FIFA Is Cracking Down On This Sexist Broadcasting Trend At The World Cup

What is the "honey shot"?

FIFA is taking action to fight sexism during this year's World Cup by cracking down on broadcasters' shots of "hot female fans" in the crowd. According to the Irish Examiner, the soccer organization has been working with the anti-discrimination group Fare Network to cut down on the practice of spotlighting or commenting on attractive young women during games. 

"We've done it with individual broadcasters. We've done it with our host broadcast services," explained FIFA diversity chief Federico Addiechi, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He added that, while they're not yet being "proactive" about it, they would "take action against things that are wrong."

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The Observer points out that the practice of focusing on attractive female fans was pioneered by TV director Andy Sidaris in the 1970s. Sidaris, who called himself a "dirty old man," referred to it as the "honey shot." It's easy to see how this practice might make female fans feel less welcome to enjoy their favorite sport.

The site points out that World Cup viewers on Twitter have been comparing the attractiveness of women from various countries, while sports commentator Ian Wright reportedly commented during the Sweden vs. England game that he was "sorry that so many beautiful women are so sad right now." Getty Images also came under fire for publishing a gallery of the "sexiest World Cup fans," all of whom were women. 

The Observer mentions that the photography collective This Fan Girl has started a campaign called #WeAreFemaleFans, which aims to "change the face of female football fans on the internet" by photographing a diverse group of female England fans.

Sexism has been a major problem at this year's tournament, with Fare Network executive director Piara Powar saying they have "documented more than 30 cases" of mostly Russian women being "accosted in the streets" by male fans. However, he added that it is likely 10 times that amount.

Several female sports reporters have also been sexually harassed or assaulted during World Cup broadcasts. Julia Guimarães went viral for calling out a man who tried to kiss her on air, while Colombian reporter Julieth González Therán had her breast groped by a fan.

Hopefully, FIFA's crackdown on broadcasters objectifying women will be effective. But it's just one small step in addressing the widespread issue of sexism in sports, from inequality in journalism to the unfair treatment of NFL cheerleaders

Cover image: Alizada Studios / Shutterstock.com

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