Year on year, it seems that people never learn.
... AND kicking off this year's stream of cringe-worthy tweets? NONE OTHER THAN the Football Association.
Yesterday (July 6th), the England women’s football team returned home after reaching the semi-finals in the World Cup. @England – the FA’s official account – marked the occasion with this somewhat patronising tweet:
Within minutes, it had garnered the expected reaction from Twitter: accusations that this was reducing women to domestic figures and belittling their careers. The post was also brought to the attention of @EverydaySexism, a Twitter feed that aggregates this kind of ‘garden variety’ sexism.
James Callow, who wrote the piece this tweet was based on, denied the accusations. He claimed that this was said to add a ‘human element’ to the story (ignoring that this implies that women’s humanity is defined by their marital roles!) He added that he would have given the men’s team the same coverage.
After this statement, Twitter users were keen to jump on the likelihood of this ever happening.
Some even offered ready-made suggestions for the FA to use for next summer:
Despite the FA’s sheepish deletion of the tweet and article less than an hour after having posted it, Twitter is still deep in discussion about the state of football, feminism, and the FA’s lacklustre support of female players.
So although the FA are attempting to sweep this incident under the carpet, it's actually proven the effectiveness of social media in campaigning.
Without a platform like Twitter for individuals to voice their opinions in real time, an incident like this could be easily glossed over. Here, it was brought into the public eye immediately.
It goes to show that Twitter has great power in highlighting the continuing problems surrounding sexism, racism, and other social issues.
More importantly, negative backlash on social media has the ability to make massive organisations think twice about their public statements. If this helps to reduce the occurrence of these incidents in future, then that's a win all round.