Dear Women of the World (A Chauvinist’s Apology)

And she's a girl, too!

Dear Women of the World (with exception to Marta),

Today, July 10, 2011, I would like to formally apologize for being sexist, chauvinistic, and flat out stupid. Oh, and also for farting so often in bed (that part is specifically for my wife). Watching the American women today pull out one of the gutsiest victories I have seen in a very long time (in any sport), I am left humbled for my many words (including a recent article) about female sports. So …yeah, sorry about that.

As great as today’s epic World Cup Quarterfinal game between the U.S. and Brazil was, the most unusual realization I had was that the game was better than it would have been if it were men playing, not women. My reasoning is simple. The men’s game, after years and years of evolving (or devolving) has a far higher tendency to bring out theatrics (flopping, milking time, etc.). One of the most refreshing things I’ve observed these past few days about the women’s game—apart from the fact that the quality of play and scoring seems on par with men’s—is that the women’s game is far more straight forward, and thespians are hard to find.

Enter Marta. The Brazilian forward simply looks like a man playing among women. That’s partly a compliment—she’s incredibly talented—but it’s also an indictment on the way she plays. She whines to refs incessantly and, just like the men, always seems to think she is trying out for the school play (see: Mexican soccer). She was in rare form today, so much so that by the end of the game even unbiased observers were lustily booing her anytime she touched the ball. As I watched, I found myself viewing Marta as a symbol for the flaws in the men’s game.

When Brazil’s Erika feigned a back injury in the second half of injury time and was carted off—only to pop right back up and run around (I assume after Marta told her to)—the unaffiliated fans in attendance were in full “Okay, this is enough—Go USA!” mode. (BTW, if Erika were a man, there’s a good chance she would have been on the ground for another few minutes. Sad, but true.)

But by this point, the game was certainly over. Ian Darke—God bless his soul—was already talking about the game in past tense. The thing is you couldn’t blame him. America had been playing short a player for about an hour, they were behind a goal thanks to Marta’s excellent (-ly manlike) goal, and time was only technically still ticking. But somehow the game wasn’t over. The American women just kept battling and scrapping, and fighting (and other tough sounding verbs). Finally, with a gorgeous cross in the dying moments of the game Megan Rapinoe found Abby Wambach, and she deftly headed home the tying goal. And just like that, Landon Donovan’s last second goal against Algeria somehow got trumped. And by a girl, too!

I watched the goal while holding my two month old son. Trying not to scare him, I refrained from screaming and spun around and around at a thousand steps a minute while doing kind of a butt shake move. He started to cry anyway. I guess it wasn’t that great a dance move. But the goal was nothing short of epic. And my two year old daughter made the moment even better by yelling “Goal!” and clapping her hands.

As you know, the rest was history. Ali Krieger shot home the game winning penalty kick and the Americans showed once again that we don’t really care for giving up. It’s a longstanding story in American team sports, but this patriotism-inducing chapter was written by the women.

Somehow, it was women who left me near tears watching a soccer game played in Germany while my son cried and my two year old daughter yelled “Goal!” with perfect elocution. Did you catch that? My male son was in tears while my female daughter captured the moment and made it that much more enjoyable for me.

So, thank you ladies. Really, thank you. I am so sorry that it took such a brilliant moment for me to overcome my gender prejudices. I’m sorry for all the mean things I’ve said. I’m sorry for balking whenever I see female sports on ESPN. I ask that all of you will please accept my apology. Well, all of you except for Marta. She’s the worst.

Sincerely,

One Humbled Man

***

Bryson Kearl wrote this article. He is the editor of this blog and an avid fan of women soccer (as of this posting).

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38 Responses to Dear Women of the World (A Chauvinist’s Apology)

  1. ConnGator says:

    Well said. Not sure if it “trumps” Donovan, but surely equals. What a game.

  2. womensbbfan says:

    Nice apology. Just remember it the next time you want to make fun of women’s sports.

