Objects versus Wholesome Role Models
Soccer, like other women’s sports, has had to deal with the quandary of the value of selling gender when it comes to marketing. Though having nothing to do with the game itself, the presentation of athletes in sexually suggestive poses has been done under the guise of “creating publicity.” Recent incidents in Australia, the United States, and Latin America bring out a variety of attitudes among players, coaches, and management to this issue. At the end of the day, the key question is: does it help the growth of the game, or is it ultimately demeaning to those involved? FIFA, certainly a strong advocate for the women’s game, has muddied the waters with a very controversial suggestion for sexier player uniforms by President Sepp Blatter. This contributes to the belittling, lingering perception of the women’s game as something inferior to the men’s game.
Australia’s national women’s team was a tremendous surprise at the 2007 World Cup in China, making it to the quarterfinals. Cheryl Salisbury’s late winning goal against Canada, which sent Australia on to the last eight, was an epic moment for the game Down Under. Unfortunately, when people discussed the Matildas during the tournament, inevitably conversation came around to the twelve players