Hope Solo, Cat Whitehill, Abby Wambach, and Natasha Kai all US National Women's Soccer Team players, did videos for Nike on women in sports. My thanks to Martynny, who is a great source of women's soccer videos; subscribe if you like that. For once, I'm not just posting videos for you to watch them; I'd like to discuss them. Is it me, or are the videos troubling?
It appears that the participation of women in sports is being linked to body image issues or equality issues. Even worse, it appears that women's sports can't exist without endless comparison and contrast with men's sports, even by the women themselves. Now, I understand that at first, when women were not getting access to courts and fields, it was necessary to push the equality issue to get them access to said fields. But haven't women's sports grown out of that phase? Can't we let the game be the game, without weighing down women's sports with all this talk of body image, equality, and being role models? The men don't have to bear such a burden. It seems as if the joy is being robbed out of women's sports. And quite honestly, that's a big reason I like women's sports. Their joy and enthusiasm seems so much more natural and refreshing than what I see in the men's game. Why not show that instead, Nike? Maybe there are female athletes out there who can give a better perspective on this than I have, but I don't like Nike's approach here. It seems to be building demand for women's sports on a platform of resentment, mistrust, pride, and envy rather than on the game itself.