i don’t usually climb up on the feminist soapbox because there are other people out there who say what i have to say much more eloquently than i ever could, but i’m going to for a moment here. forgive me. the above pictures are a twitter exchange i had with someone on my timeline. to that person, if you see this- i’m not posting this here to bitch about you behind your back or anything. i’m posting it because what i have to say cannot be accurately expressed in 160 character or less tweets.
first of all, brandi chastain said it right: “it’s not about, is it men’s soccer or is it women’s soccer, it’s soccer.” soccer, or football, is soccer. end of. sure, there are tactical and stylistic differences between men’s and women’s games, but at the end of the day, it’s the same game. it’s the same game, and anyone who claims to be a fan of ‘soccer’ or ‘football’ should, in my mind, be a fan of both the men’s and the women’s game- because it’s the same game. it has the same beauty, artistry, poetry, the same effort, the same badassery, the same finess. the differences in the styles of play should not outweigh these similarities.
the stadiums which are apparently so distracting will never get better without more support for the WPS or whatever other women’s professional soccer league you’re following. without more support, there will never be TV deals, more revenue, more ticket sales, more anything- and therefore there will never be better stadiums and training grounds, well-attended and well-publicized matches, matches being shown regularly on soccer networks, the women who put in so much effort and fight so hard getting paid even half of what their male counterparts make. it is the “i don’t care” attitude that is such a plague upon women’s sports. if people don’t care, it will never get better. but if you can tough out watching a beautiful match take place on a less-than-beautiful pitch, regularly and openly, and tell your friends to do the same, then maybe things will get better.
just because men’s teams already do get more support does not mean for even one second that women’s teams don’t deserve JUST AS MUCH support. men’s teams and leagues are already well-established and well-funded, so why not turn our attention to the struggling and underpaid women’s leagues? why not recognize that these women are doing exactly the same job as their male counterparts, and give them something to show for it?
and besides, what self-respecting soccer fan would ever say no to getting to watch more matches?
sure, the state of women’s sports has gotten better in the past 20 years or so, but things are stagnating. back in ‘99, everyone thought that was the big breakthrough, that the women’s soccer league would be on par with the men’s league within a matter of years. well, thirteen years later, it’s still far from striking distance. and unless this “i don’t care” attitude changes, it’s not going to be at that level for a long time yet.
again, i turn to brandi chastain: “we have not been able to bridge between men’s and women’s soccer and it breaks my heart.”