Hate speech against Greek women athletes during the interwar period: Review and criticism-thematic analysis in the political and sports press (1923 - 1940)


  • Ηλίας Σαϊλάκης




The expansion of the feminist movement and the socio-economic changes in early 20th century Europe profoundly affected the mindset about women's social position. They also contributed to the creation of a critical athletic movement. Following European developments, women of interwar Greece claimed their place in competitive sports, which is not limited to entertainment but extends to claiming victory after organised sports matches. The authorities that managed Greek sports were generally opposed to the idea of the integration of women in sports, even after SEGAS officially recognised this in 1928. In this contribution, I examine the concept known as "hate speech" as it manifested itself in the public sphere against Greek women athletes during the interwar era, specifically through the political and sports press columns. Newspaper articles and interviews reveal the attempt of influential authorities and journalists to slander, degrade, and even eliminate women's sports while some others actively supported the women's sports movement.I look for discourses and depictions of power through historical-critical speech analysis of sports and political press articles of the interwar era. This material, which constitutes a rich public history record, illustrates the interwar social and political context and facilitates the reconstruction of cultural dynamics through the study of language and speech.