Jewish World Review July 26, 1999 /13 Av, 5759
Two cheers for women's soccer --- sort of
HOORAY FOR WOMEN'S soccer! I think.
The recent performance of the U.S. Women's Soccer team leaves me with profoundly
Let's begin with admiration. The members of this team are wonderful athletes who have
worked incredibly hard to achieve their current skill. Michelle Akers has battled chronic
fatigue syndrome and endured numerous knee surgeries to become a champion. The others have
clearly trained hard, as well.
But it isn't just practicing your dribbling or heading that makes a champion. A great
deal of athletic success (or any success, actually) is psychological.
The best example of the mind of a champion was Brandi Chastain. In the quarterfinal
match against Germany, just five minutes into the game, Chastain made a huge blunder.
According to National Public Radio, she was near the U.S. goal and was attempting to clear
the ball away from a German player when "she accidentally kicked it past her own goalie and
into her own net, giving Germany a 1-0 lead."
Now, I don't know about you, but if I had done something like that, I would have been
so mortified that they would have had to carry me from the field on a stretcher.
Chastain was not so abashed. Here's her relaxed explanation to NPR: "You know, I
thought I was making a good decision until I looked up and saw she was already coming for the
ball. And I just turned around, I said, 'Oh, now we've got to score two goals."
Later in the game, Chastain did score a tying goal, and the U.S. team went on to
defeat Germany 3-2.
That is called strong-mindedness, and it accounts for success every bit as much as
talent. Three cheers for Chastain? No, perhaps only two.
Here's why. Though she showed herself a great athlete, and certainly made the
feminists in the TV audience swoon, she seems to have some trouble sorting out what it means
to be a feminine, female athlete.
For example, Chastain posed for Gear magazine wearing
only a soccer ball and cleats. It's a coy photo (nothing erogenous shows), and yet it demeans
her. She told Time magazine that she had "run her butt off" to achieve the body she now so
immodestly displays, but that is beside the point.
On this subject, feminists and
anti-feminists can agree: To pose nude for mass-circulation magazines is a degrading act. It
encourages men to lust after her, not admire her. The two are not mutually exclusive, but
it's a matter of emphasis. A lady may be flattered if a man is inflamed at the sight of her
-- but she doesn't strip naked to elicit it, either. Sure, exhibitionism is in the air.
Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are doing their best to sell tickets to "Eyes Wide Shut" by
inviting the whole world to their love-making. (They will get a percentage of the gross,
which explains a lot.) Still, was it necessary for Chastain to tear off her shirt when the
team charged to victory?
The usual stupid people said, "Well, the men do it." Memo to commentators: Men don't
have breasts. You can look it up.
If men tore off their shorts as a victory gesture and ran around in jock straps, that
would be more comparable to what Chastain did. And people would think they were ridiculous.
Perhaps Chastain has a need to exhibit herself. But once again, her display introduced sex
where it didn't belong.
The underlying error in so much of the hype surrounding the women's soccer team was
the idea that women were now doing exactly what men do in exactly the same way. A commercial
showed Mia Hamm throwing Michael Jordan, karate style. Please. Women, even beautiful, strong
women like Hamm, are no match for strong men.
That's a fact of life. It doesn't mean women
athletes have no place in professional sports. Women's tennis has been profitable for years,
and the sports in which women compete at the Olympics are among the most popular spectator
events (skating and gymnastics).
It's terrific that women's soccer is now achieving popularity with a wide audience.
Kick the hell out of that ball, ladies. But keep your clothes
JWR contributor Mona Charen reads all of her mail. Let her know what you think by clicking here. Please bear in mind, though, that while all letters are read, due to the heavy amount of traffic, not all letters can be answered.
07/20/99: The media lose their heads, again
07/14/99: The too busy parent
07/12/99: Post-impeachment vindication?
07/09/99: Bubba goes native
07/07/99: Is Rev. Al Hillary's new pal?
07/01/99: Free Sara Jane Olson?
06/28/99: Behind the George W. frenzy
06/23/99: How to avoid Mediscare
06/21/99: Taking back our streets
06/16/99: Hide and seek
06/14/99: Impervious to the evidence
06/09/99: Unsung heroes
06/01/99: For $ale
05/26/99: Best friend these girls ever had
05/24/99: Baby Hope continued
05/20/99: Say no to the Gore tax
05/17/99: Baby Hope
05/13/99: Other high crimes
05/10/99:Three cheers for uniforms
05/05/99: Voucher opponents' worst nightmare
05/03/99: Lessons of Columbine High
04/28/99: Kevorkian is stopped
04/26/99: "Senseless tragedy"?
04/22/99: Hey, hey, ... Bubba
04/19/99: Why we are in Kosovo
04/15/99: Hooray for the NYPD
04/09/99: How to do something about taxes
04/06/99:Can the private sector handle foster care?
03/31/99: The Flower Child goes to war
03/29/99: Foreign-policy meltdown
03/25/99: 'Just doin' it'
03/22/99: Return of pay equity?
03/16/99: St. Hillary
03/10/99: Rodney King in perspective
03/08/99: Monica's story: No morals
03/04/99: Not home but library alone:
3/02/99: Tuning our racial sensitivities
2/27/99: Cease-fire in war between sexes?
