Thursday, June 17, 2010

Women's bodies and the men's World Cup - Pretty women help lose games

I was watching ESPN 2 this morning, waiting for the next match in the World Cup (France v. Mexico) to start, when I heard commentators briefly discussing how Spain's shocking defeat by Switzerland was being blamed by some on a female journalist for a Spanish TV station.

Isn't that nice.

Apparently, Sara Carbonero is dating the Spanish goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, who gave up the match's only goal in the game against Switzerland. The win by Switzerland was a huge upset, and Casillas' mistake is being blamed, by some fans, on Carbonero whose presence was known to her boyfriend and may have potentially been a distraction.

This kind of reaction is ridiculous. Making a conventionally attractive woman a scapegoat for the loss of a game that was played by men not only provides reason for undue scorn against a woman who was doing her job, but it also perpetuates the stereotype that when men see a pretty woman, they lose all self-control and can't help but, you know, lose a World Cup match.

I would also like to add that if you watch the replay of the goal scored by Switzerland, it is clear (to me at least) that it was not a matter of Casillas being distracted by his girlfriend, during which time a goal slipped by. He made a bad decision which had bad consequences.

Part one in my World Cup series.


Fellow World Cup Watcher said...

Just wondering, do you know that it has been a long time tradition of major football teams to limit, or ban visits from wives and girlfriends? The Brazil football team practiced this so that the players will be fully rounded in the world of football, football, football. Mexico is another team that has recently followed this suit. Would you call this sexist - that woman are inherently, a form of distraction for men, or would you call this a form of isolationist training (sorry, made that word up since I could not think of any other) to demand the best of the best from the players? I understand that this piece is not directly connected to what you wrote, but that news about the Spanish journalist sparked this thought.

Amelia said...

I am vaguely aware of the practice that you mention here, but I cannot say I know the details.

My take on such a tradition would depend on exactly what it entailed. Are wives and girlfriends the only people the players are banned from seeing (or allowed to see in limited amounts)? Are the players only supposed to socialize/work with the other players on their team and no one else? Where is this practice most common, and what is the human rights' record of those places? I also wonder if this practice is limited to national teams, or if it ever applies to club teams?

Such details would help determine a proper way to consider the tradition, because with my limited knowledge of the practice, it could potentially be viewed either way: as sexist, or as a logical form of training.