What exactly do we have to do for you to watch women’s soccer?

According to three members of France’s womens’ soccer team, Gaetine Thiney, Elodie Thomis and Corine Franco, it’s probably–show up naked. In a risky move, all three players posed nude for a German magazine to generate some discussion around why people aren’t as interested as they should be in women’s soccer. The image, while so obviously sexual, is made interesting with the caption, “Is this how we should show up before you come to our games?”

Most people are missing the point, arguing that these women are using sex to garner more viewership. And while on one level that might be true, it is really the controversy around using the image that is being used for more attention–a decidedly political move. These women are directly interrogating the reality that you have to use sex to get men interested in women’s, well, anything. (In contrast, a few members of the German women’s soccer team have posed for Playboy, but without the accompanying commentary).

This, to me, is a smart media moment. They are directly challenging the sad, but often true, media conditions wherein women aren’t paid attention to in an entertainment capacity unless they are sex objects. And while enthusiasm is building around women’s soccer, we’ve got a long way to go before it is a respected household tradition the same way men’s soccer or other sports might be (at least in the US, since we know soccer is only for for-ay-ners.)


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