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The US Women's Soccer Team Is Still Getting Ripped Off By Sexism

The US Women's Soccer Team Is Still Getting Ripped Off By Sexism

The US Women's Soccer Team Is Still Getting Ripped Off By Sexism

This isn't even a matter of equal pay for equal work because the women are doing MORE work.

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The world gets uncharacteristically excited and patriotic when the Olympics come around. Sports we never care about suddenly become the center of our universe and athletes we'd never heard of before, become our greatest idols. Some people might even say the Olympics brings people together. I question how emotionally genuine and deep a connection built on a set of games that destroy countries with increased debt, displacement, and sex trafficking, could be, but they're fun to watch, so none of that matters. Back on topic, what the casual viewer tends to miss or ignore is that the Olympics do little to erase the sexism that plagues female-identifying people and athletes alike every day.

By no means should it be news to people that the sports world has a gargantuan sexism problem. All over the world, women are fighting for equal pay for equal work, but in sports, women don't even get paid equally for doing MORE work. Can you name any of the U.S. male soccer players without Googling them? I'll wait.

If you're one of the people who can name them, I'll take this challenge one step further and ask you what they've ever won? Again, I'll wait. In the meantime, I have an important receipt. "While the United States women’s soccer team sits just three games from a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal, the American men’s squad is nowhere to be seen in Rio." I mean, you can talk about maybes and what ifs but the fact is that the men weren't even qualified to participate.

Now, given all that you'd think the women would be paid as much or more than the men for representing us so impressively throughout the years, because unlike the men's team, the women's team delivers results and not promises and excuses. However, that's far from the illogical, sexist truth. It's far worse than you probably think.

In an interview with Mother Jones, Hope Solo, the goalkeeper for the US Women's National Soccer team, explained the disgusting reality, "We got a $1.8 million dollar bonus for winning the World Cup, and we had to disburse it among the 23 players. And then we piece out some bonuses for our support staff who don’t get paid a whole bunch. The men, for losing, got $8 million to share among the players, and they also received millions of dollars for every point they won in the World Cup. We got paid nothing per point in group play. We got paid nothing for making it into the knockout round. We basically didn't get a bonus until we won the entire thing, which is incredibly difficult, and that bonus was quite a bit less than what the men got.”

There are logistics and systems in soccer that are really complicated and involved, but honestly, none of that matters. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen faster than it is now, because what sense does it make to pay losers more than you pay winners?

The sexism in sports and the Olympics is not exclusive to our women's soccer team, nor is it just in how much or little they're paid. Sexism in the Olympics is a man being called 'The one responsible,' when his wife shatters world records and wins gold in swimming as if he created her in a lab somewhere. In nearly the same vein, sexism in the Olympics is also when a woman's husband being named when SHE wins.

All in all, the Olympics serves pretty much more of the same. Sexism, racism, and all the isms that plague everyday life. The glamor, the lights, the energy, none of it erases the realities that people ignore for false peace and equity. I'm not trying to ruin the Olympics for anyone, but if the world is your audience, what better space is there to make a stand for gender equity, among other things?

Whether people acknowledge it or not, these problems exist. The Olympics will end and these problems will continue as they have since the beginning of time. But please, don't feel entitled to your anger when brave people speak up loudly, in lieu of a collective humanity that values everyone equally, and within which we all speak up a little so no one has to fight alone.

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Buffy Flores

Aries/Taurus cusp, Latinx, vegan, femme person, and the biggest Buffy fan you know. Now writing for Bustle, PRIDE, Everyday Feminism, and The Rumpus. Passionate, deeply feeling, sometimes angry, mostly emotional. Wants to make people feel less lonely in the world. Follow them on Twitter @buffyonabudget.

Aries/Taurus cusp, Latinx, vegan, femme person, and the biggest Buffy fan you know. Now writing for Bustle, PRIDE, Everyday Feminism, and The Rumpus. Passionate, deeply feeling, sometimes angry, mostly emotional. Wants to make people feel less lonely in the world. Follow them on Twitter @buffyonabudget.