Perception of ‘cute white girls’ helps U.S. women’s soccer: Bird

(Reuters) – Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird believes women’s soccer players in the United States are more widely supported than their counterparts in the WNBA because of the public perception of them as “cute little white girls.”



Sue Bird on a court with a racket: FILE PHOTO: WNBA: Finals-Seattle Storm at Las Vegas Aces


© Reuters/Mary Holt
FILE PHOTO: WNBA: Finals-Seattle Storm at Las Vegas Aces

Point guard Bird, who won her fourth WNBA title this month, said in an interview https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/17/sport/sue-bird-megan-rapinoe-wnba-spt-intl/index.html with CNN that elite basketball players were more quickly judged by people based on their appearance.

“Even though we’re female athletes playing at a high level, our worlds … the soccer world and the basketball world are just totally different,” Bird said.

“To be blunt it’s the demographic of who’s playing. Women’s soccer players generally are cute little white girls while WNBA players, we’re all shapes and sizes… a lot of Black, gay, tall women … there’s maybe an intimidation factor and people are quick to judge it and put it down.”

Bird’s comments reflect those of U.S. women’s soccer skipper Megan Rapinoe, who wrote in a Players’ Tribune column https://www.theplayerstribune.com/articles/megan-rapinoe-seattle-storm-wnba-finals that the national media had to “scan tall and Black and queer” players.

The main problem, according to Bird, is not in the marketing of the WNBA.

“It’s how society and how the outside world is willing to accept the cute girl next door, but not willing to accept, or embrace, or not judge these basketball players who are tall, Black, gay,” she added.

“That … is where the issue is. Where I feel like I’ve learned throughout that process is you have to be who you are. You have to be to be true to who you are and authentic.”

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

Continue Reading

Source Article

Jurong Bird Park’s senior birds retire in style, Environment News & Top Stories

A new exhibit has been created to house some special feathered residents at Jurong Bird Park, said Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS).

Situated next to the Hawk Arena, the new aviary accommodates the park’s pioneer generation of birds that have retired from the Kings of the Skies show.

While they might have left the limelight, the eight birds of prey from six different species will continue to delight and enjoy their retirement under the watchful care of their keepers.

Birds from different species mixing in the aviary is actually good for them, as it stimulates them both physically and mentally, said WRS.

The oldest resident is Rod Stewart, an Egyptian vulture that might be close to 60 years old. Birds of his species have a 21-year life-span in the wild. He now wears a white bib across his chest to prevent him from picking at an old wound.

“By opening the aviary to the public, we hope guests can appreciate these elderly animals and learn how modern zoos care for them,” said Dr Cheng Wen Haur, WRS deputy chief executive and chief life sciences officer.

Just like people, many of these older birds have common age-related ailments, experiencing muscle atrophy and vision loss as well as having to take medication.

Carlos and Jose, two American black vulture siblings, receive daily medicine in their food for arthritis and to keep them active. Otherwise, the 22-year-old brothers are in good physical condition, preferring to perch high up on the aviary.

All animals that have reached 75 per cent of their expected lifespan are placed under a senior animal care plan across WRS’ four wildlife parks.

Without having to fend off predators or diseases, and with access to food and quality healthcare, animals under human care tend to live longer than their counterparts in the wild.

Under WRS’ plan, older animals benefit from customised diet and exercise, as well as more frequent visits from the vets.

They also receive a full health check every six months and are assessed by their keepers and by vets for any health or mobility issues.

The senior animal care plan seeks to slow down the onset of age-related diseases and to ensure the animals continue to enjoy quality life in their twilight years, added Dr Cheng.

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.async=true; js.src = "https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1&appId=263116810509534"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Source Article

Sue Bird backs Megan Rapinoe on contrast between women’s soccer, WNBA

Seattle Storm point guard and 2020 WNBA champion Sue Bird reiterated remarks made by her girlfriend, soccer standout Megan Rapinoe, about why the U.S. women’s soccer team seems to enjoy more public support than the U.S. women’s basketball team and the WNBA in an interview with CNN that aired Saturday.

Bird, speaking to Don Riddell of CNN’s “World Sport,” was asked about Rapinoe’s remarks in an Oct. 5 article in The Players’ Tribune in which she talked about the U.S. women’s soccer team getting broad-based acclaim for the winning the Women’s World Cup in 2019, and contrasted that to less attention paid to women’s basketball. Rapinoe wrote that the perceived demographics of the sports was a primary reason.

