Male Official Says Women’s Soccer Is Popular Because Players Are Prettier Now

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Melanie Leupolz of Germany. Photo: Ding Xu/Xinhua Press/Corbis

If you thought the disparity in attention paid to men’s versus women’s soccer was mainly the result of insufficient investment, old-school sexism, and blatant discrimination, think again. According to the women’s coordinator for the Confederation of Brazilian Football, Marco Aurelio Cunha, the real reason no one watches women’s soccer is that, historically, the female players have just looked too masculine. 

Cunha is optimistic that tides are turning, though. He told The Globe and Mail that he attributes the increased attention paid to this year’s Women’s World Cup to players’ improved beauty routines. “Now the women are getting more beautiful, putting on make-up. They go onto the field in an elegant manner,” he said. “We used to dress the girls as boys. So the team lacked a spirit of elegance, femininity. Now the shorts are a bit shorter, the hairstyles are more done up. It’s not a woman dressed as a man.”  

It’s not the first time soccer officials have suggested that sexier uniforms are the most logical way to increase viewership. Back in 2004, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter recommended that female players “could, for example, have tighter shorts.”