In the midst of the controversies caused by the homophobic screamviolence in stadiums, wage inequality of the soccer players of the Women’s MX League and the need to have safe spaces for women who enjoy soccer, the idea arose feminist bar.
The group is responsible for encouraging players, managers and other women members of the Women’s BBVA MX League.
Angélica Martínez, Irma Alfaro and Jimena Soria are part of this group and in an interview with Infobae Mexico They told how the process of creating the bar was, the challenges they have faced and the objectives they pursue to seize more space in the Mexican league.
How did it come about?
During the Women’s World Cup France 2019, Jimena said that among friends they got together to exchange stamps of the collectible album; they noticed the little diffusion of international women’s soccer and began to devise the draft of what would later become the Feminist Barra.
A year later, within the framework of the activities of March 8, 2020 for International Women’s Day, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) invited all the soccer fans to the game of Cougars Women vs Cruz Azul in their first game as locals in the Olympic Stadium. That of the Clausura 2020 access was free.
It became the first opportunity for the Feminist Barra to be properly born as a group of women who attend the games of the women’s league. They had purple shirts printed with the print that would formally define them: a soccer field and a green fist in the middle.
The call was given “voice to voice” between friends and acquaintances. Once installed in the stands, they improvised songs that were replicated by the attendees around them. His debut at the CU stadium opened the way to create a space for dialogue on social networks.
“When we were already there, they began to ask us ‘hey, and how do you know them?’ So it was like: ‘Ah! I think we need social networks,” Jimena pointed out.
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico slowed down its face-to-face activities in the stadiums, but the Digital environment It allowed them to reinforce their work as a Feminist Barra.
What is the Feminist Bar?
It took more than a year to meet again in a stadium, on July 17, 2021 they attended the Pumas vs Necaxa game of the Apertura 2021 after the reopening of the University Stadium. With a more specific vision of what La Barra is and with the intention of attending more stadiums, they launched calls to make the group grow through social networks.
“It is a safe space for girls where we can enjoy women’s sports and talk about it”
They were the words with which Angélica Martínez defined what the group represents. Irma Alfaro described it as “a space where I can be, express myself and have that passion without measure for the sport, without reaching a violent issue”.
While Jimena stated that it is “a group of feminist women who are fans of women’s soccer who seek to occupy the stadiums with feminist slogans and build a support base for players”.
The main job of the Feminist Bar is to be the opposite of the men’s league bars, where it is common to see violent riots defending the colors of a club. They support all teams of the championship since their main slogan with which they close each game is:
“If one wins, we all win.”
In a constant process of construction and formation of the values of the fans, they defined the bases of the group’s operation in the following points:
* It is a safe space for women.
*Support all the women who make Liga MX Femenil soccer possible.
*Reject any inequality within women’s soccer.
*Promote healthy competition between those who play on the field and the fans outside the stadiums.
*Encourage the teams with handkerchiefs, t-shirts and feminist slogans.
*Reject macho/sexist language towards female players and all women who are part of women’s soccer.
*A safe space for all, to be trans-inclusive.
*Do not respond to provocations on and off the field.
*Resignify the football bars as a space of happiness, meeting, fighting and joy.
*Do not replicate behaviors of violence normalized in football.
Although the project began in Mexico City, it quickly had a replica in other states, as is the case of Angélica, who is a member of the bar who lives in Querétaro. Thanks to social networks, she managed to join and take the message of the bar to that state, the same thing happened in Monterrey, Puebla and Juárez, where they have a presence.
Another meeting space has been the games of the Women’s Mexican National Teamevery time the Tri plays at home in the country, they organize themselves to go to support the national team; They have traveled to the Tepa Gómez stadium (in Jalisco), to the Azteca (CDMX) and will soon go to the Volcán stadium in Nuevo León for the Mexico vs. Suriname duel of the Concacaf Women’s Pre-World Cup.
How do they go to the games?
Through the Telegram chat they organize themselves to see the agenda of each day, meeting point and plan the duels to which they will be able to go. They do not always come to everyone, since due to labor, economic or schedule issues it is difficult for them to attend.
Angelica, Irma and Jimena clarified that all expenses of transfers and purchase of tickets leaves on own account it works as a volunteer and a passion for football. They do not have any type of support from any club or the recognition of the Mexican Football Federation to support the Tri. They also do not have outside income. (such as sponsorships) that cover their expenses.
Although some professional players have shown interest in the Feminist Bar (mainly on social networks) no soccer player or techniques have shown their support to facilitate access to the stadiums. The Feminist Barra knows that it is not easy for athletes to defend ideologies and get sponsorships, but every time they have some approach with the protagonists of the matches, they show off their emotion as fangirl, according to Angelica.
“They are going to seek to register the Barra to get closer to directives and others, and have access or sponsorship for the ticket and travel to support Mexico, why not? it could be achieved at some point, that’s the idea,” said Irma.
Why occupy more stadiums with the Feminist Barra?
Although they have faced stigmata of what the word “feminism” in the social context of the country, they struggle to communicate an opposite message and mainly to combat the defects of the men’s league to resignify the stands.
“These spaces are necessary to continue building and replicating that another football is possible,” Jimena said.
Although the presence of green scarves Y purple t-shirts makes some sectors of the Mexican population uncomfortable, taking this image to the stadiums has not been an easy task. One way to combat stigma has been in the creation of dialogue forums in which they talk about the work they do by supporting female athletes.
The most recent was a Space on Twitter with the title “The normalization of violence in soccer” that arose from the controversy generated by Craig Harrington, coach of América Femenil. In it they had a great response from the fans (both male and female).
Currently in his Telegram group is made up of 110 participantsbut the number does not define the entire baras they stated that there are more fans outside the digital environment and that little by little they have joined, in each game they seek to “sign” more followers and have more presence in the stadiums.
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