FOOTY FATHER FRETS

The following introduction to a very strange article – at Fairfax, of course – gives not a hint that its author, Anthony Mithen, father of AFLW player Lily Mithen, is a former journalist:

Thank you, football. Thanks for making some people better. For making some people understand. For making a difference. And please don’t be too concerned about those that you can’t reach. For their dye must have been cast long ago.

It was the likes of Michael Long, Nicky Winmar and Mick “Magic” McLean that made the kids from the all-white, alright neighbourhoods see that slurs about hair colour, weight or a big nose were very different to a generation that had been persecuted and oppressed not because of a big nose or hair colour – that would be just silly – but because they were Aboriginal.

It drove to the core of their existence and their daily fight to be recognised as equal, as worthy when in fact they were superior in so many cases. It was a message that the AFL taught its fans and helped make life in Australia better.

Gee, it seems like only yesterday that AFL fans right round Australia were in trouble for taunting Adam Goodes.

Now it’s the turn of Daisy Pearce, Katie Brennan, Darcy Vescio and co. And the message is just as important. Thankfully this washed-up media type was a bit quicker on the uptake. Mainly because of the privilege of watching a small girl grow up to be a strong lady in the environment of the male bastion. And surviving. In fact, thriving. Not without hardships though. Lily Mithen, my 18-year-old Melbourne Demon daughter and her teammates and opponents in this competition are to be admired for all they’ve suffered.

 

The women-are-victims thing was sure to come up.

Over the most stunning of weekends a week ago, it was disturbing to learn of the attitude from both males and females that AFLW represented equality gone mad. This wasn’t “equal” because the “sheilas” don’t play against the men. This was “rubbish football” and what was the point. And the baffling attitude of a woman who works in the field of corporate community engagement that “it should just be left to the men”.

Some viewers, me included, were less than smitten; get over it.

The battle of the modern woman to demand the equal opportunities is summed up in the AFLW and should make everyone wiser to women’s rights. Surely it’s not about females beating or even being as good as the men at some things. It’s about being given the same platform. It’s about being acknowledged on the same level. It’s about pushing to be the best they can be. More than 50,000 turned up on the weekend at four different venues. Television ratings were equivalent to AFL matches because league administrators gave women the platform they deserve.

Plenty of people get it. Plenty didn’t but they do now. Equal opportunity. It’s not hard. Equal attitudes. Yeah, that sounds good … as long as there’s not an old stagers boxing match on interstate where the boys can be boys. But enough has been said on that.

Surely its all about watchability and ticket sales.

To read Facebook last weekend was to see the delusions of many. “I’m all for this women’s footy thing but it’s hardly as good as the men’s so why have it?” Here’s an idea. For all those that don’t see the worthiness, start your own MySpace page. You belong in another era.

Deluded Anthony belongs on another planet.

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