Dear Sexist Boys of Soccer

Women who talk about football tactics, it’s beautiful. I find that fantastic. And you know what a 4-3-3 is, right?” – Laurent Blanc does his bit for gender equality in response to a question from a female Swedish journalist

“I don’t talk football with women. That’s how I see things. They can go back to their saucepans” – Bernard Lacombe, Aulas’s right-hand man at Lyon, takes exception to a female caller who criticises Karim Benzema during a radio phone-in

The attention that women’s football gets in Sweden is unequalled in the world…It is a surprising thing. They do their work marvelously well and they will continue to do it, but you cannot compare the individual performance of a woman with a man.

“In Europe. they compare me with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. When I come back to Sweden, they compare me with a female player.             

With all due respect to women, they should be paid in proportion to what they generate (financially).”

“Give them [Swedish National Women’s Team] a bicycle with my autograph and that will be enough“. — Zalatan on the women in football.

Dear Sexist Boys of Soccer,

Females should be kept out of the clubhouse that is the beautiful game…    WE . GET . IT .

Your penises are so intrinsically connected to your brains’ functioning that you cannot imagine our uteruses could operate independent of our cerebral processing.

Now truth be told, our uteruses do, in fact, render our understanding of the differences between a standard 4-4-2,  a 4-3-3, and a 4-3-2-1 formation impossible.    And those damn two X chromosomes block any ability our feeble little minds might have to grasp things as simple as the offside rule or handball v. ball-to-hand.

Something as complex as soccer is WAY TOO ADVANCED for us to comprehend.  Only shopping, looking pretty, cooking, cleaning, and providing our men with every whim served with a extra-large helping of ego-stroking, idol-worship.  That is what we are here for looking pretty, sexing up all your fantasies while serving you dinner in our most virginally slutty dress.

Sexism is so pervasive in soccer that moments where someone stands-up against it come as a shock to my system.    What is remarkable about what Zlatan said is that anyone was surprised.   First of all, the line about the attention women’s football getting is Sweden is the unequalled in the world is Zalatan-level BS.  Let’s be real here, Team USA got that title by massive margin.

Even the reaction to Ibra’s comments highlighted the embedded nature of sexism in this sport.  The outrage was directed towards his, admittedly, idiotic comments.  There is no outrage directed at the Swedish FA for its much more insidious sexism.  After all, it was not Zlatan who gave a Volvo to their new, “cap leader,” while completely ignoring their ACTUAL cap leading player because she is well, a she.

Now, many American guys I have read are outraged about his statements, but I have not read any outraged about the FA’s actions.  It is much like the lack of outrage directed at US Soccer when it the Federation completely ignored the USWNT during the 100th Anv celebration weekend last June.  The ladies were annexed to Canada, while the entirety of US Soccer glitterati was lavishly celebrating in DC watching the boys played Germany.

This is the USWNT — World Cup winning, Olympic gold medal winning, Ballon d’Or winning, tons of other trophy winning — program, and it was EXCILED to Canada without a second thought.  The program that gave the world Mia, Julie, Abby, Hope, Michelle, Alex, Heather, Kristine, et al and gave US Soccer a lot of trophies was virtually unrepresented in celebrating US Soccer’s 100th birthday.

I get how sexism is bred within the game, especially outside America.  Boys who show talent from an early age are whisked away from their families and communities to be trained with other boys by men.  There is not a lot of interaction with girls or women as part of the game growing up.  Combine that with the acceptable levels of sexism in society at large, and you get where we are now.  Girls are too alien to the game they know, to believe girls could understand and be part of it.

All is not as hopeless as it seems.   There are some women starting to be part of the men’s game; Sia Massey  and Barbara Berlusconi are shaking up the game with so far mixed results, but starts are always bumpy.

What is funny to me, though, is that soccer seems is most equal of all team sports.  Unlike, say, golf, there is no difference in the playing field.  No pitch equivalent of the ladies T; no softball to baseball differential in ball size; and no differences in the clock like basketball.   It is the SAME game played on the same field with the same ball, by the same rules for the same amount of time.  Soccer is soccer, regardless of gender.

The only difference is the number of fans in the stands and money being made, or not made in the women’s game.   As women, we cannot hope to eliminate sexism in the game until we support and promote the women’s game as much and as often as we do the men’s game.  Supporting women’ club game as well as the women’s international game, grows the game and makes women in the game more acceptable and more normal and that can flow over into the men’s game.  Oddly, I agree with Zlatan on that point

The biggest hope to eradicate sexism in the game are female fans.  Fans not  watching the game to be a pretty accessory for our men but watching the games because WE LOVE IT.   We are the new power in the game.  We travel to matches around the world and we talk, text, tweet and even blog about it.  We support the game, our teams and other women in the game.

Women’s biggest advantage in the game is that we are the last great untapped market.  There is no new money to be made from male fans, but women though.. we are potentially a lot of new money in a lot of new bank accounts.

Money counts, actually it might be the one true equalizer in this game.

Quotes 1 and  2 from From the Guardian

Zalatan quotes: From the Daily Mirror

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