An what do you think of when you think of the word soccer? Messi, Neymar, Ronaldo? Or Almuth Schult, Giulia Gwinn, Laura Freigang? Soccer, a sport. For many, it is associated with one gender: male. But why has the game been so taken over by men?
Sure, they were allowed to start earlier. In 1955, the German Football Association (DFB) even decided to ban women from kicking – this tough game was not compatible with feminine grace. The ban was lifted in 1970, so 15 years later: free play for women in Germany.
Players demand new language rules
The birth of women’s football. But why is it actually called women’s football and not men’s football? This term still appears, even before the European Championships in England. Players like Almuth Schult are therefore calling for new language rules. “Why does this have to be stated separately? That’s exactly this devaluation that you don’t need,” said Schult before the start of the tournament. She herself has experienced this demarcation again and again in her career, some play football, others women’s football.
What often resonates: some play real football, others do something similar. And yes, the women’s game may not be as dynamic, not as fast, not as powerful compared to the men. But does that make it worse? Do we need this comparison at all, between one and the other?
Gender is also sometimes shown in other sports: men’s hockey, women’s hockey, men’s tennis, women’s tennis. Nowhere else have men hijacked the sport and the concept as much as in football. The language we choose controls how we think, what we imagine. And language creates reality. When we think of young soccer players, do we think of a boy standing on a soccer field or a girl? Merle Frohms agrees that it would create a different self-image in society if one spoke of a sport, of football.
Women’s EM, women’s football, women’s football EM, terms that should be abolished at the latest by this European Championship – because they separate one from the other. Because everyone actually plays one thing: football.