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Emma Hayes needs to be called out for her “male aggression” – imagine if Jonas Eidevall cited “female emotions.”

He would rightly be punished for using such a gender stereotype to criticize his counterpart. After all, for far too long women in sport – and society as a whole – have been accused of “letting their emotions get the better of them” or “losing control,” while men who do the same are described as “passionate.”

Take Serena Williams, who is so often reprimanded for her on-court outbursts, while similar actions by male tennis players are explained with words like “You can understand his frustration.”

There is clearly a double standard when it comes to labeling female athletes who do not conform to the behavior that is “expected” of women. Additionally, they are often objectified and judged based on their appearance, which is not the case with male athletes.

Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea: Press conference by Jonas Eidevall

Fortunately, sport and society are beginning to recognize this inequality – albeit more slowly than many of us would like.

In short, gender does not need to be taken into account in these debates. Criticize the tennis player, the manager, the football team – there is no need to include the gender of those involved.

And if we want to highlight such double standards when criticizing women, we need to do the same with men. That means we have to take note of Hayes’ comments after her Chelsea team were beaten by Arsenal on Sunday.

Yes, she didn’t like Eidevall gesturing at Erin Cuthbert when the Chelsea captain tried to take a quick throw-in with a different ball than the one that left the pitch (after the teams had agreed to the one-ball game). system). before the game), but didn’t have to label this as “male aggression”.

Why is the word “male” needed, which suggests intimidating women and ties into the idea of ​​toxic masculinity?

Eidevall said such language was “irresponsible” and it was hard to disagree.

In fact, the two Chelsea players involved were arguably more aggressive. It was Cuthbert who took several steps towards Eidevall when he raised the ball issue, and it was Hayes who gave her counterpart a nudge as they shook hands at the end of the game.

Think for a moment about the impact it would have if Eidevall had come into contact with Hayes at the final whistle.

Hayes has faced many difficult situations with men throughout her career – the same goes for most women who work in sports – but that doesn’t mean everything should be criticized along gender lines.

Over the years, Hayes has used her platform well to promote women’s football by highlighting the need for more female coaches and denouncing sexism in society.

However, she has made some missteps in recent weeks. The “male aggression” quote comes shortly after she called player-player relationships “inappropriate.”

She later said she disappointed herself with those comments, and one wonders if she would also regret Sunday’s words.

Language is such a powerful tool – in this case she was wrong.

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