    By the way-it’s “Abby”, not “Amy” Wambach.

  3. Adam says:

    As a longtime (male) fan of women’s soccer, I just want to say thank you.

  4. Summer says:

    Glad that you changed your mind before your daughter gets older and witnessed the way you feel about female sports. Never have understood men with daughters that put down women’s sports. I’m glad that my dad supported my sister and me in everything we ever did!

  5. Annie says:

    Well your apology for being sexist is laden with sexist remarks but I’m glad the USWNT made a convert. They are incredibly talented athletes.

  6. Brownie says:

    This is one of the worst non-apologies ever. A chauvinist will always be a chauvinist, and your article is laden with tons of gender bashing, playing the genders against each other as a substitute for your lack of enlightening commentary of a sport you clearly know very little about. The whole article is peppered with so many offensive remarks, it makes the KKK pale in comparison… “And just like that, Landon Donovan’s last second goal against Algeria somehow got trumped. And by a girl, too!” Behold the bigotry of low expectations for women! Wambach’s goal ought to stand on its own, just as Landon’s, and where comparison’s are warranted, of all the story lines you could have come up with, i.e. the execution of the play, the drama, rivalry, resilience, never giving up, etc. you chose to focus on gender? This ought not be a zero sum game, boy!

    Then there’s this… “[Marta] whines to refs incessantly and, just like the men, always seems to think she is trying out for the school play (see: Mexican soccer). She was in rare form today, so much so that by the end of the game even unbiased observers were lustily booing her anytime she touched the ball.” In one sentence, you manage to disparage Mexican soccer, men’s soccer, and the five-time world’s best female soccer player. Not a mean feat to accomplish. And, most players whine to refs incessantly, and in every sport, I might add. The second Marta goal, for instance, came about because the US player that was supposed to be marking Marta was instead appealing for an offside that never was.

    You say… “It’s a longstanding story in American team sports, but this patriotism-inducing chapter was written by the women.” How long have you been waiting for women to write a patriotism-inducing chapter in sports? Where have you been hiding all this time, in a cave? Suffice it to say that the very act of a woman marrying and having babies with you is a patriotism-inducing chapter in and of itself.

    And you wrap it all up for us with this gem… “Somehow, it was women who left me near tears watching a soccer game played in Germany while my son cried and my two year old daughter yelled “Goal!” with perfect elocution. Did you catch that? My male son was in tears while my female daughter captured the moment and made it that much more enjoyable for me.”

    You know, you could just enjoy a good game and be left in tears regardless of whether it’s a men or women’s game, but to somehow apply some special gender-ized meaning or significance to the game, and reactions of your MALE SON and your FEMALE DAUGHTER is beyond ridiculous. I should also mention that for non-chauvinists, daughters are always of the female gender, while sons are always of the male gender, no exceptions. Just saying… time to take off your gender colored glasses.

    • thevangundy says:

      Dear Brownie, Thanks for accepting my apology. Also, thanks for taking every word I wrote so seriously. You misread all sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek remarks from the post, and I appreciate that.

      • Brownie says:

        Well, go figure. If it ain’t the “I was just joking, lighten up” excuse! How could I have missed your wonderful sense of humor especially when your body of work speaks so powerfully to your sense of sarcasm?

        I can’t believe I misunderstood you, given your other post “Women’s World Cup: Ten Tips For Viewing Enjoyment”, which includes a picture of a female soccer player with the caption “Is that a dude? Watch and find out!” – http://bit.ly/r2w8eq. My bad.

        1. Remember that women’s soccer is not nearly as bad as the WNBA. Basketball is played in the air, while soccer is played on the ground. Huge difference. I mean, think about it: Could anything be as bad as the WNBA? Of course not! So the Women’s World Cup must be better.

        2. Lots of European men soccer players have long hair with girly pony tails. Like, a lot. Try to pretend the tournament is exclusively for those guys. Also, pretend they have leg injuries preventing them from running very fast. Before you know it, you won’t even realize you’re watching girls play soccer.

