July 15th, 2015
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Everywhere I go, people are talking trash about Sydney Leroux’s fake eyelashes. To be fair, I’ve been in Canada, where she’s particularly reviled. I get it, she turned her back on you, Canada. You’re hurt. But through the pain, I beg you, do not bring her eyelashes into this. Because let’s be real: those eyelashes are amazing.
Female soccer players have long balanced their athleticism and femininity. And at least in the United States, they’ve long balanced it the same way, with a ponytail and a pink headband. Or some variation thereof. (An aside: I was at a bar watching the USWNT beat Colombia on Monday, and two different men asked me what the pink headbands were made of. It’s pre-wrap, guys). In the eyes of many, anyone who does too much more or too much less is doing it wrong; Leroux, with her long fake lashes, is doing it particularly wrong. Obviously, this is bullshit.
The critique is clear enough: makeup is for girly girls, and Leroux can’t possibly be a “serious” athlete in those lashes! She must not be thinking enough about soccer. She must be too preoccupied with her looks. And so she must—in essence—knock this shit off and comport herself exactly as she’s told. It’s retrograde policing of a woman’s body and her femininity disguised as fandom. It’s not recognizably different from Stephen A. wondering whether if women just don’t want to mess their hair up. But why the tentacles of annoying gender norms are sliding into modern women’s soccer is far more complicated than a gesticulating TV chauvinist farting into a microphone, and it’s becoming more so as the women’s game gains momentum.