Everytime I go to draw money on campus I see it: the Wall of Shame. It’s covered with photos, and no, not photos of people who’ve messed up, who should be ashamed. In fact, the pictures are of smiling people proud of achievement. The shame belongs to those who picked and printed the photos. They’re on the wall of my college’s GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) club office (at least I think it’s their office).
There are 21 photos on the wall. One of them is a shot of a sport field with people only in the distance:
That leaves 20 photos. Of these, three are of women. Here they are:
In two of the three photos the women’s faces are obscure or turned away from the camera. In the third, a large group of women are shown, a sea of faces, indistinct. Some of the photos of men are similar. However, the majority are loving, personal, joyous, celebratory.
“The lads” are depicted as a team, mates, the images a celebration of the brotherhood in sport:
What breaks my heart as well, though, is how men are also shown as students, apparently studying sport. Only men (you can make out one woman in the background):
I don’t know much about DkIT’s GAA club. I don’t know what they say about including women, encouraging women to participate. What I do know is that this wall speaks more clearly than a hundred thousand words. This club is by men, for men, worshipping men. A few crappy images of women are thrown in awkwardly, no heart in them. They may as well have written “by the way we are not sexist srsly look women” on an arrow-shaped poster beside these pictures, it would at least have been more honest.
Should the excuse be that so few women participate that those are unfortunately the best pictures that could be found, the club should know that as long as there are almost no images of women playing GAA sports, there will be almost no women playing GAA sports. Fake it ’til you make it. If there’s a single game each year then make sure you get loads of good photos and SHOW THEM OFF. Make sure for every photo of men there’s a photo of women. Make the photos good, as vibrant as those you have up of male players. Men are intimidating, especially in packs. We need to see other women doing stuff to show us we can, too.
Someone asked on Twitter a while ago what can be done to encourage more women to participate in GAA. Well, on the wall outside DkIT’s GAA club you can see what you can do to make sure they don’t.