are not really good, but on the other hand, there are some who are excellent, too, for example Nadine Angerer who actually managed to keep a clean sheet throughout a whole World Cup and who won the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year as firsk GK to win a World and Europe PotY since Lev Yashin in 1963.

But actually this wasn't so much my point as you are of course entitled to not watch it (I don't watch stuff like Golf or baseball or stuff like that either as it just doesn't interest me) - the point was that there are often guys who comment on articles about women football who virtually seem to be frothing from the mouth insulting the sport and people who watch it as if it is something criminal to show or talk about. The reason for *that* puzzles me.
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Puzzled about male reaction to women football Empty Re: Puzzled about male reaction to women football

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