Beth Miles woke up this morning to see her face plastered across social media and newspapers. She was photographed at Glastonbury’s Women’s World Cup screening of England’s match against Norway.
The 27 year old, who lives in east London, said, “It’s pretty surreal… I turned my phone off last night to preserve battery and was just celebrating England’s success and I woke up with a bunch of messages [with] people sending me screenshots from online publications.
“My dad’s dead impressed I made the Guardian in print.”
This is what it’s like when you become the poster woman for the Women’s World Cup.
When England smashed through to the quarter-finals after beating Cameroon 3-0, Beth was pumped—but she feared she wouldn’t be able to watch the match while attending Glastonbury festival.
“In the past, Glastonbury has stopped showing football matches so I wasn’t super hopeful,” she told PinkNews.
“But Georgia Stanway—a Manchester City player—tweeted asking if it could be [shown]..
“It felt right for the game to be screened at Glastonbury — the festival is a celebration of inclusivity and equality, and it was just amazing to see so many people coming out to support our amazing team.”
“By 8pm West Holts stage was completely rammed, with hundreds of people coming down to support The Lionesses. It was incredible.”
Football is undeniably a male-dominated sport and it can often be a challenge to find pubs and bars screening women’s games.
This Women’s World Cup, however, has seemingly seen a shift in attitudes—a welcome movement led by women both in and outside of the sport.
Miles is part of Goal Diggers a London-based football team for women and non-binary people.
‘This is the year it’s coming home.’ (Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
To coincide with the World Cup, the team organised The Festival of Football, a London event that celebrates football, women, and non-binary people.
Miles believes there is a long way to go before the women’s game is given the same platform as the men’s game.
“There’s still loads that needs to be done to level the playing field—I can’t believe it’s taken 17 years from when Bend It Like Beckham came out for the Women’s World Cup to be shown on the BBC.”
Why does women’s football matter?
Despite the fact there are currently no openly gay male footballers active in the top tiers of the sport, the women’s league has many openly lesbian players including players, coaches and trainers.
According to Kick It Out, an organisation working to combat racism, homophobia and discrimination in football, reports of hate incidents are up dramatically year-on-year.
“The platform the Women’s World Cup has received this year has really pushed the footballers into the forefront, with them becoming household names, and I think any who identify as lesbian and are out are definitely driving lesbian visibility, which is amazing,” Miles continued.
“It’s so important to have recognition for all players within the sport. The stereotypes of football fans/players are that they are men—and it’s just simply not the case, and giving women’s football as much as a platform as men’s is the only way this perception will change.”
‘There’s still loads that needs to be done to level the playing field.’ (Jim Dyson/Getty Images)
How does it feel to be the poster girl for the lionesses success?
It’s pretty surreal… I turned my phone off last night to preserve battery and was just celebrating England’s success and I woke up with a bunch of messages [with] people sending me screenshots from online publications.
My dad’s dead impressed I made the Guardian in print.
Have you been impressed with the Women’s Football team this year?
Yes, they’ve been unbelievable so far, and I think the way they’ve held themselves both on and off the pitch is amazing — incredibly impressed. I MEAN, DID YOU WATCH YESTERDAY’S GAME? UNREAL SCENES!!!
Do you think we are going to win the World cup?
Yes. This is the year it’s coming home.