By Kate Southwood
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 6 (Womxn’s Month Wrap) of VARSITY News.
For as long as we can remember, football has been one of the many sports dominated by men on the global stage. Regardless of the fact that, oftentimes, women’s teams are doing better than their male counterparts, the national pride (and not to mention, the most money) almost always gets disproportionately allocated to the men’s team over the women’s team.
Manchester United Football Club, arguably one of the most well-recognised and -respected in the world, recently made an effort to promote their maiden women’s team: they changed their header on their Twitter page and they set up a page on their website all honouring their Women’s Team.
United, in more ways than one.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) July 13, 2018
While ManUtd has definitely created some hype, unfortunately, we’ve got to ask: are they just doing this for the publicity of being the first big club to have and hype a women’s team? Is this progress for the sake of transformation, or for the sake of being able to say “well, at least we have a women’s team, so we aren’t as bad as some other teams – we did our part”?
The sad reality is that there are already signs that they’re falling into the latter version, the faux-transformation. As mentioned above, the official ManUtd Twitter page changed their header image to create hype around their women’s team, a screenshot of which is included in the Tweet below.
Got to agree with others already saying this – @manutd changing the header & bio of their main twitter account to announce the new head coach of their women’s team is big progress for women’s football ? #mufc pic.twitter.com/kXpn7AO1Ca
— Christopher Nash (@blackberrychris) June 8, 2018
Now, based on the date we can see that the screenshot was taken around 8 June 2018. By 8 August, they header image had already reverted back to being of the men’s team, and the introduction of Casey Stoney had been removed (as seen in the screenshot below).
This shows that, while ManUtd definitely did hype their women’s team, they are not ready to place an equal amount of emphasis on both teams; their pride and joy will remain to be the men’s team.
And look, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that there is now a women’s team. On the contrary, I think it’s fantastic! This move means that there is a light shined on women in football, creating opportunities which ten years ago were probably unimaginable. However, I think it’s important for us to recognise that just because we are moving forward, we are not done moving; there are still many more steps we need to take.