        3. Gambling makes any sporting event more enjoyable. Just saying.

        4. Become acquainted with the soccer stars of women’s soccer; sports are always more enjoyable when you know who is playing. Mia Hamm is a big deal. The one that took her shirt off after her goal was quite the entertainer. Also, I think Keira Knightley plays soccer?

        5. This year’s World Cup is being held in Germany. Dirk Nowitzki is from Germany. Keep a close eye on the audience and try to spot Dirk. It may be the only Dirk you’re getting for a very long time …

        6. Equatorial Guinea’s team has been surrounded by scandal since some have claimed three of their players are actually male. What could be more fun than watching their games and coming to your own conclusions? Not much, that’s what. (Note: Only use this tip if you are not using “Tip #2: They’re all European Dudes”)

        7. North Korea is in this tournament. In fact, they play the United States on Tuesday, June 28th. It’s being rumored that the infamous dictator Kim Jong-il is disguised as one of the North Korean players in a secret plot to, in his words, “Punk this American Cockatrices.” I have no idea what he is trying to say, but this game is definitely worth watching to see which player looks most man-like. (Note: This tip goes very well with “Tip #6: Oh yeah, that’s a Dude”)

        8. Columbia is in the same group as the Americans. Don’t forget that in 1994 when the men of these two nations met, a Columbian was shot and killed for making an own goal. Put your allegiances aside on this one, and just hope for a 0-0 tie.

        9. Female soccer players are by far the cutest of all female athletes, narrowly edging out tennis players (and excluding gymnastics if you are 18 or younger). When you think about tips #2, #6, and #7, it really helps you put other female sports into perspective.

        10. In all seriousness, if you like soccer, this should be a great tournament. Check it out. And if you happen to be female, please accept my sincerest apology.

    • “makes the KKK pale in comparison”?

      • you’re a bitter, bitter person Brownie. I hope some day you move beyond thinking this way and enjoy life rather than interpreting everything you read though the prism some college professor told you was the “right thinking” way to believe. It’s not way to live your life.

    • The two oh six says:

      I think someone needs to chill out, geez. Funny article!!!!

    • guerdon says:

      you obviously don’t know how to read sarcasm, and tongue-in-cheek. and seriously speaking, all the commentators, men and women alike, were in agreement that Marta lost the crowd that day. nobody was taking away her talents, she’s the best in her sport for five years running. but nonetheless, she lost the crowd that day because of how she played, or “acted”. your long-winded replies annoyed me instead of helping me sympathize with whatever you were crusading for. sorry. your intentions were probably noble, but you were attacking the wrong tree.

  7. wow says:

    go back to the kitchen brownie

  8. Ari says:

    I made my husband watch this game with me and we were both jumping up and down and screaming at the end. I beleive I turned him too. These women made the world shut up and pay attention. I am glad that youn and more importantly your daughter, were listening.

  9. Annie says:

    If I had a dollar for every time “go back to the kitchen” was said in reference to women’s sports…really? Isn’t that akin to like, acid wash jeans and saying “coolio?” So played out. Also, agreed with Brownie’s commentary. If that was supposed to be sarcastic you failed at writing it in a way that it would be taken as such.

    • when you’re bitter and an ideologue then you read everything looking (and probably hoping) for the worst. Like Brownie, you did just that.

      • Brownie says:

        Jackson, you somehow managed to get your head out of your copy of Front Army Magazine long enough to lay a few nuggets of of Chauvinistic Enlightenment on me. How did you do that?

    • The two oh six says:

      You’re one of those people just sitting around waiting to be offended, aren’t you?

      • Brownie says:

        Well, I finished reading the ingredients on cereal boxes as you suggested, so I guess I can afford to sit around waiting to be offended. 🙂

  10. Stan says:

    And chipped shouldered women like Brownie are the reason why nobody likes them. Good Lord. Anybody with half a brain would have figured out there was a fair amount of sarcasm and self deprecation in that blog. You being too stupid to recognize it doesn’t make it a failure. Nobody likes to write to the lowest common denominator other than Dan Brown.

