Neville Southall has become the feminist icon we need.
It’s rare that football really generates feminist discussions, mostly because women’s football is criminally overlooked as a sport. However, one former footballing star has surprised everyone by becoming the feminist icon that we need.
In case you missed it (although how the hell could you?), Neville Southall – that’s right, the former Wales and Everton player – has been advocating for women and doing it damn well. He’s doing it so well that plenty of feminists are out for his blood.
It used to be a sign that when feminists complained then someone had royally screwed up, but now, feminism is so divided that it’s usually a sign that someone has actually stuck up for marginalised women. To his credit, Southall has done his work. He’s listened to activists, he’s listened to trans women, he’s listened to sex workers and he’s learned from that. He’s changed his politics to go with people’s lived experience, to empower marginalised women and to support change that does work.
Southall actively promotes listening to marginalised women too. He’s no ally speaking for people. At every turn, he recommends organisations to listen to and says we should pay attention to people instead of defining their experiences for them.
“Southall actively promotes listening to marginalised women too”
For this considered activism, Southall has been slammed by feminists who are just out to make media careers for themselves. The leader of the Women’s equality Party got in on the action, proving once and for all that this party is only for the white cis middle class women who act nicely and don’t bring the party into disrepute by having a shag for cash.
Southall has helped highlight just how wrong feminism has gone. Ideology and dogma is promoted over listening to people who are punished by laws that gatekeep their lives. Southall has listened to women and supported the change that they want. SWERF and TERFs though just want to make a quick media profile, grab some retweets and push other women down so they can build their careers on them. That is not progressive politics. It’s utterly selfish.
What is inspiring and empowering is that there are people who will listen, and will use their platform for good when they have no reason to really do so. Southall doesn’t have any investment in this but he’s doing it any way, because he believes it’s right. Southall is helping to restore faith that yes, there can be good allies and these can be better than most feminists who claim to speak for us. Sorry, but give me Neville Southall over any white cis feminist any single day of the week. Southall’s politics are the ones we need. Southall is the one centring women and supporting empowerment. Finally, a a true ally has stepped up. If only more feminists could support women like this.
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