‘The Women’s World Cup is a roaring success. It’s exactly like the men’s World Cup,” said no one – well maybe a few feminists who haven’t actually watched it.
Sure, they built it. People came, wore the T-shirts. The semi-finals and final are sold out. Some 7.6 million people in the UK watched England play Norway. Two drunken, high men at Glastonbury sang ‘Football’s Coming Home’.
I was in host nation France recently and was denied the Nations League in favour of the Women’s World Cup. Things are changing for the better.
The Women’s World Cup is on prime time TV and women are getting the attention they deserve. After being banned in the UK in 1921 for almost 50 years for being ‘unsuitable’ and enduring decades in the wilderness thereafter, women’s football is finally mainstream.
This is all good, but unfortunately I fear we’re just going with the flow – like curling fans – and are actually dead inside.
I’ve been following it with the same interest I would the Eurovision Song Contest, and I’m a massive World Cup fan. My home team Germany were beaten at the weekend. I was upset. My pride hurt, but I got over it. If it were the men’s team, I would be crestfallen, crying into my Rudi Voeller wig, but I wasn’t even watching it.
The kitchen sink has been thrown at it, but if I have no emotions, who does? The only people I know following the Women’s World Cup are men.
Many column inches are dominated by young female commentators with a degree in rabid, clichéd feminism, ID politics and virtue signalling going ‘women’s football is better than men’s’, ‘all men are awful’, ‘we’ve got this’, but women don’t care.
Feminists stomped their hairy legs, had Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka outbursts, spewed gender bias doctrines to get ‘equality’ and gender quotas, but they don’t like football.
I saw two women discussing a match on Sky TV with as much passion and knowledge about the game as two coal miners discussing rouge.
But we must have posturing feminists telling us to watch it, while not actually watching it themselves. It’s like abortions. “You minions can have them, I would never have one myself.”
Despite the fact that I’m obsessed with international football, I’m not like blokes who go to see Halifax in freezing January or care if Rovers won or lost.
A 2018 survey by Nissan and Loughborough University found that 70pc of men get excited about football, spending three and a half hours a week watching it, compared to 46pc of women, who barely watch the World Cup.
Not saying women don’t get consumed with football, but bar me, I don’t know any women who tear the wallpaper off walls in anticipation of a game.
Ninety percent of my male friends are into football, and even those who aren’t know more about it than any woman, who say things like ‘what match?’
It appears that you can bring women to water, but can’t make them watch soccer.
“These things don’t happen overnight, after all the patriarchy ruined it for so long,” plus we don’t have female role models, we’re told. Well it took us two wet seconds to get into Italia ’90, our first ever World Cup. We were buying ‘Sheedy sent it in’ T-shirts on Grafton street moments after his famous equaliser against England in Cagliari, climbing lampposts and hanging out of cars on O’Connell Street.
The persistent argument feminists throw around that ‘women need female role models’ to get out of bed in the morning is infantilising, downright insulting and wrong.
But what about the viewers? They speak for themselves, you say. Well the stadiums only packed out for the semis and 27 million people watched the England men’s quarter-final last year. Also, if I may dare to rob mountaineer George Mallory’s alleged quote about Mount Everest, people watch it “because it’s there”. It’s June and we are bereft. It’s on normal TV at a normal time.
At it’s core, football evokes passion like no other game. Despite my protestations, I will watch the rest of the World Cup and hope that women’s football grows and to equal men’s. But deep passion cannot be shared. Like most fan(atics), I’m taken.
So if women’s football is to have the same emotional standing as men’s, you need to win the hearts and minds of women and more importantly, of feminists.
And that I look forward to.