Emotional Wellbeing

Victorian Footy Club in Hot Water After Ranking Female Players on ‘Ladies Day’

Four weeks ago, we brought you the story of a group of boys from a private Melbourne school who had been suspended for ranking their female classmates. Two of the teenage boys were expelled. But it gets better. Seems this type of disgusting behaviour is not just restricted to the schoolyard. Now it’s making waves on the footy field with a Victorian team found ranking female players on their ‘Ladies Day’.

The Message is Not Getting Through

On the heels of the Yarra Valley incident, we have learned two other Victorian schools have seen similar lists posted.

At McClelland College in Frankston, a list ranking female students by their appearance was created and circulated by a group of Year 9 boys. A spokesperson for Victoria’s Department of Education said: “’Misogynistic and disrespectful behaviour is entirely unacceptable in any Victorian school – and the school has rightly taken swift action.”

Not even a week later, Brentwood Secondary College was in the news for a list found in the girls’ bathrooms ranking female students by how supposedly promiscuous they are.

One mother revealed to Seven News that her daughter doesn’t feel safe returning to McClelland.

‘It’s unbelievable, the child was only suspended for a week. If he is to return, half of the girls in Year 10 won’t,’ she said.

AND IT CONTINUES.

Ranking Female Players on a Weekend Footy Game

It’s game day at Donvale Reserve, and it was a big day. Four Donvale FC teams faced off against Knox Football Club. It coincided with Pink Sports Day, which aims to raise money for Breast Cancer Research, with pink socks available for purchase.

Donvale Social Rooms were hosting a Donvale Ladies’ Day supporting AGCF (Australian Gynaecological Cancer Foundation), a national not-for-profit organisation that focuses on funding laboratory research into gynaecological cancers.

It was a great day for women’s medical causes and spirits were high. The weekend came on the heels of news reports about the Yarra Valley spreadsheet incident so one would think it would be a day full of camaraderie, fundraising, and football.

Lessons Not Learned

As Donvale female football players made their way back onto the field following half-time break, male players from Knox Football Club lined up on the side as they returned to the field.

The men proceeded to try and trip the women as they ran onto the field – classy. Then, if that wasn’t adding insult to injury on a day with women in the focus, they started to yell out out ratings as judgement to the female players entering the field – “Yes”, “No”, and “Mediocre”.

Granted, they weren’t as disgusting as the Yarra spreadsheet, but they were unwanted, uncalled for and TOTALLY unnecessary.

Women are Powerhouses

It was clear to onlookers that the objectified players were visibly upset by this interaction.

But the women got on with their game and managed to come out victorious, defeating Knox by 29 points.

It was a great result for Breast Cancer research, gynaecological research, and women in general. Because that’s what women do. Despite what was happening around us, we have had to develop thick skins and get on with the task.

I can imagine what was going through their minds as they experienced this intimidating, misogynistic behaviour.

Silence is Complicit

While it’s not clear how many men were involved, it’s been reported that more than 20 other players stood by and watched in silence.

Silence.

Silence allows these things to continue happening.

Silence kills.

Justifiable Fury

Jacqui Felgate from Melbourne’s talk radio station 3AW was the first to report on the incident, with barely contained rage.

“As the women ran out at half time, male players from Knox lined up on either side of the race, and yelled at ratings for each player,” she explained on her Monday show.

“They held out their legs to trip the women over and used the phrases yes, no, mediocre, rating each female player. The players were rightly upset but they played out the rest of the game.

“We’re talking about adult men here who choose to threaten and intimidate female players who are out on a weekend playing a game that they love football. This is suburban footy. Women play footy. Now get over it.

“I hope the men that did this that subjected women to more foul aggressive behaviour are held to account. I don’t know exactly how many were involved … I’ve been told more than 20 other players watched it happen and didn’t speak up.”

“A minute’s silence was held at this very ground as a mark of respect. And at the same game women are rated yes, no, mediocre,” she said.

“How utterly awful and how utterly exhausting that we’re still at the point where women can’t play sport without being objectified.”

Knox Apologises

Paul Blair, President of Knox Football Club released a statement apologising for the actions of the male players.

The statement found on Facebook features the same promises and platitudes we see in every apology statement from a person or organisation that have been held to account.

But one has to wonder if it’s enough. Apologies such as these are only worth the energy it takes to make them if actions follow.

The players have been stood down pending an investigation, but s

Will KFNC fulfill its mission statement claiming a healthy environment where everyone feels safe, valued, and important? What’s going on here then?


It’s Not Enough For Women To Demand Change

Men need to stop standing by and allowing this to happen.

Men need to call their mates out when they disrespect women.

Sons must be taught how to be good humans and stand up for women.

Ironically, Victoria has a website dedicated to respecting women. A 30-second video describes what respect is and there’s a list of ways to call out sexism.

YouTube video

It’s time this stopped.

The more I researched for this article, the more incensed I became. This was a day dedicated to supporting women’s causes. It was also the day before Mother’s Day. It was also a day to bring attention to the domestic violence crisis we’re facing. And it was on this day these men chose to objectify, denigrate, and intimidate female football players. There are no adequate words for the rage this instills in my heart.


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Avatar of Tina Evans

Tina Evans is a complete introvert, an avid reader of romance novels, horror novels and psychological thrillers. She’s a writer, movie viewer, and manager of the house menagerie: three kelpies, one cat, a fish, and a snake. She loves baking and cooking and using her kids as guinea pigs. She was a teenage parent and has learned a lot in twenty-three years of parenting. Tina loves Christmas and would love to experience a white Christmas once in her life. Aside from writing romance novels, she is passionate about feminism, equality, sci-fi, action movies and doing her part to help the planet.

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