totally respected in our very respectful code

In exciting news, last week the AFL announced the eight teams who will make up the first Women’s AFL season. SO EXCITING.

(No Award is a Western Bulldogs blog when it comes to the women’s league.)

To celebrate, noted AFL misogynist Eddie McGuire made some misogynistic comments and trotted out his usual apology.

Erin Riley: Eddie McGuire, Caroline Wilson and violence against women: the AFL must act.

The Western Bulldogs are playing Geelong in the White Ribbon match. It is a game designed to raise awareness of domestic violence and violence against women. But at the very time the football world is casting light on the issue, it is allowing dangerous, toxic and violent language toward women to be part of mainstream football conversations.

The most recent incident happened on last Monday’s episode of “The Rub” on Triple M. Prior to the “Big Freeze” at the MCG, they crossed live to Eddie McGuire, who was preparing to take part. The event consisted of a number of high profile figures going down an ice slide and landing in a pool of icy water, all to raise money for the very worthy cause of research into Motor Neurone Disease. The horrifying exchange involves not one but two current AFL Club Presidents (McGuire and James Brayshaw)

As you know from a lifetime in this code, the misogyny in this game is entrenched. A joke about physical violence against a woman during the white ribbon game (ask me about my opinion of the white ribbon campaign. Go on) is barely even a surprise.

Frawley: I’ll actually jump in and make sure she doesn’t — I’ll hold her under, Ed.

McGuire: I reckon we could charge 10,000 for everyone to stand around the outside and bomb her.

(Miki Perkins, We can’t let the misogynist banter of Eddie McGuire slip past)


The thing about the misogyny entrenched in our code, of course, is the way it normalises violence against women. Football is a space where we’re told with words that we’re welcome, but we’re also confronted with evidence that we’re not. And the same evidence tells men that anyone who isn’t a man is unwelcome.


How will people treat our new teams, since the president of Collingwood (which has been approved for a womens’ team) has supported the physical assault of women involved in the code?

We’ve spoken previously (1, 2) about the racism of AFL. That it has an entrenched, inherent misogyny should come as no surprise to people with little interest in our national sportsball.

I wish I could say these words were enough to drive me away; but they’re not, because I’ve still, with delight and excitement, picked my Women’s League team (go the Doggies), and if the way to deal with misogyny in the code is to yell about it and to respectfully support my women’s team, then by quokka I’m going to do it.

But never forget that we’re women in a code that supports our defeat; we’re women in a code that thinks all we’re worth is a “joke” about violence and lipservice to our existence.



Further reading: 

This reaction is half-hearted and incomplete, but the pathetic gratefulness in my heart that the Chief Exec at least half admitted it is profound, even as it’s not enough: Eddie McGuire in hot water over Caroline Wilson ice pool gibe

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has also weighed in saying Frawley and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire’s remarks “could be seen to be supporting violent attitudes”.

Yay: How An Independent Journalist Brought Eddie McGuire’s Sexist Comments To Account

“It Makes Me Sick”: Alex Dyson Made A Big Stand Against Men Like Eddie McGuire On Triple J

In reporting all this on triple j this morning, breakfast co-host Alex Dyson echoed Wilson’s comments. “I really don’t like the ‘it’s your fault for misconstruing it’ style of defence,” he said. “And it’s far too common — after doing something terrible, [men often make] the other person feel bad. I’m actually very upset. It makes me sick.”

Taking things one step further, he then launched into a passionate statement about a broader culture of harassment and abuse women have to deal with — one which is ultimately propagated by men like McGuire, whether they know it or not.

GOOD. Call it out. And if you’re a Collingwood supporter reading this, especially if you’re a bloke, please contact your club.

This is potentially a nice outcome: Holden to ‘discuss future’ of Collingwood sponsorship after Caroline Wilson ‘drowning’ comments.


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