I love soccer. I played as a youth and teen and was really good. I played recreational soccer as an adult until I stepped in a hole and horribly sprained my ankle, crying as I drove myself to the hospital. That happened exactly a year before the amazing 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Amazing except for three things. First, the women had to demand to be paid the same as men. Second, they played on turf, as opposed to grass like the men. The final insult, however, was the award ceremony, when a team of powerful female athletes was presented with trophies by scantily clad women in very high heels. The juxtaposition was stark, and the message was not subtle. Given that this presentation was planned by FIFA, it was obvious where the organization believed women really belonged: with the decoration. It was FIFA’s exclamation mark to end a summer where they showed complete contempt for women’s sports and female athletes.
The men’s World Cup was this summer, and women around the world are now preparing for the 2019 Women’s World Cup. My boyfriend and I have been watching as many women’s games as are broadcasted, and I am happy to report there are more teams from different countries, and the teen goalie from Panama is fucking incredible. But what I am NOT happy about is the fact that unlike the men, the women will not be getting to utilize VAR (video assistant referee), and the final of the women’s World Cup will be at the same time as two very important men’s leagues championships. I am pretty sure that FIFA would be thrilled if the women quit soccer and just presented the trophies at the men’s championships in high heels and little black dresses.
Because THAT is the proper feminine gender role. Decoration, not athleticism.
The other thing that has pissed me off is that Cristiano Ronaldo raped someone, and nobody gives a shit. Ronaldo is still playing for Juventus and according to one sports reporter, fans are welcoming him back to England as a hero (he used to play in the premier league).
I am not surprised he raped someone. He made a gold statue of himself, for fuck’s sake, and, to quote Mall Rats, “he looks like a date rapist.” Literally every woman I know thinks he just looks like a creep. And what’s worse, nothing will happen.
This case is probably one of the strongest rape cases to hit the press. Not only is there a rape kit, but Ronaldo actually confessed in 2009. Yet, he is still out there playing and being louded as a hero, while Kathryn Mayorgo still suffers from PTSD.
These futball fiascos are perfect examples of the reality of gender. When we say gender is a hierarchy, this is what we mean: women, no matter what they do, are not as important, respected, or as valuable as men, and furthermore are there for men’s sexual pleasure.
Which is why gender must be abolished, and feminity rendered obsolete. Because feminity isn’t just about physical presentation, it is about status. Low status. I experienced this as a girl, being told “you are pretty good – for a girl” and being handed bizarrely giant kickballs in gym, while the boys got normal sized ones (and this is not even getting into the sexual harassment and objectification). See, the feminine gender also means weakness. Feminity is not the female body; it is the female body SPECIFICALLY objectified, weakend, and cast aside as inferior.
Unfortunately, feminity is now an identity and accusations of “femmephobia” are actually a thing.
I was reminded of this today as good friends of mine signed the petition on Facebook to support trans rights, writing that Trump wants to “erase transgenderism.” I hate Trump and of course do not believe Trump is upholding sex-based protections for the benefit of women. But that sentence struck me because, well, that would be great if transgenderism was erased. Because hopefully that would mean gender was finally abolished.
Of course, I get that that is not the goal of the Repubs. They was to discriminate against trans-identified individuals due to right-wing conservative beliefs that clash with women’s and LGB rights. But I couldn’t bring myself to sign the petition because I just can’t put my name to a movement that wants to celebrate gender and declare it innate while ignoring and erasing women’s lived experiences of gender and feminity as oppressive.
Walking around in heels and a tight dress is not innate. Being less important than men, being raped, being weak – these are not innate and are the foundation of the constructed feminine gender, which trans activists love to deny. I was told by one M2T that gender is neutral and I can pick one. Not my experience. The truth is that the feminine gender is the entire root of all of FIFA and Ronaldo’s actions. These actions are the result of feminine gender expectations projected onto the female body and enforced by men, and they are not natural, innate, or to be celebrated.
One of my favorite narrarives from a M2T was this dude who gleefully wrote that since going on estrogen he could no longer lift his band’s speakers and was SOOOO happy when his band mates carried them for him – and his band mates happily helped him, no doubt thrilled about the idea of upholding feminine dependency- which of course benefits men.
Like, how fucking heavy are those speakers? I can bench press 95 pounds at least, probably more if I was more consistent in my workouts, and I can deadlift 85. Like the dude couldn’t rebuild muscle? Nope. Funny thing is, he got the feminine gender right. He suddenly found himself (falsely) dependent on men (I don’t believe for a second he couldn’t lift those speakers). When I was in sixth grade I picked up a cement block in a classroom and the teacher yelled at me and told me to get a boy to carry it for me. I had been carrying these around in my backyard with my Dad for years (I have no idea why one was on a classroom). I was shocked and saddened that this was suddenly an expectation for me.
No wonder I wanted to be a boy around the same time, even writing it on the bathroom wall at home. Luckily, given that I am 36, there was no tumblr shit to convince me I actually WAS a boy.
Men such as that idiot who didn’t want to lift his own speakers cause “lady brain” are an insult to every women and girl who have tried to be strong but instead get beaten down.
Which is exactly what the women of the FIFA World Cup will be experiencing as they fight to fairly play the game they love while Ronaldo runs free as one of the richest athletes in the world.