All-American Girls? Corporatizing
National Identity and Cultural
Citizenship with/in the WUSA
Michael D. Giardina and Jennifer L. Metz
When a given symbolic national body signifies as normal – straight, white, middle-class, and
heterosexual – hardly anyone asks critical questions about its representatives.
On February 15, 2000, the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) was officially formed with its stated goal of “launching the world's premiere women's professional soccer league” (WUSA Press Office). Lauded over as yet another positive step in the continued expansion of women's (professional) sporting endeavors and receiving national press coverage on par with the alreadyestablished Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA), the league and its players have not only become central to discourses of female athletic participation and empowerment but, equally as important, it has revealed itself as a key site from which to excavate the construction of “All-American” notions of family and identity in post-Reagan/Clinton America.1 From league-wide community-relations initiatives centering on the family unit and its firm brokerage by such unapologetically American corporations as McDonald's and Sears to its breakthrough ownership matrix and corporate agenda, the WUSA thus stands as a practical exemplar of the rising incidence of the corporate capitalist fashioning of national consciousness. By this we mean that entities such as WUSA – as well as other transnational corporate capitalist enterprises operating on a global scale – are now more so than ever visibly in league with the State in defining the boundaries of “cultural citizenship” (Miller, 1998).
Using the WUSA as a representative case study, we interrogate the union between the State and corporate actors that has been facilitated by the rise and