In a now-deleted image, Bleacher Report has honoured America’s winning of the Women’s World Cup with a place alongside great Americans. Americans like the cast of Friends, and Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
America, as we’re oft-told, is a land of heroes. This morning, the women of the USWNT managed to retain the World Cup, vanquishing the Dutch by a score of two to nil. It was a triumph of spectacular value, a true jewel unearthed and worn during unison chorusing of greater equality.
US fans now chanting “Equal pay! Equal pay!” A reminder that the entire #USWNT is suing US Soccer, and Pinoe lit FIFA up yesty for its abysmal treatment of the women’s game.
— Nancy Armour (@nrarmour) July 7, 2019
That land is also one of promoted achievement, valuing as uber-Texan Lyndon Baines Johnson put it, “coonskins on the wall”. With that mindset in the front of ours, the comparative success between the men and the women does not stack up, nor does their gap in their salaries.
USA World Cup Finals Appearances
USA World Cup Victories
Women: 4 gold
Men: 2 gold
Salaries: Women make 38% of what their male counterparts make.
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) July 7, 2019
As The New Yorker noted, the team “…see themselves as role models and revolutionaries, but they are also something more complicated to describe. They offer a new model on how to be an American citizen, one rooted at once in idealism and pragmatism. (It wasn’t enough to be morally good; the players also knew they had to win.) By their existence and their conduct, they offer an alternative to the nationalism of men who claim a monopoly on the meaning of country and flag. “I think that I’m particularly and uniquely and very deeply American,” Rapinoe said before the final. “If we want to talk about the ideals that we stand for, all the songs and the anthem and sort of what we were founded on, I think I’m extremely American.” And she’s right: she is.”
Clearly, this tournament has been one of greater knowledge, understanding, and growing media exposure. FIFA, in fact, estimates that the cup was viewed by a billion people. But critics of the game have been prevalent, omnipresent with the suggestion that anything untoward is either afoot, or looking to pick apart anything marginally questionable. The treatment of our own Sam Kerr received after having the gall to disparage her detractors before missing a penalty, is indicative of the mindset. As it stands, in the minds of the those opposed, is that women’s football is not to be taken seriously, it is the responsibility of the media to set the tone.
— Samantha Lewis (@battledinosaur) July 5, 2019
“Without safety and dignity in women’s football, football will never achieve full equality. The legitimacy and professionalism of the game is at stake here,” wrote Kelly Lindsey, the manager of the Afghanistan women’s national team.
Which brings me to a now-deleted post by Bleacher Report, one that lionised the victorious team with a patchwork quilt of other American heroes, those seemingly on par with the victorious women. As illustrated below, great characters of fiction, are seemingly on par with actual achievements, be it billionaire industrialist Iron Man, Top Gun’s Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, Dunder Mifflin’s incompetent manager Michael Scott, or the regular customers of a New York coffee shop Central Perk; Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel, Ross and Phoebe. Scattered elsewhere through the illustration are Zac Efron, the cast of Modern Family, and the man who once put his dick in a box and wrote a song about it, Andy Samberg.
I realise it is one image redacted, but if one considers the reach that empire possesses, the damage is obvious. Bleacher Report has a following of 7.3 million on Twitter.Twitter, of course, is the most partisan ship that ever sailed, with even the most congratulatory efforting producing a wave that follows the tone of the comment below.
*LEGENDS in the kitchen.
— Tom Brady isnt the goat (@Tomisnotthegoat) July 7, 2019
The sheer numbers that B/R possess make it, for all intents and purposes, the first point of call for the sporting public. Honest mistake or no, the marginalisation of the achievement is obvious, supplying further ammunition to those who look to undercut the brilliance of these fine professionals, and the challenges they continue to face.
Pay them the same, yes, but also pay them the same respect.