Every individual expresses their uniqueness to the world in different ways. For instance, the way in which many women feel about and see themselves has an impact on the color, design, and style of how they choose to style their hair or appearance. Women who play sports that have historically been male-dominated choose to spread awareness of the fact that females are capable of playing these sports and that their gender doesn't limit their potential. Below are a few female soccer players from the past several years who have made major statements by displaying their femininity on game days.
Despite retiring from club soccer in November 2023 and international soccer in July 2023, Rapinoe left a lasting legacy in women's soccer. Her pink hair from the 2019 Women’s World Cup gained worldwide fame, and her aqua blue hair for the 2023 World Cup was impossible to ignore. Based on the various colors she has worn throughout the years and the style her hair was in, her hair had a significant influence on her professional soccer career in terms of appearance. Her vividly colored hair, stylish haircut, and energetic style of play made her easy to identify on the field when she was playing.
According to Sporting News, “Rapinoe over the years has used her hair to define her individuality and personal style, both on and off the pitch. As relayed to Us Weekly, she also uses the act as a way to wear down stereotypes and challenge the status quo, pushing to feel both strong and beautiful.” Her hair made her feel feminine and confident while not hindering her resilient, competitive play or work ethic. She was able to pull off both while dominating as a woman in her sport and setting a standard for herself and an example for women around the world.
Marta Vieira da Silva:
Marta plays internationally for Brazil as a striker and is well known for the iconic moment when she wore red lipstick at the 2023 Women’s World Cup during the 1-0 victory over Italy and the subsequent match against France.
According to Irish Mirror, in an interview after Brazil's victory over Italy she boldly stated, "I always wear lipstick. Not that colour, but today I said 'I'm going to dare'. I tried it and I think it was good," she said. “The colour is of blood, because we had to leave blood on the pitch. Now I'm going to use it in every game." She explained her stance on wearing makeup, especially a bright and bold red color, not only to show her intense competitive status, but also to represent femininity.
She also mentioned in the same interview, “We are trying to represent women and show how women can play any type of role.” Marta felt beautiful, confident, and self-assured when she wore makeup while playing her favorite sport. She demonstrated that women are capable of being both tough and feminine by playing intensely and feeling comfortable in her own skin and who she is as a woman. She desires recognition and visibility for women who excel in a sport where men have the upper hand.
Shanice van de Sanden:
Along with Marta and Rapinoe, Van de Sanden made a grand impression at the 2023 Women’s World Cup with her leopard print buzz cut. Her renowned leopard print hair style reflected her distinctive personality and intended appearance on the field. Her hair was a work of art, and she radiates confidence and beauty to bring attention to herself while playing and promoting her personal brand both on and off the field. She also wears red lipstick every time she plays.
According to The New York Times, “I will never play any game without my lipstick,” she said. “It’s what makes me feel the most comfortable.” It has become a ritual for her to apply makeup and have her hair done before every game. It is comfortable and makes her feel confident and dominant when playing. It simultaneously showcases her style and enhances her performance.
The women above and countless others who were not mentioned exemplify how expressing your femininity and character doesn't have to undermine your type of play. Playing soccer or any other sport doesn't require you to hide your personality or beauty. You can be proud of who you are and your role as a female athlete while revealing your beauty and playing a sport. It's an amazing gift to be happy with who you are and the sport you play, especially when women like these can continue their legacy and act as role models for future generations.
Edited by: Emma Habel
Content Created by: Rachel Smith