Sunrise Asks Its Viewers: “Are Women To Blame For Footballers Behaving Badly?”
Posted by Clem Bastow on October 6, 2008
Thanks to keen-eyed and early-rising reader Christine for the heads up on this little doozy: Channel Seven’s Sunrise (those storied social justice merchants) chose for their “soapbox” topic this morning, “Are Women To Blame For Footballers Behaving Badly?“
I missed the on-air discussion so can make no comment about that, but here’s the website’s slug:
Scandals plagued all codes of football in Australia in the last year.
The worst incidents gaining national coverage were often blamed on alcohol or drug abuse, but could the women around the footballers be to blame?
A study called “Rogue men and predatory women – female fans’ perceptions of Australian footballers’ sexual conduct” has just been published in a Sociology journal with very revealing findings.
That introductory paragraph doesn’t bode well for the findings, does it? Said research revealed the following:
(1) There is strong support for players from female football fans – this is despite bad behaviour
(2) Some of the interviewees blamed the women themselves for the misconduct – for example, some female fans were perceived as sexual predators, seeking out footballers with the intention of having sex with them. This makes it “difficult for the players to say no”.
(3) Despite this, the interviewees did condemn sexual assault
(4) The players were also seen as part of the problem – they were seen as sexually forward, and having an expectation of casual sex
(5) Alcohol and “team bonding” were seen as cultivating this behaviour – and often team mates not involved in an incident close ranks
(6) Fans also thought that the culture of a club was a major factor
If you are alarmed at these findings, the researchers say even though their work is in the early stages, it does demonstrate that “female fans hold complex, often contradictory views about sexual misconduct by footballers”.
If this isn’t slut-shaming – apparently being conducted by the women themselves! – of the highest order, then I don’t know what it is.
Yes, there is a culture of determined “groupies” (as much as I loathe the term) in all codes of football in Australia; there was an eye-opening sequence in a documentary/special about Shane Crawford a few years back that depicted Crawford entering a nightclub on a night off, only to be met by a group of women flashing their breasts at him from the nightclub balcony.
But, and I wonder how many more times we will need to have this discussion with the media and the general populace, no matter how “sexually forward” a woman is, she always has the right to say “no” – and the only person to blame in cases of sexual assault or rape is the perpetrator.
Did anyone see the Sunrise broadcast this morning? I would love to know if any Soapbox callers/emailers set Mel and Kochie straight on the topic.