Dear “AFL Memes” Social Media Managers
It saddens and disappoints me that a page with so many followers has chosen to go down the route of degrading women with what is nothing less than crude and juvenile humour.
Over the weekend you posted a meme about a female St George Dragons AFL player who did a mid-air split jump to spoil a marking attempt by Holroyd Parramatta.
The sad part is that the young woman you have chosen to degrade is in fact only 17 years old. The mind air splits that player Erin Wardrop (yes, she is a real human and has a name), achieves is nothing short of an incredible feat of athleticism. I have yet to see a male player perfect a move like this. However, you chose to turn this strength and determination into gutter smut for the infantile pleasure of what appears to be a growing audience for the footy codes of Australia. The comments made by some of the men on social media is stomach churning.
It’s unfortunate that the footy codes in Australia have gained the reputation of abusing alcohol, drugs and women. The AFL and NRL are currently in a state of brand crisis with this type of culture running rampant amongst some of the players and clearly from a fair few of the supporters. And it’s these types of posts that fuel the reputation further.
The disappointing part is that you had an opportunity to use this image for good. You had the perfect platform to highlight just how amazing the female AFL players are and, to throw down the gauntlet to male players challenging them to perform such a move. You had the chance to help redirect the AFL brand into a better light rather than cement the current perception.
But here’s the thing, “AFL Memes” Social Media Managers, there are so many good men who not only play the game but that support it too. These gentlemen don’t find humour in bad taste memes. They understand the difference between what is appropriate and what isn’t. These good men can recognise that the sexualisation of such an extraordinary achievement of athleticism is nauseating. I noticed that some of these good men were commenting on how inappropriate the post was, yet they got shot-down themselves.
The good men understand this as a major problem not just in the footy culture, but our Australian culture too. What if the next woman to be objectified was their mother, sister or daughter?
You should be looking to these gentlemen as a moral compass guide. Use their standards of how to treat women for a better code of conduct, and help improve and enhance the reputation of the brand for all footy codes.
“AFL Memes” Social Media Managers, I implore you to think of the influence you have over your audience. Before you post, please consider the young men and women who will see these memes and be mindful of the affects you can have on them, the type of behaviour you are endorsing and on the brand perception of the AFL.
You have an incredible opportunity to do good. Wit is one thing, smut is another. Be good humans. Stand up for those who are creating amazing things in this world. Prove to all of those watching, that footy fans and players are intelligent, mindful and respectful. Help change the brand of AFL. Help create a better world for our families to enjoy good, healthy and respectful sports. Help eliminate sexual objectification, not promote it. Raise the bar and be role models for others to follow.
Be kind. Be courteous. Be good.