Drooling over the Women’s World Cup
11 July 2011
Now, maybe this just speaks to my ideas about female beauty, but isn’t the Women’s World Cup a drool fest? These have got to be the most beautiful and impressive women athletes ever. (The US’s Abby Wambach and Megan Rapinoe, above.) You’ve got to be if you’re going to thrive at this level. There’s no makeup, no bikinis or girly skirts to wear, no mercy. There’s too much sweating to take much time on your hair. And it goes without saying that the football is fantastic.
“If I liked playing with dolls, if that’s what made me happy, I would have been there doing that,” Aline of Brazil (a starting defender) explains about her childhood in a documentary called Guerreiras (Female Warriors) about gender and football. (She’s above on the left with Marta and Maurine.) Instead she went out into the street and played football with boys. It’s well-known that women were forbidden from playing football in Germany (till 1970) and Brazil (till the early 80s), and there remain strong prejudices against women players who appear more masculine. But the ones I’m drooling the most over are the masculine ones — Aline and the US’s Abby Wambach and Japan’s Yukari Kinga, among many others.
I’ve said it before: Wouldn’t it be amazing if these unadorned and openly aggressive women became the ideal for femininity? Rather than what we’ve got now, anyway — women torturing themselves to adhere to mainstream ideas of “sexy” and learning the passive-aggressive means of sniping at other women. I’m completely fixated with them (Elodie Thomis of France above) — and I’m dreaming of a utopian future. On the other hand, my sister and I have a running series of jokes about how to sex them up for American TV consumption. (If bikinis aren’t enough, she suggests, then maybe g-strings and “wardrobe malfunctions” will do it.)
On the other hand, three members of the French team posed naked for a German magazine, Bild, under the headline, “Is this how we should show up before you come to our games?” Too bad that by showing up naked, they are kowtowing to male fanatasies and undermining any real challenge in that question. Give me the sweaty, real women in the above pictures over these airbrushed ones anytime — not only are they more beautiful, but their skills and pitch-side affection for one another offer much better models to us all.