Marina Hyde: Pity the poor men having to endure the Women’s World Cup
The eight types who need to explain to you - at length - why they aren’t watching it
South Korea Lee Mina slides in to tackle Nigeria’s Ngozi Okobi during the Women’s World Cup Group A encounter at Stade des Alpes in Grenoble. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters
Once again I am hugely grateful to the community that will not allow us to forget the great under-reported story of this Women’s World Cup: men. Most specifically, the men who are not watching it. We hear so much about the tournament itself. Too much, it is argued – and at the expense of one of the four great civil rights questions of our era: 1) When are we getting a White History Month? 2) When is International Men’s Day? 3) Isn’t it time we had Straight Pride? and 4) Can you imagine how sexist people would say it was if we had a men’s World Cup?
I could not agree more with the gentlemen who dare to ask these questions – and not just so that I can buy time while I frantically locate the exit. Indeed, as part of this column’s tireless commitment to celebrating the underdogs, this week let’s redress the dangerous cosmic imbalance caused by the Women’s World Cup. Here follows a celebration of all the different guys who currently need to explain to you – at length – why they aren’t watching it. As always, you don’t have to be a woman to have met some of these men over the past week. But it certainly helps!
Mr Stop Shoving It Down My Throat
Listen, this guy is absolutely fine with this tournament existing, being alive, whatever. He’s open-minded – it’s not the dark ages any more. Nothing against it. What he objects to – and he’d like you to know that you’ll find a lot of other perfectly decent people like him – is it being “shoved down his throat”. Yes, it’s the shoving. Down the throat. It’s like: fine. I’m happy for you to do your football in the privacy of your own wherever, but please: have some sensitivity and realise that not all people are like you. So basically just don’t do it in front of him, or involve him. Seriously: don’t involve him. Also don’t do it near his kids, especially the girl. For reference, ways that it can be shoved down his throat include “being on TV” and “being on a website he normally looks at”, for instance that of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which, by covering a sport that averaged 4.6 million viewers on Sunday night for England’s game against Scotland, is pursuing a right-on agenda. Actually, let’s be real for a minute: no one wants to see this. Put it away.
Mr I’m Being Branded Sexist
This guy is fairly sure he’s being “branded sexist” for not watching the Women’s World Cup. I think if you need to ask “by who, specifically?” then in a very strong but also abstract sense you’re part of the problem. He is definitely getting this definite feeling that he is being made to feel sexist. It’s all part of an agenda. No, he’d rather not continue this conversation. He can’t win, because you just can’t say anything these days.
Mr Inferior Product
Nothing but respect for the guy who declares “the game’s gone” about every tiny piece of commercialisation in men’s football, but falls over himself to describe the women’s game as “an inferior product”. I mean, on the one hand, a reminder: if you refer to football as either “product” or “content” – ever – you are an endless wanker. No exceptions. But on the other: I’m sure it felt like an interesting point when you made it. Your points are not inferior products: keep producing them to surplus.
Mr I Prefer Parks
No one more than me wants to help the guy whose chief point about the 2019 World Cup is: “I would so much rather watch parks football on a Sunday morning.” I would also rather he did this.
Mr Stop Telling Me It’s Massive When It’s Really Not
Totally. But dude: read that one over and then probably just delete it. I know you’d hate for anyone to take it out of context. And that’s what they do; they take things out of context and then they twist what you say.
Mr I Always Support England
Always supports England, no matter what. No one loves his country more than him. But this isn’t “England” by any reasonable yardstick. Which bit of England do they represent then? Not a bit he recognises.
Mr Have Fifa Got A Point
I love this guy, who has spent years – decades – scoffing that Fifa are a bunch of incompetent chisellers who leech money out of the game, and do less than the bare minimum to grow it while lining their own pockets. Unbelievable that they don’t pay local taxes and have a cash surplus of $2.7 billion when they should be a force for good. But this chap looks at the fact that the men’s World Cup prize fund is $400 million, that the women’s is $30 million. He knows he can’t fall back on viewing figure ratios, given that the men’s gets four times the viewers of the women’s, but 13 times the prize money. And he knows the gap between the men’s and women’s prize fund has actually risen over the past four years. Even so, and for reasons he can’t quite put his finger on: haven’t Fifa got a point in just this one case? Oh, just to be clear, that’s a rhetorical question. Which means you don’t get to answer it.
Mr I’m Just Not Watching
Short of hearing what other people dreamed about last night, hearing which things other people aren’t watching on television is even better. Have you never seen an episode of Game of Thrones? Do you dislike Love Island? Are you not watching the Women’s World Cup? If so, this is massive. Make sure to tell as many people as possible today. – Guardian