Women’s World Cup

Anthropologists discuss football/soccer and culture at The New York Times and CNN:

Beatriz Vélez, former anthropology professor at the Universidad de Antioquia in Medellín, studied the gender dynamics of football in her home city beginning in the 1990s. First, she wrote about the grudging acceptance girls received as token participants in the Football for Peace program, established after the murder of Andrés Escobar in 1994. Interviews betrayed the prejudice that girls face daily as they are pressured, subtly or directly, toward domestic life and ideals of feminine beauty. Boys in the program wanted the field clear of girls so they could play “real football.”

“In almost all Latin American countries,” Vélez writes, “the sovereignty of football among street games and leisure-time or break activities for men is absolute. All types of workers can be seen relaxing with this game.”

Read more at The New York TimesIn Colombia, a Soccer Paradox By JOHN TURNBULL

Referring to Japan’s World Cup victory,

Merry White, a professor of anthropology at Boston University and an expert on Japanese culture, said the women’s performance illustrated some key qualities of Japanese society: hard work and resilience.

“It wasn’t only skills that got them close. … It’s the effort that counts,” White said.

“They believe in will,” she said, showing “when we put our minds to something we can do it.”

Read the rest at CNN: Japan’s character seen in women’s World Cup victory

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