The issue of equality of women in British society has been made obvious to the world, when in the wake of the 2013 Wimbledon final. When Andy Murray won the Men’s Singles at Wimbledon there was great excitement, particularly among the British press. Every half an hour the BBC broadcast, and other media outlets around the world repeated, that this was the first British victory at Wimbledon in 77 years.
While it is true that no British man had won the Gentlemen’s Singles Championship since Fred Perry in 1936, this drought of British ascendency did not extend to the Ladies Tournament. Four British women won the title during those 77 years. This means that, as far as the press was concerned, women champion just don’t count – their wins were not British victories at Wimbledon. Women sportswomen just don’t count.
One perspective is that the media were simply in shock. Even though Murray had worked incredibly hard, after last year hopes of victory were not high. Every prediction I heard was against a Murray win. He was thought to be too nice a guy – too polite to deal properly with his opponent – particularly with Djokovic. So his 3 set victory put the country into ‘a right state’ – tears, hugs, space jumps and… exaggeration!
It was this shock at Murray’s win that befuddled the press, who seemed to have completely forgotten that British women play tennis and that British women even win at tennis. It completely escaped the press’ collective memory that British women have been victorious at Wimbledon, and have done so during the past 77 years.