As a mother, I’m always looking for new activities for my son to sign up to and attend for three weeks before losing interest.
So, when I heard about a new sport coming out of Australia’s hipster capital, Melbourne, I was really excited. Like parkour and wearing Lorna Jane while doing your grocery shopping, Women’s AFL is taking the fitness world by storm.
The sport has been played in an underground capacity – in back alleys, and all girls’ school PE lessons – for years, but now that it’s hit the mainstream, I feel confident that it’s a fresh way for my son to get some exercise and Vitamin D on a Saturday.
That is, if I can find anywhere that will let him play it. Yes, it seems Women’s AFL, a sport which claims to be fighting for equality, has a gender problem.
It comes from the top: in a gender ratio worse than Afghanistan’s parliament, not one of the sport’s professional teams has a man on side.
And, without any male role models to look up to, it seems the junior sides are similarly imbalanced. When I went down to my local club, the registrar just stared at me, perplexed, as if she had never even conceived that a boy might want to join the team.
She then suggested I might want to enrol him in the garden variety AFL competition. What year is this? 1974? I wouldn’t be caught dead holding a tub of oranges on the sideline of such an uncool pursuit.
If Women’s AFL wants to become a mainstay of Australian sport, a more progressive attitude is needed.