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Felix Tamsut @ftamsut
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Some Gladbach fans were in the news in Germany for chanting that referee Bibiana Steinhaus is a “whore.”

We need to talk about sexism in German football, as unfortunately, reality showed that it could have devastating consequences. (Thread)
First of all, numbers. My partner joined me to football in a few countries & it's always the same question: Why aren’t there as many women at the ground as in DE?

She’s not wrong. Per @DLF, 35% of stadium-goers in Germany are women. In the Premier League, for instance, it’s 25%.
More than one million football club members in Germany are women. Which is a lot. And that could mean a change in how women fans are being perceived by their male counterparts and clubs alike.
One cliche is that women go to football as their partners drag them there. Well, the numbers argue that’s not true. A survey found that - and this is going to be a shocker for sexist football fans - women and men show almost the same amount of passion for their club.
The 2016 survey by research group BEMA found that while 5% more men say their club is “their everything,” the exact same percentage (73.6) of men and women said the club is “very important,” but there are other things in life that are more important (meaning, average fans). A survey that suggests women show almost the exact same amount of passion for their club as men
Another survey by @lborouniversity found that only 3.7% of leading positions in EU football are being held by women. Out of the 17 representatives in the DFB’s executive board, there’s only one woman. In the DFL’s there’s none. But hey, they have pro-inclusiveness promos! #ffs
Why is that the case?

Just listen to Sandra Schwegler, St. Pauli’s head of supervisory board, that told @dw_business what she had to go through as she took over the role.

“A woman in the board? We can sell pink toasters!” #FCSP

But it’s obviously not just about numbers. Germany’s terraces, where the hard-core ultras are, see more and more women join the ranks. One example is Jule, a Werder Bremen ultra, who spoke to @DLF about what it’s like to be a female in such a male-dominated atmosphere. Werder Bremen ultra Jule talks about being a female football fan
This “manly rhetoric” has repercussions. This great docu by @Y_Kollektiv depicts what women in football go through as fans, journalists, club employees. Every interviewee described various cases of sexual harassment, sometimes even assault. Very alarming.

I already see how many will dismiss those arguments. “Just blokes having fun."

Well, tell that to the 19-year-old that was allegedly raped - yes, RAPED - by a 30-year-old man on the special train for Gladbach fans on their way to Bayern Munich away.

sueddeutsche.de/panorama/borus…
In another recent case, a Gladbach fan sexually harassed a passenger by revealing his penis to her in public.

When the police went on the train to arrest the man, Gladbach fans attacked the officers. He was later arrested with the help of the club.

dortmund24.de/dortmund/mann-…
As a way of countering this, women now start to establish their own fan clubs. A #VfB Stuttgart women fan club called “Dunkelrote Mädels 1893” (dark-red girls), which has 124 members, is a good example of that. Sabine, a VfB Stuttgart fan, on what she thinks of some of the sexist insults she hears when going to footballThe logo of a VfB Stuttgart female football fan club, Dunkelrote Mädels (dark-red girls)
Having said all that, things are changing. And as is the case with every good thing, the fan scenes take the lead. The case of 2. Bundesliga club Heidenheim is a good example of how the active fans can lead the way in battling sexism in the terraces.
In August 2014, a new fan organization was born in Heidenheim. Please meet Societas, a women-based #FCH ultras sub-group. Here are excerpts of how it describes itself. It’s long, but I think it is more informative than any DFB press release. The introduction of Societas, a FC Heidenheim women-based ultra sub-group
A few months later, in December 2015, Heidenheim faced Nürnberg. The Societas have put their first ever choreo on show. “Allez red-blue,” it says, with a woman ultra at the center of it.

What a thing of beauty this thing is.

(Video by FanaticoBoys08)
Also worth a mention: Ultras St. Pauli-Women, Bayern Munich’s Chicas, Carl-Zeiss Jena’s Senioritas and Babelsberg’s FMT*BBG, whose sticker is in the photo below, with the text: “Women at the terraces, all the rest is nonsense,” paraphrasing Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg. A sticker of Babelsberg female fan group FMT*BBG, with the text: “Women at the terraces, all the rest is nonsense,” paraphrasing Marxist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.
In conclusion, there’s LOTS of work to be done so that women will be able to be a real part of football. But it feels to me like most already understand that football needs women to keep its status as the world’s most popular sport. In Germany, there’s progress. But hardly enough
And as is the case with literally everything else in life, Freiburg coach Christian Streich knows best.

This is what he said when asked about Bibiana Steinhaus being the Bundesliga’s first female ref. His words about politics also ring true in regards to football. Freiburg coach Christian Streich talks about his stance in regards to women in football and in society
Now, something personal. The topic's huge. So many stories and details I left out just because Twitter, but did my best to go for a storyline that would do it justice. Would be great if women, men that have thoughts on the matter will reply to the thread, get a discussion going.
And while we're at it, a shoutout to my favorite active German football fans that happen to be women on Twitter: @Medienfreundin, @thesusieschaaf, @Mailandfahrer, @santapauli1980, @Mirai_Torres, @christinschen_j, @Aleksch1893, @Nithiel and I probably forgot many others.
I'll finish with one of my favorite ever choreos, by Werder Bremen fans (who else *green heart emoji*).

Football really has no gender. Let's keep on working towards making it that a reality. Werder Bremen fans with a choreo that says:
Meant @dlfkultur, argh. Also forgot to thank former Maccabi Haifa ultra @Dana_Regev for her amazing help researching and editing this thread.
"A Klassiker at Borussia Mönchengladbach? Stop sexual assaults!"

Fortuna Düsseldorf fans with a banner in protest against the alleged rape by a man on the special train for Gladbach fans to Munich 👏👏👏👏👏

CORRECTION: St. Pauli's head of supervisory board's name is Sandra Schwedler, not Schwegler. Appreciate the correction, @Medienfreundin 🙏

Another worthy addition:

@fcstpauli's USP-Frauen took a sexist banner aimed towards them from the Dynamo Dresden stand, and made an announcement full of snark, signed by the "The kitchen fairies of Ultras St. Pauli" before burning it 💪

What this is all about, really.

Important: Despite the fact BMG fans are repeatedly mentioned, I tried not to single them out as I don't believe one set of fans is the problem. It's way deeper than that. Whoever turns this into a debate of football allegiances misses the point entirely.

Can't condemn this approach strongly enough. Active fans in DE are one of the most socially, politically involved groups German society has to offer, I believe. Think of the structure instead of the individual. As always, the answers are there.

Historical context. Labeling a woman a "whore" is basically saying she's nothing but a sexual object, a sentiment reinforced by men over 1000s of years (aka the patriarchy). A man is, erm, not likely to get the same treatment, hence it's sexist.

"Be it on the special train, the ground or anywhere else. Love ultra, hate sexism."

Werder Bremen's Infamous Youth with a protest banner, referring to reports of a rape that took place on Gladbach's special fan train to Munich (full story ☝) #SVW

(📸: nurdersvw.de) Werder Bremen's Infamous Youth fly a banner that says:
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