If you didn’t watch the Women’s EURO final on Sunday, where were you? By now, you will know that the Lionesses took England to victory in ahistoric win. The monumental achievement is the first time the team have ever won a major championship, marking a significant turning point for women’s football. A staggering 87,192 fans watched the game at Wembley stadium, which was a record-breaking turnout, as the final became the most watched TV moment of the year.
Becky Hill kicked off the event as she performed on the PepsiMAX stage ahead of the game, getting the nation in the party spirit with their empowering dance hits. Their songs “My Heart Goes (La Di Da)”, “Remember”, and collaboration with Ultra Naté and Stefflon Don on the song “Free”, felt like the ultimate show of girl power. Despite such a celebratory occasion and a huge platform for women’s sport, some viewers cared more about Hill’s outfit than what their performance stood for — and rushed to twitter to complain about it.
The singer wore a fabulous silver sequinned bodysuit with platform knee high boots, with sparkling diamanté tights. It was a perfectly fitting look for a pop star, and the appropriate choice for a night of applauding women for their physical capabilities rather than their appearance. However, a number of tweets criticised the 28-year-old for showing what they deemed as “too much skin”. One claimed that the singer was “encouraging little girls to dress inappropriately” and even suggested that she should be reported to the police. In response to a man claiming that his wife “looks stunning without having to bear all”, Hill tweeted: “IM NOT TRYING TO BE ATTRACTIVE TO U OR ANY OTHER MAN. i was flaunting my body because I LOVE MY BODY & im proud of who i am. yes, men need to stop thinking women are dressing up FOR THEIR GAZE. i wore that because i f*cking wanted to & if ur wife wanted to as well she can ffs”. She added in response to another troll: “I wanted to wear a popstar sequin corset, sparkly tights & platform boots because that’s what I love wearing.”
Others shamed Hill’s body, and the singer says about eight or nine people have asked if she is pregnant since her performance. In spite of the criticism, Hill continued on Twitter: “I want to be proud of my body even if it doesn’t fit into what is perpetuated by society. my curves are mine to show off. if u don’t want to then don’t, if u do then do.”
Fans jumped to her defence, with one saying that “impressionable young girls” should be “taught body confidence”, and that’s what Hill was aiming to do with her performance. A grateful Hill responded: “RETWEEEEEEEEET!!! be proud of your bodies! celebrate yourselves! show off your curves! cover up for no one & be confident! took me a long time to learn that & i wish i had role models like that growing up! thanks for having me today @Lionesses you’re doing us proud”
RETWEEEEEEEEET!!! be proud of your bodies! celebrate yourselves! show off your curves! cover up for no one & be confident! took me a long time to learn that & i wish i had role models like that growing up! thanks for having me today @Lionesses you’re doing us proud https://t.co/fdKW37Rb4A
— Becky Hill (@BeckyHill) July 31, 2022
This isn’t the only recent example of unwarranted attention surrounding women’s bodies. Chloe Kelly — who scored the winning goal for England during extra time in the final — took off her football shirt in celebration of her goal. While she mainly received positive feedback for her sports bra celebration online, she was also the object of sexist remarks online. Football pundit Gary Lineker was even forced to delete a clumsy tweet on the subject amid backlash. And last month, “Don’t Worry Darling” actor Florence Pugh challenged body shamers who criticised her choice to wear a sheer Valentino dress that revealed her nipples, asking: “Why are you so afraid of breasts?” Policing women’s choices needs to stop, and we salute the women who call out this misogynistic behaviour.
Besides the negative aspects of the evening, Hill said she “had a little cry about how incredible the women’s football was”. She added: “What an incredible result for the @Lionesses today. i’m so proud to be a woman, i’m so proud to be living through history. im honoured to have opened up that incredible match today. thank you thank you thank you. ITS HOME GIRLS!!!!!” We couldn’t agree more. Until the next tournament, Lionesses. And thanks for empowering us with your uplifting music and words, Hill.
Image Source: Getty/Naomi Baker