Rebekah Vardy used “inherently sexist” language about Coleen Rooney in WhatsApp messages seen by the High Court, a leading barrister has said.
Speaking to The Independent about the High Court case dubbed “Wagatha Christie”, Dr Charlotte Proudman, a human rights lawyer, argued women can be sexist in the same way that men can be.
Vardy, wife of Leicester City striker Jamie, and Coleen Rooney, who is married to Derby County manager Wayne, are currently embroiled in a multimillion-pound seven-day libel trial in London.
Ms Rooney, 36, is being sued after alleging that Ms Vardy, 40, leaked private information about her, which she is claimed to have taken from Instagram, to popular British tabloid The Sun.
She accused Ms Vardy of leaking “false stories” about her personal life to the media in a tweet which went viral back in October 2019. Vardy denies leaking the information.
Vitriolic, expletive-ridden WhatsApp messages seen by the High Court exchanged between Ms Vardy and her agent, Caroline Watt, show Ms Vardy branded Ms Rooney a “c***” as well as saying she should “get over herself”.
Ms Vardy also branded Ms Rooney a “stupid cow” as she said she “deserves everything she gets”.
Commenting on the messages, Dr Proudman said “the language used is inherently sexist” as she argued that “women can engage in sexist behaviour just like men”.
The family law barrister added: “However, we hold women to a higher standard because we expect them to play nice with other women, to work together for equality, even to act like a sisterhood. But we know that’s not how gender inequality works.
“To keep women down, as an oppressed class, women are divided, they are taught to be in competition with each other. Women compete amongst other women on their physical appearance and to bag ‘a man’.”
Dr Proudman argued women are subjected to forms of criticism that men escape – with women seeing the labels “slut”, “bitch”, and “c***” hurled at them.
“Language that men don’t use to pull other men down,” she added. “Women believe that under the patriarchy there is only a small piece of pie for women so they don’t support other women who might take their position away from them.
“Men compete amongst men for power in a male-dominated society. Women compete amongst themselves but for breadcrumbs, token positions.”