'Don’t try and explain the offside rule to me just because I’m female'
- MMU sports photographers Molly Darlington and Chloe Hudson on sexism in the industry
It is almost beyond belief that in 2017 sexism still exists in sport. And while the treatment of women in professional sport is rapidly improving, perhaps it is time that sport’s periphery figures - who endure the bulk of ‘throwaway’ comments - are stopped being treated like a joke.
Molly Darlington, 19, and Chloe Hudson, 20, are both second-year photography students at MMU who specialise in sport and have plenty of experience covering all sorts of fixtures. Yet both have encountered what some might consider ‘throwaway’ comments about their knowledge of the sport.
They have even been asked if they have any idea of what is actually going on in a match.
You get people coming over to you trying to explain the offside rule
Speaking to SPoJo’s Max Pouncey for Hive Radio, Chloe underlines the difficulties of being a young woman in a predominantly male business, but does not seem overly surprised by comments she receives at events.
She said: “It’s tricky being a girl and being young as Molly and I are, 20 and 19, so we’re often not taken seriously. But it’s one of those things, it only takes a couple of comments before they realise you know what you’re talking about and they stop trying to explain the rules to you. We get a lot of ‘don’t stand too close to the sidelines,’ but it is how it is.
“With football being a male-dominated sport, you sometimes get people coming over to you trying to explain the offside rule, asking if you know what they’re doing or what’s going on”
Yet it seems that the pair are so used to sexist comments and remarks that neither consider the issue detrimental to their work, with Molly telling us she often opts to just “shake it off and get on with it”.
On sexism in football, Molly said: “With football being a male-dominated sport, you sometimes get people coming over to you trying to explain the offside rule, asking if you know what they’re doing or what’s going on.
“And you’re like ‘well, yeah, I’ve photographed football for three years every Tuesday and Saturday night so I do know what’s going on.’”
So, what inspires somebody to want to become a sports photographer?
Speaking about her love for photography, Chloe said: “I love the idea of capturing a moment that happens just once and if you’re not there and you don’t capture the moment then it’s gone and it’s passed - but I like to be the person that gets it.”
Molly added: “I like to capture the emotion on players’ faces when they score. The fans, when they see your pictures, the reaction you get is quite rewarding and satisfying seeing what they think.”
Chloe has worked as a photographer at a summer camp in New Hampshire, US, for the past three years capturing images of children competing in an entire range of activities. However, her best experience as a sports photographer was here in the UK capturing shots of the Grand National.
“That was really exciting and rewarding. I wasn’t very high up on the media coverage so I didn’t get a particularly good spot, but it was a great experience and a really great atmosphere,” she said.
Molly specialises primarily in football, and covered her first professional game a week ago at Gigg Lane for Bury v Bradford in League One - a game which The Shakers won 3-1.
About this experience, she said: “I got some good celebration shots and and some good shots of the goal, which went all over their social media and their website so it’s getting my name out there to do what I want to do as a job.”