Women behaving badly?


I know it can’t be easy living with the stress of managing a whopping pay packet – and being idolised must be incredibly draining as is (I would imagine) dealing with the day to day trauma of enormous sponsorship deals – (nobody wants to be told what free car they have to drive) – but here we go again.


Another day. Another unsavoury headline: “Melbourne Vixens in Mad Monday Romp”.


Sadly, it’s become an all-too familiar theme – women in sport behaving badly. When will they get it? With all that cash and heroine-worshipping comes responsibility. Simple really.


Let’s be clear. This isn’t just a netball phenomenon. It cuts across all female-dominated sports. No club is impervious to the Festival Of Stupidity, especially at this time of the year.


A few weeks ago a star player from the Victorian Women’s Football League was caught setting fire to the smooth, oiled, naked bottom of a Chippendale who had been hired to dance for the girls at their closed-off team gathering.


We’ve also learned of an alleged multi-million dollar international match-fixing ring involving one of our semi-professional women’s soccer teams. It was slightly more sophisticated than the recent Nigerian effort of 79-0 but spectacularly dumb nonetheless.


The past year has been a particularly fertile period for sporting idiocy – we’ve had salary-cap breaches, draft tampering and “tanking” in our national sport and some moronic individual performances deserve special mention; our Spin Queen’s mistimed Ashes head-butt in a Coventry Bar, the centre court hotshot who auditioned for the remake of Bullitt in her canary yellow Ferrari, and the late night slugfest between two women’s rugby team mates. Yes, that’s right. Team mates.


Who could forget the “bonding” session our female swimmers had before the London Olympics? To be so cruel to the men that trained so hard for so long… and worse, to tarnish the sport in which our reputation was for so long held in the highest regard.  A simple lesson in how to turn gold into manure.


Some of the top women coaches are prone to bouts of churlishness too. Not even a magnificent qualifying final win could stop one from belittling a journalist for asking an entirely reasonable question. I know us women are a sensitive bunch but there’s really no need for that kind of unprovoked bitchiness… what’s the expression we could all learn from  – manners maketh the man.


Rudeness at media conferences is one thing. Experimenting with Frankenstein cocktails, Venezuelan mystery phials and liquidised cockroach testicles (for their anti-wrinkle properties apparently) is quite another.


I’ve always found the notion of injecting substances into the body for vanity a baffling one – but introducing baboon cells into the bloodstream is plain madness. This has been denied of course – a club statement veered off into the absurd when it said they didn’t know what they were injecting?


When it comes to exploring normally sacrosanct body parts on-field, no one does it better than the tough women of rugby league. We don’t bat an eyelid any more when we read of a 6-week ban for nipple-biting and crotch-tweaking.


And I’ll leave you with the case of the high ranking official who told her staff to call her “Dolly” in reference to the size of her breasts. Just think about this for a minute. Can you imagine a man in that position demanding to be called Donkey? It’s preposterous. Inconceivable. The woman later resigned saying the comment was made “in jest” – the only one standing by her was her man (Ms Parton would be proud).


All this begs the question – why is it only women in sport who are susceptible to boneheaded behaviour? Men, on the whole, are a respectful lot. Take Buddy Franklin for example. It can’t have been easy keeping that secret from his club and team mates. But life isn’t fair. Men don’t get the recognition they deserve or the juicy rewards, despite being more successful on the world stage.  But what they do have is grace and humility.


Our women could take a leaf out of their book.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Superb JTH can I buy some sarcasm off you ? Simply Brilliant V funny

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sincere Apologies Angela A V Clever Article

  3. Very witty Angela. I am frequently called “donkey” at home, but not for the reasons you allude to.

  4. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Litza would refer to them as ‘Cockdonkeys’.

    Ange, I find it hard to disagree with you, but can ‘grace and humility’ coexist with ‘win at all costs’ and ‘whatever it takes’? I don’t think it’s a gender issue. We pamper these athletes and fetishize them. What do we expect?

  5. Talk about the pot calling the kettle. I remember those estrogen fueled morning radio segment on RSN Ms Pippos. Thank goodness that the station brought back Mick McGuane to provide some balance and sensitivity to discussions

  6. Hi Angela,
    At Uni in 2005 I did sport journalism. A few women were in the class. We got given topics for an assignment, selected by the lecturer at random. One of the women in the class was given ‘women in sport.’
    She is now a presenter for a commercial network. Back then she asked me to swap her assignment for mine, which was bad sportsmanship.
    No way.
    ‘I think a man should write about women in sport,’ she said.
    I told her as a man I wasn’t qualified, and she should write what she felt about women in sport.
    I never read her assignment, but damn, I hope it was like your story…
    Well done. Loved it.

  7. Good call, Angela.
    The pattern of behaviour to which you allude cannot be argued with.
    The gender of the protagonists, likewise.
    I’m not sure of the degree of causality between one (the behaviour) and the other (the gender), though.
    Plenty of women acting like galoots the world over, too.
    The ones with profile usually don’t gain it due to sporting endeavours, as you point out. Rather, we just need a quick peek at the “entertainment” world to become engorged on stories of dubious female behaviours.

    So if not gender, what is feeding this boorishness? This self-centredness? This appalling lack of personal insight?
    As others have said, I loved your piece and especially the left-field approach you took.

  8. Thanks for your comments – I enjoyed writing it too.
    Stay tuned… there’s more to come.

  9. Girls will be girls.

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