Campaign to get real female football fans to top of Google


Google ‘female football fan’ and you will be greeted with endless pictures of attractive, slim, scantily clad women. Female football fans are diverse, but the images reaching the top of search engines are not.

This is despite a YouGov Profiles Lite survey of 22,000 football fans suggesting a third of UK football fans are women.

A campaign has been launched ahead of the World Cup to produce a more diverse representation of women fans online.

The campaign led by photography project This Fan Girl wants to replace the “over-sexualised and non-representative” images which appear at the top of search engines with five images they have selected of a diverse group of women football fans.

#wearefemalefans

This Fan Girl wants these images of female football fans at the top of search engines
This Fan Girl wants these images of female football fans at the top of search engines

They want people to share news articles containing those images with the hashtag #WeAreFemaleFans in a bid to get them to the top of search engines. The aim is to get these articles to overtake articles objectifying so-called WAGS – the wives and girlfriends who will be attending the game, and women fans.

One of the images it hopes to get to the top of the search engine

Amy Drucquer and Laura Blake launched This Fan Girl in 2016. In their images, they challenge the representation of women football fans, showing women of different ages, from different backgrounds and of different religions and ethnicities celebrating football.

Men support it

Arsenal (Picture: This Fan Girl)
Arsenal (Picture: This Fan Girl)

They began by taking pictures of women outside Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, before travelling to stadiums across the country. Their photos are published on ThisFanGirl.com.

“Most women are really up for it,” Drucquer told i: “We do get a few jokes from the men along the lines of ‘it’s sexist you don’t want to take my picture!’ but they’re generally just really proud that we want to take their partner, or daughter’s, photo. I think both men and women in the football community totally understand what the issue is and everyone is really supportive.”

How to get women to the top

'We want to celebrate all female football fans, not just those that tick certain boxes' (Picture: This Fan Girl)
‘We want to celebrate all female football fans, not just those that tick certain boxes’ (Picture: This Fan Girl)

The campaign is being co-led by Carabao Energy Drink, a football sponsor. But how realistic is actually getting these images ranking, when so many ‘World Cup sexiest fans’ articles will likely be churned out? Articles like one written by a male journalist for The Mirror in 2014, which began: “The tournament has lived up to everyone’s expectations so far and judging these beauties, the female fans are up to some relatively high standards too.”

Anna Cooke, Brand Manager at Carabao, told i: “It is going to be tough but certainly doable, especially with the support of fans. The most effective, and quickest, thing to do is to share news articles about the campaign on social media using the hashtag #WeAreFemaleFans. The more people that share the images the more likely it is that they will become the top images of female football fans on search engines.

“We are working with an SEO expert who has shared his advice on the best way to boost the ranking of our images and play the ‘sexy fans’ articles at their own game.”

To find out more about how you can support the campaign, click here

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