Asked by Riddell to summarize that, Bird said, “To be completely blunt, but also kind of simple, soccer players generally are cute little white girls. And I think basketball players, we’re all shapes and sizes.

1 Related

“It’s 70-80% Black women, a lot of gay women. We’re tall; we’re big. And I think there’s just maybe this intimidation factor with that. People are quick to talk about it, judge it, put it down. And soccer, you just don’t see that just based on how they look.”

Bird and the Seattle Storm won the WNBA championship on Oct. 6 in the bubble in Bradenton, Florida. It was Bird’s fourth WNBA title, and she also has four Olympic gold medals. Rapinoe spent the summer in the bubble with Bird. They’ve been a couple since 2016.

Rapinoe wrote in her piece for The Players’ Tribune that the players for the U.S. women’s national team in soccer were perceived as “straight, cute, unthreatening, suburban white girls next door. It’s not actually who we are — the WNT’s racial diversity, though not yet where it needs to be, is improving every year. And, you know, breaking news … I’m gay. But by and large, that’s the perception. And it’s certainly how we’re marketed to a lot of people.”

Riddell asked Bird if the WNBA needed to market itself in a similar fashion to how Rapinoe described soccer’s marketing. Bird, who turned 40 on Friday and has been in the WNBA since 2002, said she was part of a similar “girl-next-door” marketing approach that the league tried several years ago. But she said that does not represent a lot of the league’s personnel. Bird also has spoken in the past about how limiting and restrictive that view of women’s sports is.

“The problem is not the marketing, per se,” Bird told CNN. “The problem is how society and how the outside world is willing to accept the cute girl next door, but not willing to accept, or embrace, or not judge these basketball players who are tall, Black, gay.

“That’s kind of, to

Sue Bird Shows Support for Megan Rapinoe After Comments on Women’s Soccer, WNBA | Bleacher Report

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird, right, poses for a photo with girlfriend Megan Rapinoe after the Storm won basketball's WNBA Championship Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

Seattle Storm point guard Sue Bird backed comments made by her girlfriend, United States women’s soccer captain Megan Rapinoe, regarding her belief as to why women’s soccer receives more public support and adoration than women’s basketball, per ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel.

Rapinoe wrote the following in an Oct. 5 Players’ Tribune piece:

“This country has a deep history of racism, and a deep history of homophobia.

And if you look at the players in the W: Most of them are Black, and a lot of them are gay.

I just think that needs to be said, loud and clear, so there’s no mistaking things. Because, again: I’m so proud of the run that we went on last year at the World Cup—and so damn grateful for the support that we got. And in a lot of ways, I’m OVER THE MOON about how it was seen as this ‘breakthrough’ moment. But I think the conversation around what our team represented tended to be somewhat incomplete.

And what I mean by that is: When it comes to U.S. women’s soccer, the general perception is that—let’s face it—we’re the white girls next door. The straight, ‘cute,’ ‘unthreatening,’ ‘suburban’ white girls next door. It’s not actually who we are—the WNT’s racial diversity, though not yet where it needs to be, is improving every year. And, you know, breaking news….. I’m gay. But by and large, that’s the perception. And it’s certainly how we’re marketed to a lot of people.

Regarding those comments, Bird said the following in part to Don Riddell of CNN’s World Sport, per Voepel.

“It’s 70-80 percent Black women, a lot of gay women. We’re tall; we’re big. And I think there’s just maybe this intimidation factor with that. People are quick to talk about it, judge it, put it down. And soccer, you just don’t see that just based on how they look.”

Bird rejected the notion that marketing was an issue causing the problem.

“The problem is not the marketing, per se. The problem is how society and how the outside world is willing to accept the cute girl next door, but not willing to accept, or embrace, or not judge these basketball players who are tall, Black, gay.”

The women’s World Cup typically captures the nation’s attention in a way that women’s hoops has not despite the latter sport’s incredible success on the international stage and the high quality of play in today’s WNBA.

Per Sports Media Watch, the USWNT vs. Netherlands 2019 Women’s World Cup Final averaged 16.9 million viewers, and that was down from four years ago, when USWNT vs. Japan averaged 26.7 million viewers.

In 2016, NBC’s full telecast window featuring the Olympic women’s gold-medal basketball game between Team USA and France averaged 7.3 million viewers, per Sports Media Watch. Four years earlier, the gold-medal matchup between Team USA and Croatia garnered 11.4 million viewers, per Sports Business Daily.

The WNBA’s popularity is seemingly growing if television