·Breaking News Editor, Yahoo News UK
Thu, 28 July 2022 at 12:01 pm
The idea of renaming England’s Lionesses as Lions has been branded “rubbish” by Nadine Dorries.
The women’s football team will play Germany in the final of the European Championships on Sunday following a thrilling 4-0 victory over Sweden.
As the team prepare for the game, the nickname of the team – and why it is different to the men’s team – has been the subject of debate.
A listener’s message on BBC Woman’s Hour questioned the current nickname, asking if it was “sexist” to refer to the team with the female term.
Putting the question to former England player Anita Asante, host Emma Barnett asked: “Do you like the term ‘Lionesses’? Why not Lions, why do we have to call them Lionesses?”
Asante replied saying it was “one of those things”, adding that people “gendify everything, don’t we?”
Asked about the issue, the culture secretary Dorries said the idea was “rubbish, nonsense”.
She told LBC: “They are lionesses, they are our lionesses and I love everything about that word.
“I lived in Africa for a year and its well known that the lions are the lazy ones who lay around in the sun all day. The lionesses don’t only go out and get the food in, but they look after the cubs and the entire pride.
“I actually think they should be lionesses and I am proud to call them lionesses. I think calling them lions, no I’m afraid that’s not going to happen, certainly not in my house anyway.”
She asked why people wanted to “chip away” at a group of women who have “performed so well in their sport”, adding: “We should be proud of the name lionesses and celebrate it.”
Others have also hit back at the suggestion.
One person wrote to the BBC to say: “We should stop worrying about the Lionesses being somehow a patronising name.”
“In nature, lionesses will always be lionesses, not just lions, and they are every bit as formidable.
“Many would say more so.”
England secured their spot in the final after goals from Beth Mead, Lucy Bronze, Alessia Russo and Fran Kirby with Russo’s goal – an audacious back heel – going viral.
Women’s football has been on the rise in recent years, inspiring women and girls to take up the game.
One little girl who has been inspired was Tess Dolan, eight, who went viral after cameras caught her singing and dancing to victory anthem Sweet Caroline after England went through to the final.
Tess was in the stadium with 28,000 other fans as the Lionesses were victorious, and now has been given two tickets to see if they can repeat the same in the final.
“I have a lot of faith in them to win. I feel like they have a big chance of beating either of them.” she said.