Football does not shed light on the victories of male and female football teams, it does more than that. It sheds light on the chasm between the ideologies of men and women’s football teams which largely the socio-cultural setup of the environment.
From Megan Rapinoe to Sam Kerr, women football players are openly gay or bisexual than male football players, which portrays quite a dichotomous picture to what we see usually in a male-dominated society.
However, have you ever wondered why such a scenario arose in the first place? This article will give you a deeper insight into the atmosphere and relationships of the male as well as football players.
Why are more female professional footballers openly gay or bisexual than male football players?
When you realise the chasm between the ideologies and environment in which male and female football teams have been developed, you are forced to question whether football is a gender-specific sport? Is it more patriarchal?
In relation to this, you will three main reasons as to why more female professional players are openly gay or bisexual than male players.
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The developmental atmosphere of women’s football teams is starkly different from the men’s football teams. How so?
According to Eric Najib, a manager of Stonewall FC, women’s football teams cultivate a more open and free atmosphere which almost parallels a family. Whereas, men’s football teams are more traditional and often adhere to conventions. He adds that the men’s game has more racism, sexism and homophobia.
From this one can deduce that the women’s game is more inclusive and is more accepting of one another. Resultantly, they are more comfortable with each other as they are no more predetermined notions or prejudices ruling here.
In addition, men’s game, due to its prevalence of traditional views, has evolved differently where players, more often than not, adhere to the preconceived notions related to gender.
Be that as it may, it is very important to understand that the women’s teams have reached this stage after breaking the glass ceilings and conquering innumerable battles. A similar cathartic situation is required in men’s teams as well.
People are counting on male football players to come out of their closets. But, as there is only one male player, Carl Nasib, who has openly come out, the pressure among other men also increases.
People would be emphasizing a lot upon that man who has recently come out and the extreme scrutiny and pressure might hamper the mental health of individuals. In addition, it might also prevent other gay or bisexual men to come out.
2. The development of male and female football teams:
The different developmental ways of male and female football teams are also one of the reasons why we have fewer openly male gay or bisexual footballers.
More often than not, elite male players in the football teams across the world have the background of football academics which trained them from a young age.
Under such circumstances, these male players’ sole focus is football and making a career in this sport. These academies are generally heteronormative, which means that they are largely populated by heterosexual people and where being heterosexual is a convention or norm.
Due to the constant pressure that male football players have to face from a young age, they yield to their football career and abstain from speaking up.
However, when it comes to female football teams, more often than not, female footballers do not only play football. They also have to do work part-time and they have separate private lives which are extremely different from their professional ones.
As a result, women’s football players’ lives do not revolve around football and they have entered the football arena at a later phase in their lives in comparison to male players whose life do revolve around football as they have come from the academies.
Another thing that impacts the development of male and female football teams which in turn affects their courage to speak up, is the mass media attention the teams get. You might’ve observed that women’s football does not get as much media attention as men’s football gets. This compounds the pressure and anxiety of male players across the world because the line between their private and professional lives is often blurred.
When, on one hand, you have the male football teams being ‘heteronormative’, you have the female football teams being ‘homonormative’. This implies that female players are not afraid to unravel their sexual identities because being homosexual is supported and accepted by people.
Who thought travelling will be a diminishing factor for male footballers to openly express their sexual identities? Unfortunately, it is.
Male footballers who are extremely successful and at their peak in their football career, have to travel across the world. However, not all parts of the world, are open to the idea of homosexuality. For instance, Qatar is one such country where homosexuality is punishable and the so-called ‘culprit’ will be imprisoned for seven years.
Under such circumstances, male players feel more comfortable hiding their sexual identities than openly expressing them.
These are some of the primary reasons why male football players are often hesitant to reveal their sexual identities. Until and unless, this traditional culture is not mitigated, it will continue and male players will be hesitant to speak up.
This will make you realize how male-dominated is the football industry is, which is, ironically, only harming the male population more than the female. Women have continued to break the barriers and develop thick skin, and they will continue to do so.
It’s time for men in the football industry to also speak up and not be afraid of showing their sexual identities. Don’t you think so?
By not speaking up, men smolder their real selves which can be detrimental to their mental health.