What to do about the World Cup pay gap?
There was quite an outcry from feminists in and out of the media when it was learned that the U.S. Women’s Soccer team took home $2 million in prize money last month, while the German men’s team won $35 million in last year’s World Cup and the American team that didn’t make it out of the round of 16 made $8 million.
Of course, there was a politician ready to show his ignorance on the subject and pander to his voters.
Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont passed a resolution urging soccer’s corrupt organizing body, FIFA, to immediately end the pay inequities.
Anybody with a brain should know that the only way to get equal pay for the women would be to pass an international law requiring people to watch the Women’s World Cup.
The ratings for the U.S Women’s games in the USA were through the roof – the highest metered record ever for a soccer game on a single network, but, world-wide, they were 1/10 of what the Men’s games drew.
The Men’s World Cup in 2010 produced $3.7 billion in revenue. The 2011 Women’s World Cup generated $73 million.
Is this complicated?
It’s not sexism or the grass ceiling.
Shane Ferro of Business Insider is not buying it: “Most of us have been socialized to accept men’s sports as dominate and somehow more interesting.”
“The problem is that once society has internalized this falsehood – and let’s face it, it’s a falsehood that’s millennia in the making – it’s not so easy to correct.”
She’s right. It has been millennia in the making.
You know why?
Because men invented sports.
Golf was invented over in Scotland, where the Women’s Open Championship is taking place this weekend.
About 600 years ago, a bunch of guys, on the spot where the Men’s Open Championship was played two weeks ago – Old Course at St. Andrews in Fife Scotland – started it all.
They were bored shepherds in the field, who thought it would be fun try to hit round stones into rabbit holes using their wooden staffs.
For hundreds of years, women, who have always had more common sense than men, couldn’t imagine doing anything so stupid.
What are the chances that a woman came up with the idea that feeding Christians to the lions would be a nice way to spend a summer evening?
I’m not an anthropologist but there must be a good explanation for why every sport was invented by a man and, despite the fact that both genders have been on the planet for the same amount of time, women only became really interested in playing them pretty recently.
Where have you been, ladies?
Six hundred years ago, the shepherds’ wives thought their husbands were idiots for spending their time knocking rocks into rabbit holes and, you know what? They were right.
Who knew it would evolve into an activity that would be played, not mention watched, by millions of people?
Most sports, when reduced to their essence are pretty stupid.
What about two men standing toe-to-toe trying to punch each other unconscious?
How about 22 men running into each other trying to prevent someone from advancing a pig’s bladder across a line drawn in the dirt?
These sports were invented by men, not because they’re superior to women. Quite the opposite.
Women had better, more important things to do.
Now, more and more women are demanding that men be as interested in watching women play the ridiculous games that they invented as they are in watching other men.
With all due respect to Ms. Ferro, we haven’t been socialized to believe men’s sports are more interesting. They just are. Not always. But most of the time. Especially to men.
And instead of being offended by the long history of male dominance in sports, maybe women should take pride in the fact that, throughout the millennia, they have found better things to do with their time.
And remember, it was a man, Genghis Kahn, who thought that polo would be more fun if they used human heads instead of a ball.
Pittsburgh ex-TV sportscaster, columnist and talk show host John Steigerwald is the author of the Pittsburgh sports memoir, “Just Watch The Game.” Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast at pittsburghpodcastnetwork.com