talkSPORT host Laura Woods slams sexism in football and reveals she fell into 'dark' mental health battle in lockdown
LAURA WOODS has slammed 'bonkers' sexist trolls that give her and others vicious abuse online.
The popular talkSPORT Breakfast host has taken the sports broadcasting world by storm in recent years, winning the Sports Journalists' Association's Presenter of the Year award.
But she still has to put up with idiots online that can't handle the success of a woman in football.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said: "I do feel pressure to do it right.
"I have watched women drown in positions in which they haven’t been given support. I have seen what that has done to women’s reputations.
"We are all striving for equality but the reaction to a woman on screen or radio is still not equal. A producer once told me that women reporters have higher to fall from.
"It stuck with me. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you look, the way your voice sounds.
"I have had it all in tweets and stuff. You are underweight. You are overweight. You have too much make-up. You look tired. Men have to deal with scrutiny, too. I know. But their knowledge is never attacked in the same way.
"Women have transitioned into some sports such as cricket incredibly well. But what is it about football that people can’t accept something if it’s coming out of a woman’s mouth?
"Women can be brain surgeons. They can save your life. They can go to the moon. But they can’t give you an opinion about football. It’s bonkers.
"I am a sensitive person. I can get upset. So I need time for me. But I also try to help when I can. I got a message during lockdown from a girl with an eating disorder on Instagram. I did what I could for her. I listened. But I am not a doctor.
"There are some wonderful girls on Twitter who I follow. Young journalists who have the balls to put their work out there and they get dogs’ abuse.
"Racist, sexist, rape threats, death threats. The deepest stuff you could imagine. I mentioned one of them on the show and she got in touch to say thanks. That is when I realised what I say can go a long way.
"I was naive to that a little. I felt a sense of responsibility then. I owe an amount to other people, not just me.
"Do I want to tackle important issues on the show? Do I want to show I deserve this award? Do I want to make an impression on young women? Do I want to be a role model? The answer to all of that is yes. I choose to be this."
Woods, 33, took over from Alan Brazil on talkSPORT's Breakfast show a year ago, coinciding with the first national lockdown.
While finding her feet in the role, she admits that things became extremely difficult in isolation.
Woods said: "I had a torrid time at the start and was really struggling. There was this wave of pressure taking over from Alan. I felt I was ruining it for the audience.
"It was a weird war with my own emotions. I loved having the show and wanted to do a really good job. But I knew what the audience were feeling because I was feeling it too. So the timing couldn’t have been worse.
"Living on my own was difficult. I needed to come home, have a cuddle or go to the pub, watch TV or something.
The show would be four hours of non-stop talk and then I would get home to a closed door and total silence. It was, “What now?
"Instead, my housemate had moved out and it was a small flat with no garden. I felt as though the walls were closing in on me.
"The show would be four hours of non-stop talk and then I would get home to a closed door and total silence. It was, 'What now?'
"I would go for a walk but feel so aimless. The only access to the outside world was social media and at that time it was not my friend. I just felt this huge weight of negative opinion.
"I wanted comforts so I was eating loads. I am not a big drinker but I would have three bottles of cider at home. Those were the moments where I thought, 'This feels dark'. I couldn’t shake myself out of it."
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
Source: Read Full Article