As it was City that taught me to love football and as I have had many complimentary things to say about their website, the last thing I expected was that I would be writing a very disgruntled complaint about the new “City Woman” section of the official website. Launched on International Women’s Day.
One of the great things about being a football fan is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, male or female, rich or poor, black or white or any of the other descriptions that are used to put people into groups. You’re a football fan. You’re a supporter of your team and that is the only description that matters. It’s an inclusive environment. So I approached the new section of the website a little gingerly: I don’t see why the Club needs to specifically cater to its female fans in this way (catering to them in terms of branded clothes that fit properly is an entirely different matter!).
So, what have we got? Oh, lovely, I see we’ve got recipes because, after all, only women would be interested in those wouldn’t they? Couldn’t have silly, girly things like recipes cluttering up the testosterone filled pages of the main site, could we? Sarcasm aside, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, in the Recipes or Health & Fitness sections that isn’t applicable to both sexes. Many of the Health & Fitness pieces have already been posted on the main site, thus rather proving my point.
However the worst aspect, for me, is the featured columnist. On International Women’s Day no less, the Club chose to feature a writer who describes herself as a ” non-feminist” and whose views are extremely divisive. Ms Epstein’s column on City Woman is about tattoos. While she comments that a young and famous man ” has shaken off his boyish image by covering his body with a riot of tattoos” & thus implies that that’s a good thing, the article’s headline asks “Are tattoos on women attractive?” The points she makes about poor choices and the cost of removals are equally applicable to men but no, this entire piece is predicated on whether or not your tattoo makes you look “hot, hot, hot”.
Angela Epstein writes for The Daily Mail, for whom she produces such patronising fluff-pieces as: “Why it’s every wife’s duty to make other men fancy her: Angela Epstein’s provocative take on married life”
Not to mention: “OK, I admit it – we Northern women simply don’t have a clue how to dress: She’s proud to hail from north of Watford but Angela Epstein has a very provocative confession to make…”
And definitely not to forget the piece de resistance: I was ambushed by the Twitterati feminists who in actual fact HATE women
Angela Epstein argues that feminism has lost its meaning
Rather than campaign to help women, feminists today squabble on Twitter
As seen by the hash-tag sisters’s response to her Newsnight interview”
If you don’t want to follow the link, just read the first three paragraphs, that will tell you all you need to know:
When Newsnight’s Emily Maitlis asked me during a debate on the programme this week whether I was a feminist, I hoped my blow-dried hair and figure-hugging dress would give her some clue as to the answer.
Feeling a little mischievous, I was tempted to ask her whether I looked like one of those grumpy women in bad clothes who spend their days in a state of agitation about whether it’s right to let girls play with dolls.
But since I was a guest on the BBC’s flagship news programme, I decided to park the sarcasm and simply say that I am not: that today’s feminism is utterly irrelevant to me.
There is a place for articles by and about women supporters – but as part of the main site. We are all City supporters, no matter what other terms may describe us in other settings. The whole thrust of this City Woman site is patronising; it is unnecessarily divisive, and the choice of columnist appears symptomatic of how ill thought out the whole thing is. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to be associated – however tangentially – with City Woman.
Gill R | @thespiralquirk