Daily Mail

Female stars are ‘destroyed’ by pressures of body image ‘As women we‘re judged enough to look a certain way’

Hayes praise for Kirby taking on online trolls

- Kathryn Batt e Women’s Football Correspond­ent

CHElSEA boss Emma Hayes says female players are being ‘ destroyed’ by the pressures of body image and praised Fran Kirby for opening up over ‘ harmful’ comments from online trolls.

Kirby features in Chelsea’s new documentar­y Nothing Stops Us, which explores research into new technology to help female athletes.

In one clip, the England internatio­nal forward, 30, was asked why she was wearing a jumper and responded by saying: ‘Because I get called fat all the time, so I have to cover it up.’

She went on to talk about how nutrition was a key part of her recovery from a serious knee injury, but explained there is a ‘fear’ of carbohydra­tes in the women’s game due to possible weight gain.

Hayes has been vocal on the pressures that female players face to ‘look good’ and has long argued that a lack of education around nutrition can lead to eating disorders.

‘I’ve spoken a lot about why I do not believe in the women’s game we should have weigh-ins or body compositio­n tests.

‘Body shaming is a real thing. The players feel it and I was proud of Fran for saying that, because as women we’re judged enough to look a certain way.

‘In order to perform at the level that you need to you need to eat carbs, as well as a healthy diet and, unfortunat­ely, there is a problem in the game.

‘I’m not going to just limit it to the women’s game, there is a problem in sport with underfueli­ng and underloadi­ng. That comes with the constant demands to look a certain way and, unfortunat­ely, a vitriolic environmen­t that comes from social media.

‘Fran certainly fell victim to that, as other players have as well. So, again, I urge everybody to be mindful of that because we’re destroying people in many ways.

‘I’m really glad Fran said out loud what many female players do not say enough.’

Asked whether she herself has felt pressure when it comes to body image, Hayes replied: ‘Sometimes people are not kind but I guess you have to have a thick skin in my job.

‘My thing is I always want to try and educate, so I’ll always say to someone “please can you not take a photo like that” or “please can you consider that the athlete won’t like that” or “please can you just make sure you take a headshot? I don’t want you to do a zoom out with that”.

‘Educating people is important because maybe photograph­ers are not always conscious of it, or they might take a shot of something thinking, “Well, no one has ever said that to me because I’ve only captured male footballer­s before”.

‘But I do think they have to think about it. I’m only talking about things all female players discuss in the background.

‘I feel the same way they do but I’m a bit older and I’m in menopause, so I’ve got my own challenges.’

Chelsea visit Aston Villa in the Women’s Super league today.

 ?? PA ?? Spotlight: in a new documentar­y, Chelsea striker Kirby has spoken out powerfully about body shaming in the women’s game
PA Spotlight: in a new documentar­y, Chelsea striker Kirby has spoken out powerfully about body shaming in the women’s game
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