As a female soccer fan (and former player) I’ve had to fight through a lot of prejudices while getting my sport to be taken seriously. One of the biggest is the idea that men only ever want to watch women’s soccer to gawk at the attractive, athletic ladies who are on the field. Who actually cares about the game, after all? The players are hot, and that’s enough to get the men out there to watch them.
So let me just start this off by stating the obvious.
Women are not objects.
We were not put on this earth to fuel the fantasies of anyone, be it a man or another woman.
A female athlete’s worth is not tied to much you want to “hit that.”
If you don’t understand this already, you probably won’t understand why my stomach turned when I came across the new video by Drake and Future. The first shot features a woman dressed in “soccer gear” which is actually a pair of shorts that barely qualifies for the label, bent over so we can get a full view of exactly how much they don’t cover. The shot pans back as she stands up, allowing us to see that she is also wearing a skin-tight shirt that doesn’t reach to her waist. Then we get to the actual music, a man surrounded by similarly clad ladies who are “repping” the gear of Mexican soccer players.
Future and Drake just dropped a new video 🔥 pic.twitter.com/SikmIQuBzo
— Ryan (@GlockRivers) November 4, 2016
— SoccerGirlProblems® (@SoccerGrlProbs) November 4, 2016
In case you needed a reference, here is an actual picture of a female Mexican player:
See the difference? Wearing a kit that is made for movement and protection, for the work of the game. Not wearing anything that is intended to sexualize or provide a convenient background for a song that isn’t even about soccer.
This seems particularly galling in the wake of the recent news that the Harvard Men’s soccer team has been producing a “scouting report” on the incoming freshman recruits for the women’s soccer team for years (including this most recent class), showing that this is still a serious issue in the soccer world.
We really don’t need musicians to add to the issue by making videos that suggest that these women are actually prepared to play soccer (which they are shown to be supposedly doing in the video, though without an actual ball anywhere in sight).
In this sport female players actively have to fight against the sexism inherent in their federations and cultures, and they need all the help they can get from pop culture. They need fans who care about the women as players and people, not sex symbols. Particularly in Mexico, they need a federation that takes them seriously and won’t leave without a head coach for months, or tell them about international friendlies coming up.
What they don’t need is a reaction like this, from FoxSoccer:
Future and Drake are reppin' El Tri to the fullest. https://t.co/D4lfbbcEgT
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 4, 2016
No, they are not “repping” El Tri. They are not representing anything that female soccer players actually do, except maybe stretching a lot (and I guarantee you that’s not what it looks like). This is not representative of the millions of girls and women who dedicate their life to this sport.
Please don’t insult us by pretending that it is.