FIFA Women’s World Cup excitment is upon us as we get ready for the England team to play against Argentina, tonight. One group who will be supporting them particularly enthusiastically is This Fan Girl, the all-female football community.
This year it feels like the support for the FIFA Women’s World Cup is bigger than ever. Some of the biggest sports brands in the world have created campaigns to highlight the lack of recognition female football has historically received, with Adidas working to get more representation for players online and Nike launching an inspiring new advert that celebrates the women’s game. And celebrities from David Beckham to Emma Watson have vocalised how much they support the team.
It’s about time too. But there’s not just a lack of recognition around the skill of female footballs, but also female football fans, the numbers of which attending football matches in the UK continues to grow year on year. In fact, at some games, women make up 25% of the crowd.
But despite this, female football fans still aren’t taken seriously by many people. Indeed, regarded as a bit of a novelty, women that have a genuine interest and love of the sport often feel like they’re seen as second-class fans or become sexualised in the eyes of male supporters.
Enter This Fan Girl, a community of women that travel across the UK to capture the faces and document the stories of real female football fans, to celebrate the diversity of the support they bring to the sport.
This Fan Girl also offers a platform for women all over the country to chat, connect and form groups to watch games together or attend matches.
We spoke to some of the women who are part of the community, to talk about the impact that its had on their lives.
“For me, in the everyday, I’m not seen as an authentic fan because I’m a girl,” says one of the women who is now a part of This Fan Girl.
“You do feel out of place because you’re a woman, which can make you feel uncomfortable, especially in a sea of men.”
Another woman agrees: “Unfortunately there have been incidents of, ‘get your tits out for the lads.’ It’s really indicative of how fans view females in a football setting.”
But the brilliant thing about being part of this group, is that together, these women can make attending games the enjoyable, fun experience that it should be.
“It’s a place where women can go to games together and feel safe to do so and talk about the football game,” one of the founders explain.
“Having those women just to go to the pub with, is extremely empowering.”
If you’re a fan of the beautiful game and this community sounds like something you’d like to be part of, watch the full video above and take a look at the This Fan Girl website.
Images: Instagram / This Fan Girl