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As a lifelong GAA follower, I was appalled to read star footballer Valerie Mulcahy’s account (Irish Examiner, April 16) of the contemptuous treatment meted out to female players by the controlling male order of the organisation.
As a small, but significantly symbolic step towards reform, women footballers should absolutely insist on calling themselves just that, ie, “women”, with its connotations of robust equality, and reject the dated and patronising word “ladies”, a usage which perfectly suits the dominant male culture.
Under a cloak of bogus chivalry, this term facilitates a masculine, pat-on-the-head mindset which ultimately results in the various humiliations detailed by Mulcahy.
One of the dictionary definitions of “lady” is a “courteous and genteel woman”. In turn, ‘genteel’ means “affectedly polite or refined”. Such qualities, I suggest, are unlikely to be helpful in winning 10 All-Irelands.
John A Murphy,
Douglas Road, Cork.
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