According to YouGov data, a third of those attending Premier League matches are women, but have you ever Googled ‘female football fans’? Unless you’re 18-21, a size eight and scantily clad, you’re very unlikely to see yourself reflected there.
To coincide with the World Cup, we teamed up with Carabao Energy Drink (who sponsor Chelsea FC Women, Reading Women and Abingdon United WFC), to launch our #WeAreFemaleFans campaign which we hope will change all that. Along with the Carabao team, we headed to the recent England friendly games in London and Leeds, and shot five images of female football fans of different ages, races and body types, with the aim of getting them to the top of online search engine results and change how female football fans are represented.
All fans have to do to help, is to share news articles about the campaign (like this one) on social media using the hashtag #WeAreFemaleFans. By doing this, the ranking of the page the images are hosted on is boosted, and we will start to see our photos rise up the rankings of Google Images.
Some people want to know why the issue is so important, and others have said they don’t have any negative experiences as female football fans so don’t see what the issue is.
Firstly, we should make it totally clear that, in general, our experience attending football games is fantastic. The vast majority of male football fans treat women with respect, listen to our opinions, and welcome us as fellow fans. Although we can’t speak for everyone, most of the women we talk to don’t have any issues when they go to football matches.
It’s some small sections of the media, and the internet, that have a problem with how they portray female fans. The World Cup only began last week and there are already articles appearing around which country has the ‘sexiest fans’, and which team has the ‘hottest WAGs’. Articles like this co-opt women’s bodies to become part of the rivalry, pitching nations against each other based on the prettiness of its female fans.
There has even been criticism of Saudi Arabia female fans on social media for choosing to cover up rather than dress in the Western style, as the Russian fans did.
We hope our campaign reminds the media, and social commentators, that female football fans go to games to be part of the audience, not part of the entertainment. Just like male fans, we want to scream our lungs out for ninety minutes, swear at the referee for a bad decision and hug the person next to us when our team scores the winner.
Absolutely none of that requires body paint.
Written by Amy Drucquer, founder of This Fan Girl
You can find out more about #WeAreFemaleFans by visiting www.thisfangirl.com/carabao
tagged in Football