In her latest blog, Karina dives into the peculiar relationship between football and girls. Why does it feel weird talking about football as a girl?
I see some of you raising your eyebrows: she, a die-hard football fan? And Germany, of all teams?!
Don’t worry, I’ve heard it all by now: 'Oh, it’s because of some boyfriend. No, it’s because of their pretty faces. No, no, it’s because they won the World Cup'.
People still can't believe I might actually just like the game! Why is a girl interested in football still treated like a joke?
I can't complain though. Mostly got funny looks, some smirks. The worst: some catcalling when I went to see Dortmund play FC Utrecht last year. And yet, it’s scary how deeply “cultural” and “gender” norms are ingrained into our brains – I still feel weird and somewhat embarrassed when talking about football. As if there’s anything wrong with that…
I’ve had it extremely good actually, if you take into account everyday sexism.
Throughout my years at university, there’s been a lot of discussions, lots of tweets and articles about gender issues in academies. It all, however, felt very distant… Then again, in my studies girls were usually a majority and boys were very interested in birds. But some kind of discrimination exists nonetheless, otherwise the higher-ups would not end up being so predominantly male.
As females, I think a lot of it is also in our heads. For example: what’s stopping me from sharing my love towards football more openly is mostly the notion that I have about the way our society works. Which is, frankly, ridiculous. Those same ideas impact the more important parts of our lives, too. When I first started thinking about environment as a study choice, it was renewable energy that caught my eye. 'You should look into something softer', I was told. 'As a girl' was not being said, but it left me doubting. Don’t get me wrong, I love ecology and nature conservation policy. But would’ve lovd engineering just as much, I’m sure.
But back to football. So… will we ever see Oranje* back on the big stage or not?
*My first real football love, I’m allowed to tease ;)