No, ‘Girl Power’ Doesn’t Excuse U.S. Women’s Soccer’s Rude Celebrations

No, ‘Girl Power’ Doesn’t Excuse U.S. Women’s Soccer’s Rude Celebrations

Liberal media writers are so crouched in their defensive feminist stances that they can’t seem to see U.S. women’s soccer players’ poor behavior for what it is.
Christopher Dale
By

On behalf of men everywhere, I would like to officially thank the U.S. Women’s World Cup soccer team: The ladies’ excessive scoring and embarrassing, grave-dancing celebrations have finally made it permissible to criticize women without instantly being labeled a misogynist by the Woke Wide Web.

Perhaps even the players of Team USA realize that their massacre of Thailand went overboard. In the team’s next match versus Chile, the United States won by a far more reasonable 3-0. Luckily, as they now advance through the knockout rounds the competition will stiffen, lessening the likelihood of lopsided victories.

A recap for those who missed what amounted to a shameful girl power trip: In their first match of the tournament, the top-ranked U.S. women’s team defeated the soccer juggernaut that is Thailand by a score of 13-0 in Paris. It is the most lopsided victory in the history of the World Cup—men’s or women’s.

For those unfamiliar with the game’s intricacies, winning 13-0 in soccer is like winning 90-0 in football—it’s such an insane amount of overkill that the victor looks worse than the vanquished. Like stealing second base when up by 10 runs in baseball, this salt-in-the-wound pile-on simply doesn’t happen—and when it does, it’s common knowledge that the offending party deserves a spike to the groin or a fastball to the funnybone.

The way this wokest of whippings transpired was equally appalling. Even as the score climbed well past the point of competitiveness, each goal was punctuated by prolonged celebrations more suited to a closely contested final match than an opening-round blowout. My favorite was Alex Morgan exuberantly leaping into a teammate’s arms after scoring Team USA’s oh-so-crucial twelfth goal.

The display was so antithetical to good sportsmanship that, in a society trained to speak no evil of female athletes (or female anything), even a white male sportscaster felt comfortable criticizing the team’s puerile performance. Of course, liberal media outlets spun themselves into the ground trying to justify this boorish behavior.

In a ThinkProgress article sneeringly titled “If the USWNT’s 13-0 Victory Over Thailand Made You Uneasy, Then good. That’s the Point,” Lindsay Gibbs hints that Team USA may have been trying to make us squeamish (mission accomplished, ladies), writing that “the discomfort might just be the point.”

She then segues into a litany of all-things sexism in soccer: “It should turn our stomachs that Team USA, the most successful women’s soccer team in the world, is still having to fight for equal pay.” As if rubbing an opponent’s face in the dirt is tantamount to a civil rights demonstration. We’ve all heard of passive resistance; this must be passive-aggressive resistance.

Gibbs goes on to flat-out excuse Team USA’s lack of sportsmanship merely because they are women: “The truth is, it takes an inordinate amount of selfishness and fire and defiance to become an elite female athlete. That’s part of the deal.”

No Lindsay, getting a free pass for treating an opponent like a punching bag isn’t part of the deal. Learning not to do that, in fact, is part of growing up. Manners should not be sex-conditional.

In The Atlantic, Jemele Hill also tenuously ties the ladies’ off-the-field fight for equal pay with the on-the-field fight for their right to party at an opponent’s expense: “Instead of Team USA being celebrated for what its players achieved, the victory became an opportunity to lecture these women on how to behave… The women are fighting… for equal pay and respect—and, on the field, for the right to pummel their opponents and express themselves in a way that men often do.”

This is, quite simply, wrong. Men do not typically act like that in sports. Or at least not without catching well-deserved criticism.

“It isn’t the U.S. national team’s job to spare Thailand from humiliation,” she continues, absolving the ladies of a transgression their male counterparts would be condemned for equally harshly. Hill either doesn’t understand sportsmanship or doesn’t understand sports, period.

In the Washington Post, Rachel Allison also found sexism in the common sense criticism that opponents should not be unnecessarily humiliated: “People still react negatively when women express the competitiveness and aggression that are routine in men’s sports.”

True or not, 13-0 with the equivalent of a Mexican hat dance after every goal is not routine. This isn’t a sex issue; it’s a gradation issue. Allison is doing nothing more than overcomplicating a simple matter of right and wrong by shoehorning historic bigotry into the conversation.

Allison then descends into feminist psychobabble that, despite hints of historic truth, simply aren’t relevant to the extreme circumstance in question: “The backlash against the U.S. women’s soccer team represents a form of social control that protects the long-standing perception of sport as somehow a uniquely masculine endeavor…”

Liberal media writers are so crouched in their defensive feminist stances that they can’t seem to see poor behavior for what it is. From this warped perspective, it is impossible to separate Team USA’s shameful lack of etiquette from battles between the sexes in their home country. Unfortunately, even some right-leaning pundits, including National Review’s Kat Timpf, see nothing wrong with humiliating an opponent so long as it’s women doing the humiliating.

We find ourselves neck deep in an overcompensating societal silliness, one in which women are told they should always feel empowered and unafraid to be assertive, aggressive, bold. But that wasn’t being aggressive in any positive, competitive sense of the word; it was just playing Mean Girls, World Cup Edition. It was incessant, insensitive and unprofessional.

There is a decided difference between showing your opponent the respect of playing your best and the disrespect of acting your worst. By the time the game was two-thirds over—the 60th minute of play—the score was 7-0. Instead of removing their collective foot from Team Thailand’s throat, Team USA saw it proper to score six more garbage time goals, spinning and leaping and screaming for joy after each.

This is the type of oblivious offense only committed because the Gen Y & Z members of the U.S. Women’s World Cup team grew up in a society that told them they could do no wrong. That society has tried to correct the sexism of its past by telling today’s girls to shatter traditional norms and demand to be heard, decorum be damned.

More than the actions of a few overzealous female athletes, then, what United States 13, Thailand 0 really exemplified was the disservice our society does young women by excusing their actions in the name of compensatory political correctness. If we want women to truly be equal to men, we must teach them not only to reach for the stars, but also when to call off the dogs.

A team representing the United States on an international stage played wonderfully but acted terribly. Whether or not that team was comprised of men or women makes little difference. Any other conclusion is simply excusing bad behavior in the name of feminism.

Christopher Dale writes on politics, society, parenting and addiction & recovery issues. His work has appeared in Salon, Daily Beast, New York Daily News and Parents.com, among other outlets, and he is a contributing writer for The Fix, a sober lifestyle website. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisDaleWriter.

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