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THIS FAN GIRL: THE GROUP CHALLENGING GENDER STEREOTYPES WITHIN FOOTBALL

The reason for starting This Fan Girl was the fact I’m a Leicester City fan, and in 2016 they won the Premier League, and as a football fan that was incredible to see the unexpected unfold in my home town.

I took photos of fans outside the stadium during the second half of the season and it was so much fun. I loved capturing that energy and I got some of those photos published in a few places which was amazing because I wasn’t actually a photographer at all. I borrowed my mate’s camera and promised her that I wouldn’t break it, and went down to the ground and took a bunch of photos. 

The photos came out really well and me and my friend Laura, who’s a West Brom fan and who started this thing with me, we were like, you know what, we should do this for female fans specifically because me and her had been watching football that year and sort of realised it was an incredibly male dominated space. We figured perhaps we could extend the project I had been doing at Leicester City and take that a little bit wider. So I guess that’s when we started thinking what we would do. 

We liked the idea of turning what people think a typical fan girl is – over the top, excitable – into a more positive connotation

It was something that started in the 2016/17 season. A couple of months in because we were putting stuff online we were getting a really good response from it, so we decided to make it into a project. We liked the idea of turning what people think a typical fan girl is – over the top, excitable – into a more positive connotation. 

Because it started as a photography project, we realised that a lot of women identified with the pictures we were taking. We wanted to create a community and a space where we could share the love not only for our own teams, but other teams too. 

A lot of our content comes from London and that’s where I was for a really long time, but I’m no longer there and I’m up in Leicester. But the main thing we have is our community Facebook group with around 600 people and those girls come from all over. So it’s something that’s most certainly on my mind that like with a lot of things, London does tend to get the most attention but we always want to talk about things that happen outside of London. 

We did a shoot with a Liverpool-based team back in October which was super cool. We’re doing a shoot in Manchester this Friday, and we have done meet-ups there in the past, something we would love to do more of. When we build a wider team, we’d like to do more stuff in the north – the midlands especially. 

Words by Amy of This Fan Girl | Photography by KavitaBabbar

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