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The US World Cup team is loudly, proudly claiming the applause women deserve | Arwa Mahdawi


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The USWNT are the heroes America needs

Help! I think I have lost my girlfriend to the US women’s soccer team. She can’t get enough of the World Cup champions and has spent the past week glued to their Instagram feeds. If she could run off and marry Ashlyn Harris I think she would.

My partner isn’t the only one crushing on the soccer stars; the USWNT are currently the darlings of America. And for very good reason: the women aren’t just sports stars, they’re rock stars. They’re fighting for equal pay; they’re using their platforms to speak up about inequality and stand up to Donald Trump; they’re raising the profile of women’s sports. And they’re doing it all while being loudly, proudly and unapologetically themselves.

While I’ll admit that I’m still a little miffed that the US beat England, watching the USWNT team celebrate this week has been magical. It’s been a dose of unadulterated joy at a time when things are looking increasingly grim. And it’s been a reminder of all that is best about the United States. “We have pink hair and purple hair,” Megan Rapinoe said at Wednesday’s parade in New York. “We have tattoos and dreadlocks. We’ve got white girls and black girls and everything in between. Straight girls and gay girls.” The USWNT is a true reflection of a diverse America, and that’s why they’re champions.

There’s been a lot of talk about the power of female rage recently. Watching the US team celebrate, however, has been a reminder of the power of female joy. Women are supposed to keep ourselves small; Megan Rapinoe’s power-pose unapologetically takes up space. It’s not just an acknowledgment of victory, it’s an expression of defiance. It says: I deserve to be here, I deserve admiration, I deserve applause.

Women are supposed to be quiet about their achievements. The USWNT have been raucously celebrating all week. Celebrating yourself in a world which tells you you’re worth less than men, that you don’t deserve the same acknowledgment as men, is an act of resistance.

There’s nothing some people hate more than seeing women enjoy themselves; particularly if there aren’t any men involved. That’s one of the reasons conservatives had a meltdown about that video of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dancing earlier this year. And it’s why insecure conservative men are currently frothing at the mouth about the USWNT. Ben Shapiro, for example, thinks Rapinoe is only getting $1m contracts because she is a “a very outspoken lesbian”. The Daily Wire, a rightwing media outlet, opined that they are “very hard to like” – which is code for “very hard to control”. Trump, meanwhile, seems to have finally run out of insults for Rapinoe and the team. Perhaps he’s finally realized they’ve got more balls than he’ll ever have.

Vytautas Kirkliauskas of Lithuania carries his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene, as they compete during the Wife Carrying World Championships in Sonkajarvi, Finland on 6 July 2019.

Vytautas Kirkliauskas of Lithuania carries his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene, as they compete during the Wife Carrying World Championships in Sonkajarvi, Finland on 6 July 2019. Photograph: Reuters

World Wife-Carrying Championship winners

In other sports news, a Lithuanian couple have won the World Wife-Carrying Championship. First place prize is the wife’s weight in beer.

R Kelly has been arrested again

I have actually lost track of how many times this man has been arrested. Maybe they should stop letting him out? The musician and creep is now facing two sets of federal sex abuse charges after being arrested on Thursday night.

Acosta resigns over Epstein scandal

The US labor secretary has stepped down after criticism of the way he handled Jeffrey Epstein’s 2008 plea deal. Let’s hope he is the first of many powerful people to be taken down for ignoring and enabling Epstein’s crimes.

Saudi Arabia could be relaxing guardianship laws

On Thursday the Wall Street Journal reported that Saudi Arabia is planning to lift travel restrictions for women over the age of 18. While this is great news, I wouldn’t get too excited. The kingdom made a big song and dance about letting women drive last year – at the same time, of course, it was locking up activists who had been campaigning for that right. Many of those female activists are still in jail. As a legal officer at the Gulf-focused legal advocacy NGO MENA Rights Group told the Guardian, this new report “must not be used as an excuse to ease international pressure on Saudi Arabia”.

Breastmilk Facebook groups

Women are selling or donating their breast milk on Facebook, according to USA Today. Experts aren’t entirely thrilled about this trend because of the possibility of contamination. One 2015 study found 10% of breast milk purchased online had been mixed with cow’s milk.

Stalkerware apps and digital abuse

“The domestic-violence charity Refuge estimates that around 95% of its cases involve some form of technology-based abuse,” MIT Technology Review reports. This might involve obsessively tracking a partner using a feature like Find My Friends or stealthily installing “stalkerware” apps that give an abuser access to everything on their victims’ devices.

One Million Moms need to get a life

The conservative group One Million Moms is calling for a boycott of Toy Story 4. Why? Well because there is a scene in which two women are seen dropping a kid off at school. “The scene is subtle in order … to desensitize children,” One Million Moms wrote on its website. Imagine caring more about two loving mothers in a cartoon than the fact that America is ripping kids away from their parents.

Content provided by The Guardian. Original piece can be found here

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