Liverpool F.C. Women: What’s in a name?

This week Liverpool Football Club announced the name change of Liverpool Ladies to Liverpool F.C. Women, amongst the many replies to the announcement were a mixture of ‘why does it matter’ and ‘good on you’.

So, why does it matter? Does it matter?

Photo: Lee Prewett

In 2016, shortly after Manchester City changed the name of their women’s team from ladies, the BBC published an article titled ‘Women versus ladies football: Does the name matter?’

In the article they spoke to expert on sociology and sport Professor Kath Woodward who explained that “the use of ladies suggests a physical frailty and need for protection.”

This view was backed up by Deborah Cameron, a professor of language, who stated that City changing their name made it “less encumbered by a long history of squeamish euphemisms”.

To get opinions from other fans I approached Ley Hodgson and Debbie Hughes, two long time supporters of Liverpool who travel home and away to watch the team.

Ley says that “it comes down to the perceived definitions between ‘ladies’ and ‘women’ from an equality perspective.”

It could be something to do with the term lady having a pre-perceived notion of conduct and behaviour based on a concept of what femininity should be. And the FA banning football for females [in 1921] on the basis of unlady like conduct.”

While Debbie believes that the name changes occurring across the WSL could be to align teams to the name of the league – the FA have called the league the women’s league since it’s inception and England also use women when differentiating between national teams.

Debbie also says, “for me personally it doesn’t matter what they are called – at the end of the day it’s just Liverpool FC on the badge.”

I guess to summarise, to supporters of the women’s side and women’s football, it doesn’t matter in a day-to-day sense yet in an ever-changing world of women’s rights and the connotations of language it matters a whole lot.

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