Some good, some bad outcomes of the #wwc2011

1. You have to hand it to Japan. They won the game and many hearts along the way. I’d like to think this a universal sentiment, but unfortunately it is not. To see backlash, racism and jingoism from fans pertaining to the WWC Final click here.

2. I find it interesting that the “success” of the WWC has been attributed to Title IX. Wendy Parker provides an alternative viewpoint here.

3. columnist Ann Killion writes “In the past, women’s teams were expected to do more than just play. They had to build a movement, change their culture, make history. This team is liberated from that.” She lists some things the current US players do not need to do…but what are the responsibilities of female athletes? What should they be?

4. Dave Zirin @EdgeofSports and The Nation writes highlights the “raunch culture” of women’s sports in his piece. “raunch culture” is when women athletes buy into the idea that it’s somehow empowering to display their naked bodies for men’s magazines.” Some members of the women’s French national soccer team decided to provide resistance to raunch culture and the idea that sex sells women’s sport by providing a caption: “Is this how we should show up before you come to our games?” (to see the accompanying picture click here)

5. Despite some of the negative outcomes of the WWC2011, I’m happy to report that much of the coverage and commentary seemed to allude to the fact that women’s soccer is fun to watch because the women are GOOD ATHLETES.

The WWC2011 picture above was created in Wordle.

6. Based on the data, the Women’s World Cup Soccer Final set a new Twitter record for tweets per second, at 7,196….more than killing Bin Laden, the Royal Wedding, the SuperBowl or NBA finals!

Tidbits and Stories Related to Women’s Sport

Since there is so much going on in women’s sport right now I thought I’d post some stories, links and videos of interest.

WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2011 (WWC, #wwc2011)!

USA player Abby Wambach celebrates her goal against Brazil in final minutes of game

Who has caught the fever and excitement? I’m torn about the coverage because the WWC has been fantastically covered by ESPN and ESPN2. However given that coverage of women’s sport has DECLINED since the 1999 USA World Cup win, women’s sport is only on ESPN Sports Center is less than 2% time, and appears only 1.6% on major networks, we should consider the big picture of overall coverage patterns (for the full report by Messner & Cooky, 2010 click here). When female athletes are featured, it is usually in ways that sexualize them, which is why the WWC coverage has been such a nice example of covering women’s athleticsm. Just for fun I typed in “women’s sport” into Google Images, and the FIRST picture I got was this one of beach volleyball. It really makes me wonder why this picture is first…one step forward, one step back….

Is this the best picture to represent "women's sport" on Google?

There has been some interesting dialogue about the coverage of WWC 2011 in comparison to the WWC 1999. Until Sunday’s game unforunately the WWC was barely a blip on the radar. While fans watch hours of men’s sport that is boring, lopsided, and not compelling, it appears that women’s sport is only “watchable” when it is drama filled, dramatic spectacle.

Read the piece by Georgia Turner here, and read Wendy Parker’s blog on why she is sick of female athletes having to be “role models” and “good girls” and why she thinks the way to promote female athletes is through their athleticism (well played Wendy!). I also like Jennifer Doyle’s From a Left Wing blogs about the WWC. There are so many good blogs about the WWC on Women’s Talk Sports, I can’t possibly mention them all.

Rachel Maddow did a great segment on MSNBC about the USA v. Brazil game and fans’ reactions to that game (most of whom are young males!). The fan segments challenge notions that young men aren’t interested or don’t watch women’s sport. LOVE IT.

However, just when there is hope (not just Hope Solo, the goal keeper for the USA WWC team) for legitimate coverage of women’s sport, I get a link sent to me about this story on the WWC with the headline “Brazil Didn’t Mind Losing to the U.S. Women Because the Goalie’s Hot.” SIGH….another step back.

And just for fun and unrelated to WWC, watch a funny and clever video of Justin Timberlake as he tries his hand at a variety of college sports, leading up to his presentation of the Capital One Cup trophy at the ESPYs.

Let’s not leave out men’s sport. Read After Atalanta’s blog critiquing an espnW opinion piece about “overweight MLB players” Good stuff!