2/23/99: Where were the religious voices?
2/19/99: Depends what you mean by "acting"
2/17/99: As Minn., goes so goes the nation?
2/09/99: Prepare for post-impeachment spin
2/03/99: Teaching morality
2/01/99: What did he say?
1/26/99: The truth about the Peace Process
1/22/99: The vulgar decade
1/19/99: Was Jefferson libeled by DNA?
1/13/99: The backlash picks up speed
1/11/99: Who invented politics of personal destruction?
1/07/99: Shall we dance?
1/05/99: Try him!
12/30/98: The price of virtue
12/28/98: The gift of giving
12/22/98: Party of shame, party of shamelessness
12/18/98: Wag the country
12/16/98: Is this impeachment constitutional?
12/14/98: Republicans find courage
12/09/98: Nappy Hair and other racial slurs
12/07/98: Stranger in a strange land
12/02/98: Dangerous ground
11/30/98: Involuntary fatherhood?
11/24/98: Lies, damned lies, and sex lies
11/18/98: Another victory for cowardice
11/16/98: Separatism plus welfarism equals a dead end
11/10/98: Did conservatism lose campaign '98?
11/06/98: Democrat venality, Republican timidity
11/04/98: Are girls being shortchanged?
11/02/98: Believe the children?
10/28/98: What 'Measure 58' would do
10/26/98: The officers are bailing out
10/20/98: Using Matthew Shepard's murder
10/19/98: The school voucher that saved a family
10/14/98: Are powerful women different?
10/09/98: Can just sex be impeachable?
10/07/98: Repeal Miranda
10/02/98: Understanding the polls
10/01/98: What school texts teach about marriage
9/28/98: Fear of choice
9/23/98: A fork in the road: Bubba's fate and ours
9/18/98: Christianity and the Holocaust
9/16/98: The national dirty joke
9/11/98: Are we in crisis?
9/09/98: Does Burton's sin let Clinton off the hook?
9/07/98: Liar's Poker
9/01/98: One, two, three
8/28/98: Fat and folly
8/25/98: When homework is a dirty word
8/21/98: The unravelling
8/18/98: The wages of dishonesty
8/17/98: Sex, honor and the presidency
8/12/98: Pro-choice extremist
8/10/98: Switch illuminates biology's role
8/05/98: The presumption of innocence and the American way
8/03/98: An American hero
7/29/98: Lock up those who need psychiatric care
7/24/98: Making the military more like us
7/22/98: The 'Net sex hoax... and us
7/20/98: Disappointed by Cosbys
7/15/98: Feelings, not morality, rule
7/10/98: Guns as the solution?
7/8/98: Teacher preacher
7/6/98: The China behind the headlines
7/1/98: What is the First Amendment for?
6/26/98: The Republican city
6/24/98: Poison pen
6/22/98: Clinton: inventing his own reality?
6/16/98: Senator mom?
6/12/98: Wisconsin: a trail blazer?
6/9/98: These girls say no to sex, yes to excellence
6/5/98: Lewinsky's ex-lawyer would feel right at home as Springer guest
6/2/98: English? Si; Republican? No!
5/29/98: The truth about women and work
5/27/98: Romance in the '90s
5/25/98:Taxing smokers for fun and profit
5/19/98: China's friend in the White House
5/15/98: Look out feminists: here comes the true backlash
5/12/98: The war process?
5/8/98: Where's daddy?
5/5/98: The joys of boys
5/1/98: Republicans move on education reform
4/28/98: Reagan was right
4/24/98: The key to Pol Pot
4/21/98: The patriot's channel
4/19/98: Child-care day can't replace mom
4/15/98: Tax time
4/10/98: Armey states obvious, gets clobbered
4/7/98: A nation complacent?
4/1/98: Bill Clinton's African adventure
3/27/98: Understanding Arkansas
3/24/98: Jerry Springer's America
3/20/98: A small step for persecuted minorities
3/17/98: Skeletons in every closet?
3/13/98: Clinton's idea of a fine judge
3/10/98: Better than nothing?
3/6/98: Of fingernails and freedom
3/3/98: Read JWR! :0)
2/27/98: Dumb and Dumber
2/24/98: Reagan reduced poverty more than Clinton
2/20/98: Rally Round the United Nations?
2/17/98: In Denial
2/13/98: Reconsidering Theism
2/10/98: Waiting for the facts?
2/8/98: Cat got the GOP's tongue?
2/2/98: Does America care about immorality?
1/30/98: How to judge Clinton's denials
1/27/98: What If It's Just the Sex?
1/23/98: Bill Clinton, Acting Guilty
1/20/98: Arafat and the Holocaust Museum
1/16/98: Child Care or Feminist Agenda?
1/13/98: What We Really Think of Abortion
1/9/98: The Dead Era of Budget Deficits Rises Again?
1/6/98: "Understandable" Murder and Child Custody
1/2/98: Majoring in Sex
12/30/97: The Spirit of Kwanzaa
12/26/97: Food fights (Games children play)
12/23/97: Does Clinton's race panel listen to facts?
12/19/97: Welcome to the Judgeocracy, where the law school elite overrules majority rule
12/16/97: Do America's Jews support Netanyahu?
©1999, Creators Syndicate