'Hostile and sexist attitudes'- Misogyny towards women's sport 'rife' among male football fans, study finds
The Durham University study concluded that, while attitudes are changing, misogyny remains common "across all generations". The research was based on a survey of almost 2,000 male supporters of football, and claims that in excess of two-thirds of respondents harboured hostile or misogynistic attitudes.
A generic image of the feet of a Crustal Palace player during the FA Women's Championship football match between Sheffield United Women and Crystal Palace Women at the Olympic Legacy Stadium, on March 10th Sheffield, England
"Our research showed that attitudes towards women in sport are, to some extent, changing, with more progressive attitudes," lead author Dr Stacey Pope, from Durham University's Department of Sport and Exercise Sciences, said.
"However, the findings are also reflective of a patriarchal society in which misogyny is rife.
"There were numerous examples of men from across all generations exhibiting highly sexist and misogynistic attitudes."
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The researchers suggested that this may be proof of a backlash against increased visibility of women's sport driven by high-profile events like the 2012 London Olympics and 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup.
There are World Cups in women's cricket and rugby due to be held in 2022, as well as UEFA Women's Euro 2022 - which will be hosted by England.
The survey was comprised of open-ended questions, the answers from which researchers could then use to split the fans into three broad categories: those with progressive masculinities, overt misogynistic masculinities, or covert misogynistic masculinities.
Those in the second camp felt that women's sport was inferior to that played by their male counterparts, particularly in football; some also suggested that women should not be allowed to participate in sport at all, or be limited to "feminine" sports like athletics.
The report also found that increased coverage of women's sport in the media was unpopular with this group - including responses labelling it as "positive discrimination" and "PC nonsense".