Mainstream sporting events are often a hotbed of sexist antics and the World Cup is proving no different. But, before you get disheartened take comfort in the fact that women are no longer putting up with the bullshit.
Take the Brazilian journalist this morning, who, when lunged at by a Russian fan with puckered lips, pushed him off and unleashed the world’s best tirade.
“Don’t do this, I don’t allow you to do this, never, ok?” Júlia Guimarães spat at her near-assailant.
The live footage was taken ahead of Japan’s match-up with Senegal on Sunday and shows Guimarães angrily dodging the man.
“Don’t do this! Never do this again,” she yells as the man retreats.
“Never do this to a woman, ok? Respect!”
It’s not the first time women reporting at the World Cup have been sexually harassed in this manner.
Julieth González Therán, a Colombian journalist, reporting for Deutsche Welle’s Spanish channel on the opening day of the Cup was caught off guard when a man approached her, grabbing her breast and kissing her on the cheek.
She continued the broadcast but later fought back saying, “We do not deserve this treatment.” Her employer DW went further, posting footage of the incident online with the caption: “Sexual harassment is not okay. It needs to stop. In football, and elsewhere.”
The incident can be seen here (00:13).
Sexual harassment is not okay. It needs to stop. In football, and elsewhere.pic.twitter.com/O0S1a1F4Es
— DW Sports (@dw_sports) June 20, 2018
Australia’s own Lucy Zelic, co-host of SBS’ World Cup coverage faced her own sexist backlash this week of a different kind.
Her crime? Daring to pronounce the names of football players correctly. Some viewers described Zelic’s supposed “over-enunciation” as “annoying” and “insufferable” while others directed her to “just stop”.
But others leapt to Zelic’s defence saying she was hilariously being accused of being “too good at her job”. Her co-host, Craig Foster said Zelic was emulating her mentor the late, great Les Murray.
“Les was always very specific about his pronunciations,” Foster said. “If you can’t get someone’s name right, it says you have no regard, you haven’t tried.”
In a similar vein, Vicki Sparks, a British sports journalist (who incidentally made history by becoming the first woman to commentate on a live World Cup match for British television) copped criticism for the “pitch of her voice”. (Yep, I’m serious).
“I prefer to hear a male voice when watching football,” Jason Cundy, a former defender for UK clubs Chelsea and Tottenham, said on ‘Good Morning Britain.’
“Ninety minutes of hearing a high-pitched tone isn’t really what I like to hear. And when there’s a moment of drama, as there often is in football, that moment needs to be done with a slightly lower voice,” he continued.
“God forbid a woman could talk for 90 minutes,” ‘Good Morning Britain’ co-host Susanna Reid shot back. “I mean, something I could only dream of, frankly.”
Sports reporter, Lynsey Hooper added that Sparks’ performance was a watershed moment for female sports fans. “They have someone to relate to,” she said on the show.
“There are so many people that loved what Vicki did,” she said
Piers Morgan proceeded to take Cundy to task, comparing his own voice to Sparks’ and revealing the two were in the same pitch-range. “Your annoyance appears to be because they have too pitchy voices even though yours is just as pitchy, which seems to make you a sexist pig.”
Morgan then issued a sage warning to Cundy: “This is not a fight to pick. This is not a hill to die on.”
Cundy apparently agreed, later apologising on Twitter saying his comments had been “foolish” and “out of order”.
I want to sincerely apologise for the comments I made on Good Morning Britain. I came away realising just how foolish and out of order they were and how I deserved the backlash I have received
— Jason Victor Cundy (@jasoncundy05) June 25, 2018
The truth is that sexism is still alive and well in sporting arenas. Examples like the above prove it beyond a shadow of a doubt. But there’s hope. For the first time in a collective effort women (and men) are speaking out about the issue, they’re standing up and shaming the “sexist pigs” into silence, (or in the case of Jason Cundy, remorse).
And there’s a lot to love about that.