Saturday, July 16, 2011

Where Have All the Strong Women Role Models Gone?

Athletically strong that is.

The women that can work together.

Oh wait… I see them… sort of.

Now that it’s one day before the Women’s World Cup final game.

I guess they get a rotating screen on ESPN.

Did I mention that it’s the FINAL GAME.

* * * 

The Wall Street Journal is delivered to my desk daily and as I grazed through the front page material last Thursday expecting to see information on our wonderful US Women’s Soccer team, the day after they beat France 3-1 to advance to the final game of the World Cup, I found nothing.

Sorry, that’s wrong. I found one sentence that was overshadowed by LA’s  ‘Carmageddon’. By a sentence I mean 22 words noted at the bottom of the “World-Wide”
column, below the center crease. There was also a buried article in the middle of the paper that started with “Let’s hear it for the women with the magic forehead.”

Thank you WSJ, for citing our star Abby Wambach as though she’s part of an odd magic show. “Oh look, her forehead appeared and magically put that ball in the back of the net! What a trick!” 

At least it was touting her physical abilities. In an article that I looked to on ESPN, since WSJ wasn’t giving me the match details for the final, another headline states, “The Super Sub: In the past 24 hours, Alex Morgan has scored her first WC goal and received marriage proposals. All in a day's work for the U.S.'s rising star.”

I’m sorry, marriage proposals?

It’s “all fun and games” she says, and I’m sure she’s lovely, but why would they write that? To show strong women can be adored on Twitter too? That they can be attractive and can be feminine while wearing a jersey? It just makes me wonder if the next headline will state  “The Super Goalie: Hope Solo saves 32 shots and shares her oatmeal cookie recipe, famous in three countries!

Can we just focus on the fact that they’re professional women athletes with genuine physical ability and could run circles around every person I know.

These women are tried and true role models for US girls. That while, as a culture, we can appreciate smart like Sheryl Sandberg, and sexy like Angelina Jolie, and creatively talented like Annie Leibovitz, should we not also appreciate strong?

It makes me, and I'm assuming any woman who played sports growing up, feel like - “So this is how we treat our women professional athletes, we put them on posters and have them play hundred of thousands of games, we have them compete at US Colleges and Universities to get overshadowed by tan celebrities that attended the ESPY’s!”

( let’s have a heart to heart, sit down. I like Entourage just as much as the next person, and I know I’m not your target market, but really? You’re going to put Emmanuelle Chriqui, a fine actress, as the only photo of a woman on the home page of a sports site instead of any of the members of the US Women’s team with a roster of 21 people that just trained, sweated, scored to beat Brazil and France in the last week to show that the ESPY’s are Hollywood certified? Are you compensating for something?)

And think of this. Even if a handful of the women on the US roster are smart and sexy and creative, it will only be for a brief time that they remain strong enough to compete on a world stage. They will play to a certain age and they will be deemed too slow or have incurred too many injuries to play at a certain level. Beyonce, on the other hand will probably be wearing sequence and singing sweet tunes into her old age.

So, let’s appreciate the strength in the present.

Let’s give the women pro athletes the limelight they deserve. Let’s buoy them up as role models to show our girls that they too can be strong. To show our younger generations, that have been flooded with reality TV drama, that drama doesn’t have to be over menial things like clothes or make up or tanning or money. What does that amount to? Not to a World Cup final game, and most certainly not the ability to be part of a dedicated and strong team.

Let’s give the women our attention on Sunday, and even after they return home from Germany, because we have strong female athletic role models, we just need to stop and pay attention. And maybe bring the kids to a pro-game now and then. 

The US Women's Team will play regardless if you or I watch, but watching and sharing could certainly make a difference.

More Info
Since they will be broadcasting the final game, ESPN created a page that you can find with some searching behind all of the European soccer news. I also found articles on NPR’s page. Of course you could go straight to the source and visit the Official Women’s World Cup site, but my point is that we get more people interested in these events via mass media, not by googling what we already like. 

Also some of the players, like Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, are on twitter. Abby Wambach does not appear to be on twitter. Apparently, magic foreheads don't work on digital feeds as well as on the soccer field. I updated my account today. I'm sure they'd appreciate a shout out.



  1. And I just found Abby's Twitter feed!!/AbbyWambach

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