In Argentina Soccer Team is Threatened for Wearing Pink.

Let’s talk about machismo. Argentina might have progressive gender laws, but soccer fans are not happy to see their male team in pink.  This Sunday, the players of historical argentine team Boca Juniors wore pink T-shirts in the field for the first time after controversies over the team’s new color. Ever since it was announced that the second T-shirt of the team for the soccer season would be pink, complaints from fans and negative attention from media has accumulated. Comments on Facebook and twitter mocking the virility of the team, calling it “Barbie Juniors” and “Loca Juniors” also prevailed (loca as in crazy woman). Even Diego Maradona who started off playing for Boca juniors declared in sports newspaper Olé (my translation): “I am against the pink t-shirt. I am sick. How are they going to put a pink t-shirt on us?” and team member Román Riquelme declared he didn’t want to use it.

Last month, the complaints turned to threats. On a wall inside the club where the players train, anonymous team followers left a graffiti message that said (my translation) “Leaders, if we wear the pink one, there is no game. Boca is blue and yellow.” 

Sure there is a chance that fans and followers are stubborn and don’t like changes, but it is important to consider the machismo and underlying homophobia linked to this controversy, which I think is the real issue.

Although Argentina is a country with a female president, approved gay marriage and transgender rights legislations, it remains patriarchal and ruled under the logic of masculinity. In this sense, its progressive laws don’t always match the social structures of the country. 

I grew up in Buenos Aires, where argentine men are educated in the school of machismo and within a “warm, friendly” culture (never knew what that meant except that men get to call you an ortiva, or a whore, when you don’t want to talk to them at a party). There, female bodies are hyper-sexualized, no doesn’t always mean no, sexual harassment laws don’t seem to exist, and date rape generally goes unnoticed because women are still the blame. In this context, the male-female binary is rigid, zero-sum, if I am a guy you are a girl. Argentine feminists and social justice groups still have more groundwork to cover. To this, add the problem of argentine economic depression that prevents capitalistic “success” and causes men to feel threatened if they cannot be the main providers, or economic heroes. And, add the ideals imposed by hegemonic capitalism, which men cannot reach. The result is a man who will get his power, subjectivity, and virility usually at the expense of objectifying women, and mocking at LGBT, or other marginalized groups.

In this south american context where masculinity represents a big part of male identity, a “non-masculine” colored shirt becomes a threat. Now, we have men in the soccer team getting threatened and mocked at by other men because they are not wearing manly enough colors. Another example of internalized machismo inherent in the culture. And the players look so much hotter in pink anyways. 

[Source Pagina 12, Argentina.] 

Image from La Nación, Argentina.  

Carolina is an argentine immigrant who likes to think about feminism intersectionaly and only enjoys soccer when someone makes a goal. Follow my tweets here: https://twitter.com/CarolinaADrake

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