Sexism, Sports And Society. Why Sky’s Not The Limit


By Zaufishan Iqbal- Sports are a man’s kingdom and the kitchen was fully fitted for women. While modernity has blurred these socially accepted gender roles into new and improved feminised women and emasculated men, misogyny is rampant on every sports ground and channel.

I, and I’m certain our readers, have a keen interest in various sports and healthy competition. But in our faith, in Islam, my designated place as a woman is not (A) in a kitchen or (B) on the cover of a sports magazine.

Which brings us to our story: Two Sky Sports presenters, Andy Gray and Richard Keys were temporarily dropped earlier this week resulting from sexist remarks they made towards Sian Massey, a professional female referee and Karren Brady,  Vice-chairman of West Ham Football Club. What did they say that has Britain in pre-Victorian shock?

I’ll tell you. Thinking the microphones were switched off, they said women “probably don’t know the offside rule”. That’s hardly illegal in comparison to real crime but co-presenter Gray and Keys further mocked Massey’s decisions on field; at another broadcast before being aired, Keys also made lewd remarks towards his female co-anchor which I wouldn’t want to repeat.

Immediately apologies were issued, Sky Sports representatives reprimanded them both and Keys’ sister defended the comments, calling it ‘just a bit of banter’. Banter? Generalising that all women are not mentally equipped like men to comprehend a logistical game is banter? Suffice to say a vast majority of British people – Muslim or not, men or women – carry such attitudes and no headline is horrified at this. We have been socialised into accepting it.

The shameful issue here is not what Gray and Keys laughed off secretly or what they said – there isn’t a television presenter who at some point or another would make equally or more perverse statements. And, as critics are shocked that sexism still exists in the paradise of 21st century, nor is the issue centred on a power struggle of men V women.

The real issue, the point THEY fail to see, is the pathetic double-standard bred in people’s minds where demoralised men lay down their game’s rules and in desperate hopes of wanting the same, women sell out.

‘Equality’ is a see-through label thrown about to make everyone plod along.

“Yes, my dear, you’re equal, you’re just as competent as he is, but if you could just throw your chest forward while I photograph you for Nuts magazine, we’ll compensate you for his sexist remarks.”

And you’re surprised when a man thinks of you as anything but his equal. I won’t even elaborate on the controlling-power the media has on what we learn about ourselves, when and how we learn it. We are sieves which lets anything pass through.

High morals, decent conduct with all people, biting your tongue and being accountable is too old school to be cool. But this is exactly what a Muslim society is built upon. Am I saying Britain should convert to Islam? No. What I am saying is that the people of Britain could adopt another moral or two from Islam. Morals that enrich and purify minds.

This case of Sky’s ‘wikileaking’ mics just proves that Allah reveals all. What you say, whether secret, with malicious intent, and what you think, is eventually exposed and will be shown on The Day of all days. The Judgement Day where men and women are accountable for what they said and did, not how well they knew the off-side rule.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that men and women are opposites, physiologically, emotionally, mentally. We are not equal, we are not exactly identical.

Our every chromosome screams that I am a woman, and he is a man and we can never replace roles no matter how many trousers we wear. The only way we can bridge this divide is through an understanding of one another, in a world where true men are humble men and real women are modest women as designed by Allah.

Islam teaches this crystal-clear script. The only equality which exists, and which is of most value, is spiritual equality – where a man and woman are complete equals in their race for pleasing Allah. What Islam teaches is not gender equality, but ‘gender sameness’; an equity whereby a woman excels in her roles professionally and a man in his.

Allah (swt) mentions in the Glorious Quran


“Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” (Surah 33:35)

How ironic then that our British patriots and media emperors, who have more often than not, criticised Islam rights for women, have all the while built upon the unquestioned man-in-suit and women-in-skirt’s gender bias. Britain is a living product of capitalism, and sat on the throne with a dirty crown is immorality.

This sexist attitude isn’t going anywhere either. As Muslims it’s our job to demonstrate Islamic gender equity and empower ourselves as men and women.

Allah (swt) says in the Glorious Quran


“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise”. (Surah 9:71)

We need to help the wider nation understand that although this one incident of prejudice will eventually be forgotten, Sky Sports is not the limit.

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