The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Just Won Equal Pay—Cue the Misogynist Backlash


It appears plenty of males on the web are outraged by the suggestion that girls athletes could be deserving of equal pay.

United States followers maintain up an equal pay check in sport motion throughout a world pleasant match between the USA girl’s nationwide workforce and the New Zealand girls’s nationwide workforce on Might 16, 2019, at Busch Stadium, in St. Louis, Mo. (Robin Alam / Icon Sportswire through Getty Photos)

Final month, the U.S. Girls’s Nationwide Soccer workforce (USWNT) introduced a deal that ensures men and women who play for the nationwide groups will obtain the identical compensation alternatives. The USWNT has been agitating for equal pay for the final six years, as have followers. (In the course of the 2019 World Cup, after the ladies’s workforce’s gained fourth World Cup victory, the stadium erupted with chants for “equal pay! Equal pay!”)

Whereas feminists and different USWNT followers celebrated the choice, not unexpectedly, misogynists got here roaring again with cries of “Unfair!” “Wokeness!” “Biology!” The feedback on the New York Times and Washington Post articles asserting the settlement and on Twitter are enlightening. In keeping with these misogynists, girls soccer gamers (and different athletes, significantly within the WNBA and tennis) don’t deserve equal pay as a result of:

  1. they’re biologically inferior, and subsequently their video games are inferior to the boys’s; and
  2. the boys, who’re biologically higher athletes, generate extra income as a result of they’re extra thrilling to look at and subsequently that income ought to stick with them.

Equal Pay for Unequal Work?

One reader from New Jersey summed it up, “Equal pay for unequal talents. Appears equitable.” One other added, “That’s completely unfair to the boys. The boys are so a lot better. In that case only one league and I assure you all the ladies’ groups could be on the backside. It’s known as biology.” Marty from Florida astutely identified that since girls play men and women play males, the work is by some means not equal: “I’m all for equal pay for equal work, however the girls’s workforce performs towards girls solely. The boys’s workforce has to play towards males. That isn’t equal work. That could be a double normal.”

The argument that girls’s work in sports activities shouldn’t be equal work was widespread. One individual made the connection to a bigger misogyny obvious:

“It’s not about equal pay for equal work. It’s equal pay for women and men, it doesn’t matter what they really produce. Girls don’t must compete straight with males on the identical area, they simply must be higher than different girls. I believe the identical precept is desired for all fields, drugs, legislation, engineering, the very best girls ought to get the identical pay as the very best males, even when they aren’t in a position to do the job as effectively, they simply must be higher than different girls. 

“Preserve that in thoughts the following time you rent a girl.”

Various folks outraged by the very suggestion that girls athletes could be deserving of equal pay have pointed to a extensively misreported supposed loss by the USWNT to an under-15 boys academy workforce. Merlin from Atlanta put it this manner:

“Take a look at these info. US Soccer Girls’s workforce have been defeated by a workforce of 15 yr previous highschool boys from Texas. Choose any workforce of males’s Faculty soccer and they’ll most likely defeat US Girls’s workforce. We are able to take pleasure in girls’s sports activities, however the rigor shouldn’t be the identical as males’s competitors.”

What Merlin and others don’t appear to know is that the “match” between the USWNT and the boys was a scrimmage that’s a typical a part of soccer academy improvement applications. It was an off-the-cuff follow to present younger gamers a chance to take the pitch with professionals and study from them.

Many tweeters took to social media to reiterate Merlin’s final level: Girls athletes don’t generate as a lot income as males and subsequently shouldn’t be paid as a lot. “They take from males’s winnings,” one tweeted.

Not so quick, Twitterverse.

The truth is that, following their World Cup victory in 2015, the USWNT did generate slightly more income than the USMNT over the following three years, as reported by the less-than-feminist Wall Road Journal.

We even have to take a look at why girls’s sports activities don’t generate as a lot income as the boys’s—and, no, Merlin, it’s not just because the boys are higher. The boys who run the world of sports activities set girls’s sports activities up.

Networks don’t televise girls’s sports activities and argue folks don’t watch. However, shock, shock, televise girls athletes, and people do tune in. And when folks tune in, main sponsors line as much as purchase promoting and generate income—Disney, Apple, AT&T and Normal Motors, to call just some.

And, because the Washington Publish columnist Sally Jenkins argues, the NCAA’s therapy of ladies athletes is a “shell sport.” Till this yr, the ladies couldn’t name their match “March Insanity” and so missed out on the inevitable income technology that moniker permits. Then the NCAA makes use of an completely opaque bookkeeping course of that obscures how a lot girls athletes actually do generate.

So, no, Merlin, it’s actually not a matter of males being higher athletes. It’s about males believing males are higher athletes—then conspiring to make it so.

Stealing from the Males

This sense that the ladies have been stealing males’s hard-earned revenue was additionally a standard chorus. Various folks argued that the boys have been now “subsidizing” the ladies. As soon as commenter known as the settlement “financial welfare in sports activities.” One other known as it a “gender tax” and one other “extortion.”

Another person tweeted, “The boys’s workforce is carrying the ladies’s workforce similar to with the NBA….what a joke” One other tweeted: “Congrats now you’re a charity that takes from the mens earnings.” And one other commented, “The XYs are subsidizing the XXs. Closely. Is that what girls need?”

Marcy from Texas made this case: “This was a really poor judgment by a choose who appears to have been swayed by woke ideology and never motive. This gained’t be the tip of this.”

