For a nation that prides itself on being the best and using propaganda to influence that ideology, the United States sure is not embracing their own women’s national soccer team after another dominant World Cup victory. As the days go by, I witness more and more backlash towards the women’s team as if them winning brought disgrace to their homeland. Throughout their run towards their fourth World Cup trophy, numerous outlets took to social media to unleash their disdain towards the women. When they throttled Thailand with 13 goals, they were told not to celebrate a WORLD CUP GOAL. When Alex Morgan scored the game-winner against England, her tea-sipping celebration was highlighted as an egregious and vile act. The video that surfaced of the team dancing and basking in the glory of their win painted them as classless and distasteful. Today, another video has surfaced of Megan Rapinoe signing a ball for a kid but Rapinoe did not appear to acknowledge the kid’s presence for a mere half-second. However, we all know that Rapinoe not acknowledging the kid was the reason for recent criticisms. This gave a majority of males another form of obtuse justification for why they feel the need to silence and demonize women when they succeed in athletics.
You would think that in the 21st century, everyone walking on the planet, especially in a free country like the USA, would be given equal treatment for how they act. Unfortunately, in sports, this could not be further from the truth. Women in this country continue to be silenced and treated as second-class humans in the world of athletics. Female journalists are constantly told that they know nothing about the sport they cover. If women proclaim allegiance to a team, men feel the necessity to play 100 questions with them to “prove” their fandom. Comment sections on social media platforms are plastered with the pedestrian phrases, “Go back to the kitchen”, “Make me a sandwich”, “All women’s sports are boring”. Not one day goes by when someone loses self-control when it comes to their loathing of women in sports. Instead of praising and respecting our greatest female athletes for their achievements, they are always undermined when they get unfairly compared to their male counterparts. No matter who the female athlete is, whether it be Serena Williams, Alex Morgan or Diana Taurasi, they will never be given their due credit as sporting legends because “the men will always better than them”.
There is an undeniable truth that men get insecure when women are given the spotlight in sports. If the roles were reversed, and the men’s US team was winning World Cups and celebrating like the women did, they would be glorified and beloved for eternity. Men are elated when Baker Mayfield grabs his junk and Conor McGregor spouts out racial epithets in press conferences. Dare women to the same antics and they will be verbally burned to the ground. The average American male also values a female athlete’s beauty over their athletic performance. Prior to her steroid scandal, Maria Sharapova owned more endorsements than Serena Willams. Danica Patrick spent years struggling in NASCAR but was able to keep a top-level ride because of her raunchy advertisements with GoDaddy.com. Ronda Rousey was the promotional face of the UFC for years but Amanda Nunes, without a doubt, has garnered a better all-time resumé yet receives no promotion from the company. In a male-dominant society, we have created the narrative that female athletes only matter if they live up to our standards of beauty.
My thoughts are not targeted towards all men because there are plenty of us who were inspired by just how amazing our women’s soccer team is. Now is the time to take the next step in our perspectives towards women in sports. Instead of treating our daughters, sisters, wives, and girlfriends as pets when it comes to watching sports with them and feeling the need to keep them up to date about the happenings of an event without them asking, encourage them by bringing them into your passion for sports. Take your girlfriend or wife to sporting events, encourage your daughters to participate in athletics when they are young, and if a woman wants to ask a question about anything in sports, answer it without making them feel stupid.
Sports are beautiful regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race.
Photo via Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports