Who Cares About Women's Soccer?

Abby Wamnach. Photo from AP

Every four years angry feminists convene and discuss the state of women’s sports. The occasion for the forum, of course, is the Women’s world cup. As the American women advance to the finals, bloggers and talking heads are coming out of the woodwork trying to convince the world that no one takes women’s sports seriously.

We have news for you: they do.

Certainly the chauvinists do exist (they always will), but commentators have conveniently cast aside all the instances of prominent male figures supporting the American women’s team.

Right after the women beat Brazil in an incredible nail-biting tour de force, LeBron James tweeted “USA!! #HopeSolo. Congrats ladies!” His sentiment was shared by Lil Wayne who wrote “Abby Wambach…a hero. Go USA!” Not to suggest that King James and Weezy are necessarily a representative sample, but there is something to be said for the fact that  these big brawny dudes publicly showed their support for the women’s team.

According to the Nielsen Company, just under 4 million Americans watched the match.

This all seems to fly in the face of what Slate blogger Amanda Marcotte writes in her article “The Ugly Side of Women’s World Cup.” Decrying the objectification of female soccer players Ms. Marcotte claims that a prevailing “machismo about soccer” has disenfranchised female footballers, turning them into sex symbols. “Many female players still feel compelled to do naked pictures and even soft core porn in order to raise enthusiasm for their team,” Ms. Marcotte writes.

We would like to point out that the soccer sex symbol motif is certainly not limited to women. Remember last summer’s vanity cover in which Didier Drogba and Christiano Ronaldo stripped and pranced around in bulge-revealing briefs?

Although sexism in sports remains an issue, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the 2011 Women’s world cup is being tweeted, talked about and watched in a very public way.

 

Who Cares About Women's Soccer?