So right here’s the deal. FIFA, world soccer’s governing physique, has a considerably greater pool of prize cash for the boys’s World Cup than for the ladies’s. In the last World Cup, the USWNT earned $4 million, whereas the winner of the boys’s championship (France) bought $38 million. For 2023, FIFA has mentioned it might double the ladies’s pool, however even when the U.S. girls win they’ll get $7 million whereas the USMNT will get $13 million if they simply make it to the spherical of 16.

That gained’t matter now as a result of the 2 groups will pool their World Cup prize winnings and cut up them equally. Which may appear like a nasty deal for the boys—however, in 2018 when the boys did not make the match, they might have shared within the girls’s earnings from their 2019 championship.

Egocentric, Bullies and Liars

Not surprisingly, these girls who advocated for themselves are being branded as “egocentric,” “bullies” and “liars,” as are most girls who demand equal pay. One observer tweeted, “I don’t just like the angle of those girls. They arrive off as having been egocentric spoiled kids, who at the moment are egocentric spoiled adults.”

One other declared, “I finished watching these egocentric gamers the second they disrespected the identify on the entrance of their jerseys. I root towards you now. I really hope you by no means win one other match.”

One other frequent chorus was to name the the victorious gamers “bullies.” An observer from Kansas Metropolis wrote, “I can barely comprehend this as an consequence to this entire absurd state of affairs. I’d love to listen to the complete particulars of how the U.S. Males’s workforce was strong-armed into giving up revenue to ‘resolve’ this case.” One tweeter defined, “Congrats on bullying your manner into cash you aren’t taking part in for.”

The notion that girls demanding equal pay is ‘whining’ was one other frequent theme throughout the responses. One commenter requested, “Will the feminine soccer gamers cease whining now?” One other argued, “The world runs on cash, not whining. It seems for those who whine lengthy sufficient, you may get your manner.”

And this gem provides an analogy: “Ever hear the one concerning the whiny girlfriend who gained’t cease complaining, so the boyfriend lastly provides her his bank card and tells her to go to the mall, in order that he can have some peace and quiet?”

Different observers advised the ladies had lied about their earlier contract offers: “WNT misrepresented the monetary particulars all through this complete course of. For those who truly do the mathematics, there was equal pay all alongside. I gained’t have an interest within the WNT anytime quickly.”

One other advised the USWNT lied to safe the boys’s cash in a return to the economics of ladies’s dependency on males: “4 years of lies …Nice lesson for ladies, can’t show your value, latch on to a person for a handout..pre 1960’s logic.”

Different commenters advised that the ladies ought to be extra involved about representing their nation on the USWNT than their pay. They didn’t increase the identical concern concerning the males. In response to a tweet by a USWNT soccer participant saying she’d cheer a little bit louder for the USMNT now, one tweeter wrote, “So that they didnt cheer once they scored earlier than ? Wow anti Individuals representing this nation makes me sick! All they cared about was cash and never the love for his or her nation!”

And, in fact, the misogyny wouldn’t be full with no little homophobia thrown in for good measure: “Sucks in case you are an MLS participant not making a lot and also you make the world cup squad and at last earn a giant payday and have to present it to the lesbians.”

Sure, the poor MLS gamers. Their 2022 common base wage is a mere $438,728. For NWSL gamers, the minimum salary is $25,000, and the utmost is $75,000. Did I point out that the top men’s player has a base wage of $7.35 million with assured compensation of $8.153 million?

The equal pay settlement solely applies to the nationwide groups, to not MLS and NWSL groups. It’s on prime of normal salaries.

After all, each girl who has ever stood up for herself is aware of what all of this looks like. As I inform my college students: Inevitably, for those who converse up on girls’s points, you’ll be known as a lesbian—and, for those who haven’t but been known as a lesbian, you’re not working exhausting sufficient.

Sacrificing Males

Whereas the ladies are vilified for demanding equal pay, the boys are valorized for agreeing to it.

Not surprisingly, many observers, together with those that help the deal, reward the boys for his or her unselfishness and sacrifice, as in the event that they get nothing out of the deal and as if merely doing the suitable factor is by some means a noble and gracious act of largess. As one tweeter (who clearly doesn’t used spell-check) wrote, “Huge respect to usmnt for the scarifice [sic] in order that these girls receives a commission.” A commenter wrote, “Very beneficiant of the boys to surrender cash to the ladies.”

Many times, commenters positioned males as losers within the settlement, as if girls’s progress solely comes on the expense of males. Whereas the ladies are vilified for demanding equal pay, the boys are valorized for agreeing to it.

It’s not as if the boys have walked away from the take care of nothing. Within the U.S., the USWNT is vastly extra well-known and well-liked than the USMNT, and so the boys stand to achieve from the ladies’s alliance as the ladies can carry new followers and new income to the boys.

In a few weeks after we’ve seen the probably overturning of Roe v. Wade, the cover-up of the sex abuse scandal among Southern Baptists, and two mass shootings by younger males, debate over girls’s soccer might seem to be small potatoes. But, the misogynistic messages clarify that each one of those occasions are of a chunk—all of them abundantly underscore the present second’s backlash towards feminist progress. Whether or not the problem is equal pay, reproductive justice, freedom from sexual violence, or security within the grocery retailer, college or home of worship, girls throughout our variations are dealing with renewed assault.

Sign and share Ms.’s relaunched “We Have Had Abortions” petition—whether or not you your self have had an abortion, or just stand in solidarity with those that have—to let the Supreme Courtroom, Congress and the White Home know: We is not going to surrender the suitable to secure, authorized, accessible abortion.

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