    • Brownie says:

      And how would you know my gender, Stan? You’re just proving my point each time one of you sexist and bigoted critters opine.

    • Annie says:

      Ahh the old attack on the intelligence of someone who disagrees with you. I’m not too stupid to understand the satire, I just don’t think it was that well-written that it didn’t make him appear like a gigantic dick to me. Oh no, an opinion that differs from yours! As a female soccer player, I have had to put up with many a sexist comment in my day, questioning my talent, my looks, my passion, etc. Excuse me if this hit a nerve. Am I looking to be offended? Nah. But sensitive to a topic that is dear to your heart? Sure. But I received a well-intentioned and (hopefully) sincere e-mail from the author of this post and I accept his apology, so there’s no need for me to visit this website anymore. Happy reading, everyone.

      • Paul Hedberg says:

        he pretty-much apoligizes for being a “dick” from the word go.Relax people & learn to understand toungue-in-cheek material.Get back in the GD kitchen & stop being so sensitive.Take that w/as many grains of salt as you wish but STFU no matter what.

  11. Elles says:

    I just have to interject here and say thank you for this posting. I am a female soccer player who has played for about 27 years now and I found this article nothing but delightfully entertaining and refreshing. I, for one, accept your apology and am glad that you have seen the light. Perhaps it is possible for me to do this because I picked up on the blatant sarcasm throughout the post (it was NOT hard to miss AT ALL, despite the protestations of some). Or perhaps this is because I can look at life and see when the humor is intentional and when things are done out of good spirit, rather than maliciousness. Or maybe its because I am able to appreciate when someone retracts a previously expressed, perhaps uninformed, point of view in favor of a more developed and aware perspective. Regardless of the reasons for why I appreciate and accept your humble (and humorous) apology, I have shared it with my friends and they are sharing it with their husbands and friends. Oh… and by the way, as I mentioned before, I am a female soccer player, but I am also a college professor, so believe me when I say I know the issues that surround the notion of inequality. Let’s just say that I am coming from an informed perspective on this issue on all fronts and yet I still applaud you. Hmmm… imagine that.

    • Brownie says:

      Elles, I applaud you. That’s what freedom is speech is all about – when it enables a wide range of perspectives on the same issue. I love it . But I’m wondering why you needed to qualify what you had to say by pointing out that you’re a college professor and a professional soccer player of 27 years, which, even if true, does not necessarily strengthen your point, just as claiming to be the author’s wife would also not necessarily undermine the validity of your comments.

  12. Elles says:

    Ahh… Brownie – I think you misinterpreted my point. First, I never stated that I was a professional soccer player, just that I have played for 27 years. Secondly, I pointed out these aspects in order to demonstrate that if there were a specific audience that would be offended by the original post or the subsequent apology, I would fall into that category. I have witnessed and been the victim of blatant attacks based on the issue of gender inequality, as well as other such slander, and my experience grants me an informed perspective. I think that a position based on experience and awareness tends to carry with it a bit more credence than that of someone who is merely an observer on the sidelines, don’t you? For example, if I were the author’s wife and had knowledge about the discussion at hand- the validity of my comments would not be undermined based solely on the grounds of my relationship with him; however, if I were the author’s wife and had little knowledge or experience with the topic… well, then I wouldn’t expect anyone to grant me any credibility or even pay attention to a word that I had to say.

    • Brownie says:

      Elles, fair point about not bring a professional soccer player, but it’s a distinction without a difference, as my question was… how does being a college professor and soccer player for 27 years validate or invalidate your argument?

      I agree with you that a position based on experience and awareness can indeed carry with it a bit more credence, but the problem is you simply made those claims without providing any supporting evidence. You could be a male nurse who never played a day of soccer in your life (not that any of that would be relevant) for all I know. Simply put, you can’t manufacture credibility out of thin air. Let your body of work speak for itself regardless of your gender, profession, or educational prerogatives.

