Female football pundits? Get over it!

By Will Moulton

“F*** me she’s got a vagina, get over it.”

In amongst all the misogynistic, sexist drivel on social media over the last few days, no tweet has summed up my feelings on the furore surrounding female football pundits and commentators better than this.

As a man, it’s embarrassing to see the comments written by some of my counterparts.

How in the 21st century anyone thinks it’s acceptable to belittle women in such a fashion, and for no real reason other than the fact they are female, is beyond me.

Yes people are entitled to their opinions and yes people don’t have to necessarily like the individuals used, but there is no excuse for any of the vile abuse directed their way.

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As for anyone who starts their tweet off with: “I’m not sexist but”… really?!

The thing about social media is that it gives people a platform they don’t necessarily deserve to have, allowing them to comment on things they don’t know much about.

Women’s football may not yet be at the same level as their male counterparts – and why would it be, given that the WSL has only been fully professional for less than a year – but if you actually take the time to watch you’ll see there are some incredibly talented players and teams around the world.

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For instance, watching Arsenal carving open numerous defences this season is reminiscent of the way Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been doing the same thing in the Premier League.

I’m also lucky enough to see first-hand how hard some of them work in the gym and let me tell you – it puts most of us to shame!

Football is football

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These women are the elite; they are the best players in the world playing at the very top of their game and are very, very good at it.

And even if you don’t necessarily agree with that, why does their gender mean their opinions are any less valid?

Most have been playing the same game with the same basic structure, rules, equipment and often style since they could walk – as is the case with most men.

Yet there are people who seem to think the women’s game is a completely separate entity – it’s staggering.

That’s also where the hypocrisy of their arguments starts to come to the fore.

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They take issue with women commenting on the ‘men’s game’ despite playing at the highest level possible, yet they’re happy to listen to men who have barely progressed from ‘jumpers for goalposts’.

This includes journalists, presenters, commentators and vloggers, all of whom influence our knowledge and understanding of the game every single day.

Again there’s nothing wrong with any of these individuals having their say – many of them often make valid and correct points – but why don’t the same people question why they’re given a say when they actually haven’t played at a high level?

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Why do we not criticise BBC 5Live for asking two Manchester United YouTubers most of us have never heard of to give insight into their team’s game against PSG, yet we slam BT Sport for having an open and honest discussion on using pundits who have actually played the game and know what it takes to win?

It defeats their argument entirely and this is something we should certainly be pointing about.

Female pundits are here to stay

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Beyond that, the comments they are making on social media are also ironically drawing more attention to the pundits they so clearly don’t like and therefore giving them more exposure.

By commenting on a post, it is more likely to appear in the feeds of their followers/friends and, given the controversial nature of this argument, is more likely to attract their attention.

So rather than forcing these women off our screens and out of our consciousness, they’re actually making us more aware of them!

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Despite all the negativity, what has been refreshing to see is the high volume of men defending the likes of Rachel Brown-Finnis and Alex Scott, recognising the honest, insightful and accurate analysis they bring to our viewing experience.

It proves that there is a majority who appreciate the superb work these fantastic women are doing alongside their male counterparts.

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One day, hopefully, we won’t even notice the gender of our pundits because it just won’t matter to anyone anymore, as long as they’re good at their job.

Because there is only one real difference between the two.

Women have vaginas. Get over it.

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