CAPE TOWN – Frances Silva, a retired professional footballer, tweeted: (sic)
“Imagine winning the first EVER women’s Ballon d’Or. Then giving an unbelievable speech about how big this is for women’s football. Then asking little girls to believe in themselves. THEN being asked to twerk. [email protected]#k off dude”
The dude in question is French DJ and radio host Martin Solveig - and despite all his protests of misinterpretation and humour, he can indeed f*** off. Sport, as with society, has no place for the lack of respect shown to Ada Hegerberg at the Ballon d’Or awards.
Hegerberg, the scorer of 250 goals at just 23, in her history-making moment of triumph as the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or winner, had to be subjected to such prejudice, sexism and absolutely inappropriate crassness.
It was deplorable and another reminder of just how sexist the man’s world of sport still gets so proudly and publicly paraded. It simply can’t be tolerated.
Imagine winning the first EVER women's Ballon d'Or.— Frances Silva (@fasilva11) December 3, 2018
Then giving an unbelievable speech about how big this is for women's football.
Then asking little girls to believe in themselves.
THEN being asked to twerk. Fuck off dude. pic.twitter.com/MkbL5KZalD
Former tennis world number one and three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray was emphatic in his disgust of Solveig and the shameful way her finest moment played out.
“Why do women still have to put up with that s***?” he wrote on Instagram. “What questions did they ask (Kylian) Mbappe and (men’s winner (Luka) Modric? I’d imagine something to do with football and to everyone who thinks people are overreacting and it was just a joke it wasn’t. I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal”.
West Indies cricketer Chris Gayle got his (Australian) Big Bash T20 contract cancelled and was kicked out of the tournament for his sexist behaviour when he invited television commentator Mel McLaughlin out during a live interview and then told her “not to blush baby”.
Disturbingly, more than 50% of polls on social media felt Gayle had done nothing wrong. Equally more than 50% felt McLaughlin had done the flirting and “wanted it”.
The social media comments were cringe-like and depressing and confirmation of the continued strength within society of the Neanderthal male narcissist.
The 2018 Soccer World Cup in Russia was another reminder of how little society has progressed in acknowledging the equality of a woman to a man and also of respecting this equality in a professional working environment.
Television reporter Julia Guimaraes was subjected to a fan trying to kiss her while she did her live crossing.
“Sad shameful” she tweeted.
A professional colleague, Berlin-based Colombian journalist Julieth Gonzalez Theran, was also groped and kissed by a man during a live crossing. No male reporter gets insulted in such a way and no male soccer player gets asked to twerk when being named the world’s best player.
Cosmopolitan surveyed 2235 full-time and part-time female employees aged 18-34 and found that one in three women experienced sexual harassment at work, yet only 29% were confident enough to report the issue.
Sexual harassment now passes in the guise of soft sexism or simply as a “misunderstood joke”, to quote Solveig. It certainly doesn’t help women’s soccer’s fight for equality when Fifa ex-president Sepp Blatter says female players could have “tighter shorts” to help boost ratings.
It also does nothing to pound to pieces prejudice when the winners of the men’s soccer World Cup get 60% more than their female equivalents.
Locally, South Africa’s finest women’s players were subjected to similar humiliation. They were magnificent in making the final of the Africa Cup of Nations for Women, but the vitriol on social media was obscene because they dared ask to be rewarded in a similar fashion to their male counterparts.
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