Thanks, MirandaC, commentator at the Guardian, for putting it all in perspective.
Has a well-known public figure in any other field ever been fired for sexism?
But in what other comparable workplace, apart from (probably) the Sun, would you get that sort of sexism in this day and age? The BBC, the Guardian? Parliament? – it’s unimaginable; people just don’t talk like Gray and Keys in the middle-class professional world.
Football is pretty much the last bastion of real old-fashioned sexism because it’s still an area of life where men can take it for granted that they’re the superior sex. Women footballers? It’s not just the Sun-reading man in the pub who knows that they’re rubbish; everyone knows it, even UEFA – remember Blatter on the tight shorts.
Women in football, players and match officials alike, have always been and probably always will be second-class citizens. But what happened at Sky is that football came into contact with the world of the office, where the bimbos, as Gray and Keys presumably think of them, those daft little girls with clipboards and tits, are actually professional women with degrees and an awareness that what they were being subjected to in terms of harrassment and boorishness would be regarded with incredulity by the outside world.
That’s what’s so cheering about this collision of cultures. It has brought football into the twenty-first century. Progress will be slow, as it was with racism, but the sexist toothpaste is now out of the tube. If nothing else, there aren’t so many people now, at least to judge from callers to talksport the other day, who still think it’s OK to jeer and sneer at women match officials purely on account of their gender.