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.

12 Responses to “Drooling over the Women’s World Cup”

  1. JE Says:

    Oh, the WWC has been wonderful. Definitely in the category of Beautiful Images I Like To Look At.

    The play has been great. Wambach’s 122-minute header last night off that heavenly Rapinoe ball was astounding. And Perry’s one goal against Sweden the other day was gorgeous. Long ball, right into the upper corner of the net. Australia lost, of course, but at least they can go home with the image of that one beautiful goal in their minds.

  2. Didion Says:

    That header yesterday! And after such a nail-biter of a game. Particularly when the US’s play inexplicably became pretty stunning once Buehler was dismissed.

    And how about that Hope Solo? She’s the only one who looks like she might be wearing some dramatic eyeliner — but I can’t stop looking at her (and feeling slightly afraid of her).

    • JE Says:

      Yeah, there are a few players who might seem a tiny bit made up. And there are a few with what seems to be carefully crafted eyebrows (I remember a few on France’s team). I wonder if Solo is worried about being too “masculine.” She’s so tall and has big shoulders and long arms. And she’s scary. She looks like she wants to kill the ball. I wonder if a few players pretty themselves up a bit in a conscious or unconscious attempt to counter the too-masculine charge. I saw a post-game interview with Wambach and Solo. Solo speaks with a bit of a girly voice, which confused the hell out of me. She’s scary, but has a cute little girly voice.

      Meanwhile, the Guardian has one of their wonderfully entertaining live-blogs of the game–made especially enjoyable because of a long string of Solo-inspired Star Wars references (which I’ll fall for every time, of course).


  3. Servetus Says:

    Haven’t watched any of it, sadly. Bild is essentially a tabloid newspaper — even if it’s not printed in tabloid silze — it always has a naked woman on the front page and they are usually appealing to LMC taste (it was the major source responsible for whipping up hate against student protests in the 60s, e.g.)

  4. Didion Says:

    Tabloids are very, very good at walking the line between straight-up exploitation and a more interesting or useful provocation. It’s too bad the French players let themselves be used for this, but then, Europeans are less persnickety about nudity than Americans are.

  5. tam Says:

    I watched the Japan v Sweden match today. Drool fest indeed. I love watching women displaying their exquisite athletic skills unselfconsciously and with such passion.

    ps.found the French team’s nude pics totally sad.

  6. Didion Says:

    The real question now is, how many times must I re-watch Abby Wambach’s amazing headers? In case you need to watch it too, check it here:

  7. tam Says:

    This is the sublime penalty kick clincher for Japan’s win, from 20 year old Kumagai. Almost in slow motion…

    • Didion Says:

      Sublime, exactly. And on my ongoing subject of drooling, isn’t Kumagai adorable! I’m all over that Kumagai/Le Peilbet hairdo. And I just love the idea of little girls all over the world adopting it as their hairstyle of choice, just the way last summer little boys everywhere wore the Ronaldo semi-mohawk.

  8. […] I’m a fair-weather sports fan — by which I mean summer, when tennis and soccer have their big tournaments. And this year we have the Olympics to look forward to … drool fest! […]

  9. […] Abby, as much as my offer of marriage still stands, I’m so disappointed that you’re not more savvy about how your own views […]

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