What happened when Gary Neville and Jill Scott swapped Twitter accounts for a week?

What happened when Gary Neville and Jill Scott swapped Twitter accounts for a week?
What happened when Jill Scott and Gary Neville swapped social media accounts

Gary Neville and Jill Scott swapped social media accounts for a week to see what would happen and the results were depressing.

The football icons teamed up to take part in 'The Social Swap,' a Heineken campaign to highlight the issue of gender bias on X/Twitter in April and they swapped accounts for five days, continuing to share opinions on football as they normally would on UEFA Champions League matches. But unbeknown to Twitter users, for that short time, a message directed at Neville was in fact to Scott, and vice versa.

One response Neville got when people thought he was Scott was: "You should probably concentrate on the girls' league."

"Save your opinion for what to make for dinner," another comment said.

Scott, when people thought she was Neville, on the other hand, received comments such as: "The most objective opinion I've seen from you."

“I’ve seen some of the replies that have come into Jill, which were my tweets,” Neville toldthe Guardian. “‘Get back in the kitchen’, ‘Stick to the game you know, love’, that type of condescending, ignorant tweet … there’s no doubt that in football, women who have an opinion on men’s football basically get told to go back in their box.”

Neville added the issue of equality for women’s sport has been important to him since he was a child when his mum got banned from playing football for the boys’ team in the 70s. He now watched football with his children.

"The idea they can’t have an opinion on football without having their gender referred to is ridiculous,” he said.

Meanwhile, Scott has experienced sexism throughout her life.

“I don’t want to tell a sob story, but I remember my first day at senior school, which is daunting anyway,” Scott said. “A lot of people knew I played football.

"One boy said: ‘You can’t play football, you’re a girl.’ And I stuck up for myself and chased after him. He tripped me up and I ended up in hospital with a fractured elbow. When I look back at stuff like that, that was just because I played football. I saw him in the pub recently and he came to say well done on winning the Euros … I nearly broke his elbow.”

She added: “It’s moments like that where I think it has been tough and, without knowing it, from a young age I started building resilience against that,” Scott says. “Sometimes with resilience we then think we just have to take things and take comments. But I think now if girls go to school and a boy says: ‘Women’s football is crap,’ they’ll be like: ‘Well, we did win the Euros.’ They’ve got a bit of fighting talk behind them.”

Scott believes "there has been a big change” in attitudes to women's sport since England won the Euros in 2022. “But we had to go out and do the unthinkable just to get a bit of respect for women’s football," she added. "Fortunately enough we did do it [win the Euros]. But I think this campaign highlights that there’s still a lot of trolls out there.”

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