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Swimming against the tide

The wonderful world of supposed female political-correctness continues to dominate the British media agenda because, of course, that is where some of its most articulate proponents live and work.

From this world-weary and cynical observer’s perception – and I do acknowledge the qualification that inevitably, once anyone has formed a firm opinion on any subject, research has shown that thereafter every related event, report or incident tends to confirm and/or reinforce it in the mind of the holder– it’s very much a case of arrogant self-interest and “Now that I’m a rung or two up the ladder, I’m definitely superior to those below me”.

Struggling as I am to come to terms with the New Regime whereby any female team or sportswoman participating in a globally-popular male sport must be automatically given equal billing and coverage – and treated just as seriously – as the latter, I was interested to gauge my instinctive reaction to the news this week of female football teams now apparently systematically changing their names to make them more ‘serious’ and … er … less ‘sexist’.

See here for reports on two examples:

Liverpool Ladies switching to Liverpool Women – as reported by Mark Critchley on the website of – THE INDEPENDENT

Hackney Women FC do not want to be called ladies – a reported by Rod Ardehali on the website of – the – DAILY MAIL

If any Ruster would wish to accuse me of being an unreconstructed wrinkly male chauvinist Neanderthal then pardon me for pleading guilty, but I used to love the ‘good old, bad old’ days when one of Britain’s top tier female teams were the Doncaster Belles – they’re now languishing in the FA National Women’s National League Northern Division having been renamed as the Doncaster Rovers Belles LFC, this after (under pressure from the PC brigade) top Premiership sides moved into starting their own women’s teams.

Doncaster Rovers Belles LFC are in good company – also in their Northern Division are the likes of Fylde Ladies FC, Guiseley AFC Vixens, Sheffield FC Ladies and Sunderland AFC Ladies. Meanwhile in the Southern Division equivalent we still have the Loughborough Foxes WFC and Watford Ladies FC.

What’s not to like about that?

Mind you, now that we’re living in the 21st Century of female domination, of course, you cannot expect ‘the sisterhood’ to speak with one mind or voice.

Elsewhere veteran BBC radio presenter Jane Garvey is now taking exception to the world ever referring to a group of women as ‘guys’: see here for a report by Emily Chan on Garvey’s asteroid-like blaze across the media sky as appears upon the website of the – DAILY MAIL

Hmmn. It just so happens that on Tuesday evening I was watching an excellent edition of the Sky Sports programme Sportswomen previewing the upcoming Women British Open golf championship – presented by, and featuring, a female presenter, female pundits, past top female players and indeed several modern leading female players who will be competing in the tournament.

In one segment the programme featured a player/presenter demonstrating the particular pitfalls of playing on a links course, e.g. having to wrestle with the problems of extricating a ball from the depths of super-soft sand in a typical challenging sheer-sided and riveted bunker, one of over 160 littering the Royal Lytham & St Anne’s Gold Club course at which said tournament will be taking place.

From time to time our demonstrator ‘threw’ the coverage back to a fellow presenter standing alongside two leading players in front of the clubhouse to discuss one aspect of the demonstration or another. This second presenter routinely prefaced her questions to her interviewees with “Guys, what do you think of …?”

I’m just saying.

What’s the problem with ladies (or women) in a sporting context referring to themselves or others as ‘guys’?

That’s one of the problems with the whole women/PC movement. Half the time the female participants in sport want to totally de-sex (or de-gender?) their sporting world, presumably so that they get taken more seriously.

And the other half of the time – cue the above-mentioned Jane Garvey intervention, granted however that she was not dealing specifically with sport in her outburst – other women don’t want to do this at all.


To finish today, I must just reference the coverage given yesterday to the venerable England prop forward Rochelle (‘Rocky’) Clark, 37, who announced her retirement from international rugby this week after fifteen years and 137 caps.

No disrespect intended to someone who gave outstanding service to her country’s cause, but it did stick in my craw somewhat when in November 2016 ‘Rocky’ was widely acclaimed for having overtaken the legendary Rugby World Cup-winning Jason Leonard’s record of having amassed 114 international caps by winning her 115th.

I’d just like to point out that – for example, in the Women’s Rugby World Cup of August 2017, played in Ireland – in the pool stages England Women’s rugby team were lucky if they played in front of more than 3,500 spectators.

A slightly different scale, if you see what I mean.

And to an old dinosaur like me, frankly, for the British media to treat ‘Rocky’ Rochelle’s achievements in rugby as on an equal par with those of Jason Leonard both disrespects the latter and actually also does nothing to advance the cause of women’s rugby. To an average rugby fan, more likely it invites ridicule.


About Rex Mitchell

Rex Mitchell is a Brentford supporter from childhood. This has not prevented him having a distinguished Fleet Street career as a sports reporter and later deputy football editor. A widower, Rex is a bit of a bandit golfer off his official handicap of 20 and is currently chairman of his local bowls club. More Posts

1 Comment on Swimming against the tide

  1. The National Rust // August 2, 2018 at 5:15 am //

    At my golf club you no longer have women’s tees as they are retitled ‘red tees”
    John Pargiter

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