The final of 2018 World Cup was over, but the hype is still on. As a non-fan of football, I -like anyone else- also want to weigh in to the final of World Cup. Married to a football fan, I have the general knowledge of almost all the match, but not in a detail move by move review (although I suspect that my husband tried to explain it to me while my mind was wandering to somewhere else 😆 ). The final match was a surprise for many people because somehow, all their favourite teams are coming home – sorry England, It is -not- coming home.
France VS Croatia. No one really anticipated this match when the World Cup started, but that was the reality now. Much of unanticipated things are currently happening in this world – yes, I am pointing my finger to you: UK, USA, and also Indonesia! (I am sorry for this emotional finger pointing, but yeah, I was rather saddened because of these things which are happening right now). Back to The Final Match. My husband supported France because he was very happy with their performances led to final and I was a #TeamCroatia, simply because It has a Female President. :))
My attention drew to this final after the match has over and France came as the Winner; although, my husband did admit that Croatian Team played a very good game. The narratives surrounding this match are the reason behind this post. When I stated earlier that I simply support Croatia because of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, it was because I always find my self amazed by female fighter in this patriarchal society. I was eager to find out more about her political career; thus, I googled. Madame President was really playing her card well during this 2018 World Cup: traveled to Moscow with commercial economy flights on her personal expenses, only missed one match of her National Team because of NATO Summit, watched mostly in a non-VIP Stand (source). Despite many people said something about her PR for a re-election campaign, as long as it contributed into the much-needed good stories for the world: I’m buying it. While googling about President Grabar-Kitarović, there are things that unsettled my heart. The first few pages of my google search’s results was shocking, but not surprising, because almost all the news headline stated something like “the beautiful president” in describing her and much of the article started with something like “people want to know her age, because she is so beautiful” or “A sexy president”. Her beauty was indeed something that of extraordinary; nevertheless, that is not something that one will use when describing Emmanuel Macron who was also present at the final match. They just appreciate him being there and being a very supportive President like President Grabar-Kitarović: only, without the sexist compliments.
Some people might think that I am overreacting: these things mean no harm to Madame President, or even a statement like “these are compliments and Madame President could benefit from all these publications.” Benefit from these kind of articles? Oh yeah, She could gain more popularity, which is in fact happen to her after World Cup. The thing unsettled me was the fact that these narratives are considered normal and how deep it would affect girls all over the world. It is okay to compliment someone, but it is not okay to spread message that beautiful face or sexiness are considered to be the most important factor in telling a story about a woman. Reactions from people all around the world to this amazing display of affection from a President to her National Team show how wrong we are in measuring actions perform by Woman. This is not the right thing to do in appreciating a successful woman and objectifying, no matter how subtle, is #neverokay.
Now, about the winning team: France. They are the centre of all the attentions in the after party, since they are a perfect symbol of diversity. France National Football Team has non fewer than 15 athletes whom tied to Africa, and about two-thirds of the team members are descendants of immigrants – or even the immigrant themselves. (Source). The best Young player (not coincidentally also my husband’s favourite player) : Kylian Mbappe, is a moslem boy which parents originated from Africa and grew up in a suburb on the outskirt of Paris – Bondy (Source). Mbappe is a living proof of how amazing an immigrant could be, despite all the stereotypes and discriminating act they have received from many sides.
Immigration became the focus of many governments when they are addressing their national security measures. Immigrants often associated by people to bad things; moreover, almost all threats in many countries appraised to be brought by immigrants. We are such in a low state of trust that people need to remind each other often that there are many great immigrants and that many of the immigrants have bigger contribution then the natives in building their country. This is not something we should discussed after a World Cup match, but this is our reality recently: even a sport event could spark big discussion of humanity in the universe.
Between the objectifying of women and better immigration policy around the world, which one is more pressing matter at this moment? Yes, we could not prioritise one above another. It is equally terrifying to realise that we are living in a world where some people lose their privilege only by being born to this world. We are terrified of things that we have no knowledge of, and we treat someone that is different from us as an outsider and keep a primitive way in handling these differences: Us vs Them. We treat them different. We perceived their action and intention differently. Nothing good will come if we keep discriminating each other.
Discrimination is a sole problem of many trouble: discrimination against women, discrimination against immigrants, discrimination against anything that is different from “The biased-normal standard of our society”. Stereotype plays a big part in inducing the discrimination: therefore, we need to start talking to each other to excise society-embed stereotypes. We need to share a positive spin of this event so that the narrative will grow into something useful: understanding each other.