WOMEN’S FOOTY: It’s just not cricket

AFLW, the Australian Football League Women, has just begun a professional national competition as an adjunct to the long-standing male equivalent, known colloquially as “Footy”.

The first bounce of the inaugural AFLW season.

And some people are not happy about it!

Who are these objectors? Simple ‘wowsers”? From the posts and commentary I’ve seen there are two classes of naysayers: [1] the chauvenists [whom I dismiss since their argument is bigoted] and [2] what appears to be women belonging to a conservative class who believe that such an activity is barely ‘feminine’ and opposes the ideal of mating and motherhood – holding to the view that women of playing age could damage the chance of child-bearing and, in any case, ought be pregnant anyway [you know, ensuring that they enhance the gene pool of good little Aussies to lift the replacement population rate above 2.1 children per couple]. It’s not that I oppose this ideal, but it could use some perspective and context.

First. Population replacement is a general concept; it cannot be applied specifically. Some couples will have a tribe, others may remain childless. C’est la vie. Anyway, these footballing girls will retire around 30 years of age – plenty of time for family formation. They are, unlike their male equivalents, only partly professional, meaning that they also follow careers and have a social life.

Second. Is there now to be one sport which is to be exclusively a male domain? Is there any other such sport? Every sport which I can think of has female participants or equivalents or parallel competitions: boxing, athletics, swimming, soccer, rugby, shooting, gymnastics, dressage and so on. [Let’s not get into synchronised swimming and creative gymnastics and netball].

Third. Yes, I get the point that excessive physical training and exertion can suppress or delay menopause. [So does chemical contraception]. So? To be-labour this point and concede to it would mean that we should do without one of the finest art forms known to civilised mankind……… ballet! Ballet dancers are likely the fittest of all those practising an energetic activity and their exercise routines are more punishing than just about any sport.

Four. I cannot see that there is anything intrinsically wrong with ladies’ aerial ping-pong. Some everyday activities are, e.g. smoking, drinking alcohol and driving a car too fast.

The very first game was a lock-out for thousands who turned up to watch the game. It is certainly popular [while I concede that popularity is not an ethical measure]. For mine, I think any objection is frivolous and boils down to personal taste. And I quite enjoyed what I saw of it.