It might, actually, be coming home. On Sunday, the England’s womens football team will battle it out against Germany at the Euros 2022 final, after the Lionesses aced their semi-final with Sweden 4-0. But while it might be 2022, and more people than ever are watching the sport - Sunday’s final is anticipated to be the most-watched live TV event in the UK this year - unfortunately some of the attitudes, and coverage, surrounding the sport have been inherently sexist.
One example of this is how the Daily Mail have covered the win. A tweet showed how the MailOnline covered an England men's team semi final win, pictures of the players jumping for joy on the pitch, and a shot of Prince William clapping along. But after Tuesday’s win, the Mail decided to focus on Alessia Russo, whose backheel goal set social media alight, with Man United player being compared to Messi for her goal-scoring.
Of course it would be fine for an article to focus on Alessia and her talents, but the photos which accompany the article are of Alessia dressed up on a night out, and a photo of her in a bikini - neither of which have nothing to do with football. The headline is ‘England’s Golden Girl’ which seems like a headline straight from the 1950s. Tellingly, the actual article doesn’t reference either of the pictures. The pics are quite literally there for no reason, apart from to objectify Russo for male Mail readers.
David Challen, a domestic abuse campaigner who called out the coverage, wrote: ‘There is no place in our society for misogyny and sexism published in this reporting. Whether it'd be the Daily Mail or any other news outlet, the objectification of women in sport must be called out by those who it appeals to, men.’
Obviously, thousands of women and men have agreed, with one user writing: ‘[The womens’ team] want equality and not equal pay. What they want is for media to talk about their football & post photos from their games. Instead what they get is overly sexualized sensationalist headlines and cover stories. We’re never gonna advance are we.’
Though, sadly, of course there have been men parroting away in the replies, saying that women should be grateful the sport is being covered. There have also been some making the same ludicrous comparison that because David Beckham has posed with his shirt off, the Mail using these photos of Russo is the same thing. It’s proof that we sadly have a long way to go when it comes to sexism in sport. But hopefully the Lionesses are victorious on Sunday.