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The Women’s World Cup is about more than soccer – The Atlantic

A short guide to help you get into the game
Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET on July 23, 2023
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The FIFA Women’s World Cup is about more than just soccer. Here’s a guide to getting into the game.
First, here are three Sunday reads from The Atlantic:
A Women’s World Cup Guide
I’m not a crier. I didn’t cry watching The Notebook, and even the saddest episodes of my longtime favorite show, Grey’s Anatomy, usually only leave me slightly welling up. But every time I read or listen to something about a player’s journey to the 2023 Women’s World Cup, I absolutely lose it. I’ve never played a game of soccer, but I’ve been following the women’s game since 2015. There’s something about the journey of these women and these teams that transcends sport.
This year’s tournament kicked off on Thursday, with New Zealand’s women’s national team securing their first-ever win in a World Cup game in front of a home crowd of more than 42,000—record attendance for a soccer match, men’s or women’s, in the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. Women’s National Team is facing tough competition as it looks for its third consecutive title. They secured a win against Vietnam in their first match on Friday.
Even if you don’t typically keep up with women’s soccer—or soccer at all—below are three reasons you should pay attention to the games.
Below are a few recommendations for what to watch and listen to if you want to further explore the world of women’s soccer.
Snacks: This podcast from Just Women’s Sports is hosted by Lynn Williams, who is making her World Cup debut on the U.S. team this year, and her friend, the former World Cup champion Sam Mewis. In casual conversations, the two women break down happenings in the National Women’s Soccer League and in the game around the world.
I’d suggest you start with the most recent episode. It features Ali Riley, the American-born captain of the New Zealand women’s national team, who talks about playing host to the World Cup, and discusses how many women’s teams across the globe lack the training and resources provided to the U.S. team.
Angel City: This three-part docuseries, streaming on Max, takes viewers through the founding of the National Women’s Soccer League’s first majority-women-owned team. With its inaugural 2022 season, Angel City FC set out to do things differently, prioritizing community engagement, drawing big crowds, and giving players a cut of ticket sales. The team succeeded in some ways but not in others: They didn’t make the playoffs last year, and after a rocky start to their second season, they fired their coach. The documentary also gives you a look at some of the players you’ll see at the World Cup this year, including Japan’s Jun Endo, Canada’s Vanessa Gilles, and New Zealand’s Ali Riley.
And, of course, the matches themselves. Here are a few to look out for in the group stage of play:
USA–Netherlands, (July 26, 9 p.m. ET), England–Denmark (July 28, 4:30 a.m. ET), France–Brazil (July 29, 6 a.m. ET), Japan–Spain (July 31, 3 a.m. ET)
In the U.S., the matches will air on Fox. You can also stream the matches on the Fox Sports App and on YouTube TV. Telemundo and Peacock are providing Spanish-language coverage.
The Week Ahead
Essay
Porn Set Women Up From the Start
By Sophie Gilbert
Late last year, when the streaming platform formerly known as HBO Max announced the abrupt cancellation of Minx a week before Season 2 finished filming, the news struck me as grimly ironic. Minx, created by Ellen Rapoport, is a buoyant, ’70s-set comedy about the first feminist porn magazine, loosely based on the real-life publications Playgirl and Viva. It’s a sweet, funny, shrewd show that also features plenty of full-frontal male nudity. The effect is hard to categorize; Minx isn’t “raunchy” or “smutty” or “filthy” or even “risqué.” Unlike Euphoria or The Idol, it’s not interested in hollow provocation. And the penises that proliferate on-screen aren’t there to titillate, exactly, although a montage in the first episode brings to mind what the French film theorist Jean-Louis Comolli once described as “the frenzy of the visible.” If anything, the show’s insistent focus on male nudity feels impertinent, as though we’re all participating in a ritual desanctification of dicks. The show’s clever inversion of subject and object makes erotica seem faintly absurd: Here are men’s bodies exposed for us to look at. …
Sexual representation, for women, particularly straight women, has always been a bind—our desires are often informed by the same chauvinistic terrain we’re trying to transcend. Both Minx and Viva make one thing clear: Men have set the parameters of porn since the beginning.
Read the full article.
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Photo Album
Mountainside art in Switzerland, a moon-bound rocket launch in India, and more in our editor’s selection of the week’s best photos.
P.S.
U.S. Soccer actually oversees 27 National Teams, including Extended National Teams with adapted rules of play, such as Deaf Soccer, CP (Para) Soccer, and Power Soccer (electric wheelchair) teams. As I mentioned above, I don’t play soccer, but I am a para athlete, and I know firsthand that many para competitors receive a fraction of the attention (and funding) given to able-bodied competitors. Para sports might look different, but it’s athleticism all the same. Some of these extension teams are new, and it will take time for us to fully integrate para athletes into the lexicon of our sporting culture. The first step is knowing they exist; the second is choosing to pay attention.
— Kate
Katherine Hu and Kelsey Waite contributed to this newsletter.
This article has been updated to clarify that Angel City FC was the first majority-women-owned team in the National Women’s Soccer League, not the first majority-women-owned major professional sports team in the U.S.

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