Let’s get our priorities straight – Superleague vs Sexual Assault

6 mins read

“Go write about it in your newspaper”.

That was a response I had to a heated discussion surrounding the observation that a trend was occurring by which many boys had the energy to post and be vocal about the abhorrent superleague but couldn’t quite muster it for the support of the 97% of women who have been sexually harassed. 

Now I am not denying that the creation of the Superleague is a concern. I don’t personally follow football more than supporting England at the world cup but I am aware of what it will do to the sport and to the fans. The detrimental impact it will have on communities and the elitism that will affect those at the bottom of the ladder. Football has always been the sport of the people and has done amazing things to lift local communities up and inspire young people. Encouraging children into football has been proven to help mental health, keep them out of trouble and crime and obviously improve physical health. Football has produced legends and heroes, recently most notably Marcus Rashford using his platform to pressure the government on recent free school meals for children. 

The point being the Superleague goes against the very essence and soul of football. Fans have a right to be angry and upset and be vocal.

I have a problem with the distribution of energy around recent political issues. More specifically the recent campaign to make women feel safer late at night and in general after the tragedy of Sarah Everand. It sparked a note with women around the country and the globe and reignited the pressure for more change. 

Many women spoke out about their experiences online through Instagram, Twitter and livestreams. There was a focus on awareness and education. It became apparent there was a certain level of ignorance with men about all the little things women have to do and think about to be safe. Women put time and energy into detailing things men should do to make women feel more safe and how they can use their presence to help. There were tv interviews, infographics, articles, art, music even Tiktoks. Women went above and beyond to show men what it was like and what they could do.

And they still couldn’t be bothered to show support online.

At the peak of the movement me and my flatmates in the evenings would report back the amount of boys who had shared something on social media, made a post or even a tweet. It didn’t have to be an essay or some emotive poem but a resharing of a graphic at least let us know they were listening and acknowledging our struggles. 

Every time it would potentially one or two more out of the hundreds of boys we have on social media. My total overall came to a number I could count on two hands if that.

I am not saying posting online is the only way to show support. But in the digital age it is sometimes the best way to get your voice and opinion out. And there is a stereotype that boys and men do not use social media as much, especially features like Instagram stories.

But when the Superleague rolled around apparently they all remembered how to press the little “add to story” button. 

This comes across bitter and it is. It hurt enough at the time of the height of the campaign to see boys I considered friends ignore what was happening or not care enough to be vocal but when the idea that they can’t see their Liverpool play Leeds anymore then it’s all “RIP Football” #boycottthesuperleague.

If you can’t hashtag about the murder and rape of a woman but you can about football I do not want to associate with you.

Again this is not aimed at boys who talked about both or who talked about neither (but I still have a bone to pick with not being vocal about the sexual assault campaign but that’s another matter) it it is aimed at those who actively chose one over the other. 

This is not “the feminists being pissed that something is not about them” it is the clear double standard. This can be applied to other activism as well not just the sexual assault campaign; it could be looked at in terms of BLM, Islamophobia, Trans rights, all big social problems happening in the past year that the Superleague took precedent over. 

I want to empathise and support, I really do but it’s exhausting and will be for many groups who have asked for support over the past few years to feel sidelined to a sport.

Football is important but people’s human rights are more so.

Featured image credit – NBC News

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Film, Media and Journalism student who writes about things that catch her interest. Instagram @charlsutcliffe

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