It’s incredibly frustrating when you tell people you play football and they respond with ‘why?’ or a series of other questions. Women playing football feels like a foreign concept to many – it must be, given the things I get asked quite regularly as of late.
These questions range from, “but your boyfriend plays, right?” to, “are you American?”. I also get asked “do you play with the offside rule?” and “are your matches 90 minutes?”. I also hear “but you don’t look like a footballer” often. These questions and statements seem to facilitate a guided discovery process to ignorant people that need to prescribe a reason as to why a woman plays or has an interest in football.
This may come as a shock (excuse the sarcasm) but most female footballers I know, myself included, play football for many of the same reasons men, and anyone for that matter does: it’s fun. It’s that simple.
After many fired up Talkaoke sessions with the People Speak on gender and sport, and conversations with my team mates on the way back from football, my partner in crime, Keisha Graham Benjamin and I decided to get t-shirts made for the Hackney Laces lot. We wanted to make a statement about women in football and to make the girls feel proud that they play. The shirts read across the front, “this is what a footballer looks like”.
So far we’ve had a brilliant response. The girls love them. We love them. And lots of women (and men) we have come across have asked where they can get one.
So we’ve started selling them for a tenner (all money goes to Hackney laces, of course). If you’d like one just: email: firstname.lastname@example.org.