SMALL UPDATE BELOW
So the Health section of today’s Post features a huge photo of an under-16 girls soccer team. I did not need to read the byline to figure out who wrote the accompanying article.
Hot off the discovery that teenage girls like to shop more than teenage boys, LSS’s next project is to document this soccer team’s trip to South Africa. The girls plan to teach the locals the joys of the sport. Somehow this is supposed to prevent people from contracting the HIV. I don’t really get it.
I am all for charity. Even charity which is obviously designed to broaden the soccer team’s horizons instead of actually, you know, really helping anyone. I mean, it would be nice if they wanted to help the poorer parts of DC and Maryland. I’ve been tipped off that they have their own HIV and poverty problems. But, South Africa instead. Fine. Godspeed.
This trip will be good for the Americans and hopefully it will be good for the South Africans. The latter are getting at least a $10,000 donation out of it. My beef with this, and this is should be obvious to anyone who’s been reading this site for an extended period of time, is that Laura Sessions Stepp is a terrible writer.
What happens when they [the soccer team] sit around a fire and talk about self-image and sexuality with girls more open to those conversations than they are? Or when they have to forgo such everyday luxuries as Life cereal, artichokes and dark chocolate for yams, rice and beans?
First and foremost, wasn’t your whole entire thing with Unhooked? That American girls are now way more open about discussing their sexuality? Don’t you remember writing that? Tell me you at least remember your book tour? You made being a 16-year-old girl look like one big uninterrupted blowjob. You learned the terms "tebagging" and, ugh, "eating a roast beef sandwich" from 16-year-old girls. Now they're the shy ones!? Your inconsistencies are as frustrating as your prose, Ms. Stepp.
And how in God’s green Earth did you come up with “Life cereal, artichokes and dark chocolate”? What a weird and distracting sentence. (Editor's Note: Life cereal is really fucking good but why is it more expensive per ounce than other cereals? What fancy ingredient jacks up the price?)
The piece then devolves into a summary of all the wacky sitcom-style culture clashes that the author expects. No cell phones or iPods? Crazy! Baboons? Whoa! How will these girls ever manage!? Oh, that’s right. They’ll mange through the power of soccer.
"I hope we can leave behind the knowledge of how empowering soccer can be," said Joanna Meyer-Glitzenstein, 16, a tough center/midfielder, and one of several girls interviewed in their homes before leaving.
This is especially hilarious because, as the article notes, girls in South Africa don’t even play soccer. That’s a boy sport over there. It’s not like the South African girls don’t know what soccer is. And empowering? My experience with soccer was anything but empowering. It was a constant reminder of my athletic inferiority and general lack of grace.
So, a bunch of wealthy (certainly on a global scale, but probably on a national scale too) girls are going to South Africa to teach poorer girls how to play soccer. The irony of Americans teaching soccer to Africans is duly noted. Somewhere in all of this, everyone learns about HIV. I still don’t get that part, but, whatever. It’s win-win. The only losers are the readers of The Washington Post. We’re going to have deal with LSS waxing poetic on this for the next two weeks. Let's be honest, none of us could really give two shits. That hasn't stopped her before and it won't stop her now. Fantastic.
UPDATE: I didn't notice this at first, but this series is being called "World's United." Let's just say that I'm very wary of that apostrophe. There is no way LSS and/or whatever editor titled this meant "World is United." They mean two worlds. Plural. No apostrophe. It's the fucking title of this two week project and they can't even get that right.
UPDATE #2: OK. Only one link says "World's." The rest say "Worlds." It's one error too many, but Lord knows I've made enough mistakes around these parts to let it slide.