On Sunday, the U.S. beat Japan 5-2 in the final World Cup game in Vancouver, British Columbia in their third World Cup win (that's three more than the U.S. men's team, just FYI). The U.S. was led by Carli Lloyd, who scored three goals in the game. It's no secret that men's sports gain more attention than women's, but this latest victory makes clear that soccer is no longer a male players' game — if, really, it ever was.
When it comes to women's sports, sexism is inescapable. Just a few weeks ago, Sports Illustrated analyst Andy Benoit tweeted that women's sports are "not worth watching," according to NPR. Think Progress points out that FIFA is paying the U.S. women's team $2 million for their victory... and the men's team got $8 million for losing in the first round. In fact, the men's team has never even won a world cup.
Many sports fans think that women aren't tough, but wait... have you ever watched men's soccer? If you're a newbie, you'll notice that it seems like there's a lot of painful injuries in men's soccer. All that falling on the ground! But if you look a little closer, it's pretty clear that the men are being over dramatic. It's common in men's soccer to fall over at the slightest touch and roll around on the ground as if on the verge of death... and just a few minutes later miraculously resurrect and keep playing energetically.
The real difference between men's and women's sports? This tweet says it pretty perfectly.
This strategy, sometimes called "diving" or "flopping," is used in hopes of getting a foul. Cristiano Ronaldo, the player in the tweet's video, is notorious for doing this. But wait... I thought that women were the over-dramatic frilly ones? What about those spinning women in tampon commercials?
This hilarious Vine sums that one up.
You almost never see this in women's soccer. While men roll on the ground "in pain," female athletes tough it out. Case in point? In June, a video of Australian rugby player Georgia Page playing through the game with a bloody nose went viral. Nicknamed "Rugby War Goddess," this is an inspiration to female athletes.
The U.S. women's coach Jill Ellis told USA Today, "You do see it at times, but it's not prevalent. It is done in the men's game to manipulate and gain an advantage, and we are more about trying to do that in the flow of the game and less in the simulation."
Need some data to back that up? In 2011, The New York Times reported that Wake Forest University studied the "flopping" phenomenon. Dr. Daryl Rosenbaum, leader of the study, said, “We can say that men writhe on the ground looking like they’re injured more than women, almost twice as often."
The researchers didn't come to a conclusion about why men "dive" more, but retired female professional soccer player Brandi Chastain has an idea: “They [women] didn’t like cheating. They wanted to play straight up — you give your best, I give my best and the best effort will win.”
As if you needed more reasons to love the U.S. women's world cup team, they are badass and don't cheat.