      And assuming you were indeed a college professor and a soccer player of 27 years, how does that validate or invalidate your argument, or for that matter the perspectives of those who may disagree with you? They may very well have similar or even more credibility along the same lines as you (if no more so). My point is, you never actually made the case as to why your perspective should carry more weight in this instance, thought I’m heartened by the fact that you at least attempted to engage with reason and common sense as opposed to the “bitter” and “go back to the kitchen” crowd. Much appreciated.

      The author claims he’s being a misunderstood satirist. How exactly does your background as a soccer player and a college professor (in what field) put you in the
      position to claim that you’re coming from a more informed position?

  13. guerdon says:

    i think i am going to call brownie a troll now. an intelligent troll, but a troll nevertheless. sorry brownie. you definitely need to read more sarcastic humor instead of taking everything like a personal attack. i suggest terry pratchett’s “discworld” series. he’s the best i’ve read when it comes to humorous satire and sarcasm. i have to warn you though — he’s a male author. i’m not sure if you like reading them. peace! 🙂

    • Brownie says:

      With each post, you make my case for me – a gathering of chauvinists who can’t see past their own view of the world. The author must be thrilled with such following.

  14. Gloria Steinheim says:

    Hey Brownie, you constant bickering sociopath please and I mean please get a prescription of Vitamin D or P ASAP.

  15. Motty says:

    Good grief. I must have debated with myself for hours about whether or not to post at all. Let’s see. Male. Soccer player since I was 5. Coach since I was 19. High school mathematics teacher. Former paramedic. Avid fan of any USA sports endeavor. Marginally intelligent. I now have that sinking feeling that this is a mistake. Oh well. I have made some fine ones in my time. Perhaps this won’t qualify.

    I was fortunate enough to have the day off from work Sunday. Yes, I recognize that it is summer, but l must supplement my meager income. Oh, wait. Scratch that. TMI, right? My validity wanes by the moment. D’OH!

    You should have seen me while I watched, in my humble opinion, the greatest sporting event. Ever. I anticipated my neighbors calling the police, assured that I was either schizophrenic (see: arguing with myself) during my fits of excitement, frustration, elation and exhaustion…or…having a seizure. My point is simple. This watershed event has generated apologies, blanketed statements, philosophical rants, and intolerance. But instead of affording us all an opportunity to revel in joy; silently hope we can share in such a victory, some have taken it as a touchstone to espouse frustrations that have been brewing for far too long.

    Let’s not forget. France comes this Wednesday. No time for celebrating anymore. There is work to be done. Truly, that embodies what Life is like. However, if you want a stage for admonitions and social conscience, place propaganda on a more worthy site than one that includes a few people willing to admit how proud, and celebratory, they are.

    Oh, BTW…apology accepted. Is that allowed since I am of the male persuasion?

  16. ILL-INI says:

    Hahahahaha Brownie is a complete troll!! (See Urban Dictionary definition in case you don’t know what it means)

    Good article. Definitely was still a little chauvinistic. I can see how someone might look past the sarcasm, and take it offensively.

    Either way it was well intended so I applaud you.

  17. Eric says:

    Excellent article! It’s a shame that many of the world’s best players (Ronaldo, Marta, etc.) resort to theatrics instead of their stellar play.

    I would agree that Wambach’s header trumps Donovan’s rebound. The way the match was called left everybody thinking of the controversy that would surround the Australian referee. After Wambach got the US to PKs, it made the poor officiating a moot point.

    Finally, to further emphasize how great women’s soccer is, if we lived in France or Japan we would be saying the same things. The France/England match was very similar to the US/Brazil match. Japan’s upset of two-time defending champion Germany was just as brilliant.

    I’m a huge FC Barcelona fan. I may be caught in the moment, but I would much rather watch Team USA in this World Cup than a Barca Championship match. Keep it going USA!

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