Double Standard in Sports? Alisha Lehmann defended for wearing makeup while playing football, with comparisons made to Cristiano Ronaldo and Beckham’s fancy hairstyles:
Aston Villa and Switzerland footballer Alisha Lehmann was recently criticized on social media for wearing makeup during matches. Some commenters felt that wearing cosmetics was inappropriate for a professional athlete. However, TV presenter Vicki Blomme defended Lehmann’s choice, comparing her use of makeup to male players who carefully style their hair, like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Blomme said that makeup can make players feel confident and strong, just like an eye-catching haircut. She noted that Beckham became a style icon thanks to his bold hairstyles, which sometimes drew criticism too. Lehmann’s makeup and Ronaldo’s hair are forms of personal expression that don’t take away from their football skills.
The criticism of Lehmann shows a double standard, as fancy hairstyles on male players are not policed in the same way. Blomme argues there is nothing wrong with Lehmann playing football with makeup – women should be able to express themselves how they want.
Women are often judged and criticized for what they wear and how they present themselves. Numerous professional female athletes have faced criticism and penalties for wearing clothing that is comfortable but deemed inappropriate or sexy. According to a report by the Women’s Sports Foundation, sexist and negative commentary on female athletes’ bodies can discourage girls from getting involved in sports.
Lehmann is an accomplished football player who currently plays professionally for Aston Villa in the FA Women’s Super League. She represented Switzerland in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup at age 19.
Switzerland had a bad start in the 2023 Women’s World Cup, winning only 1 game out of four, Switzerland eliminated by Spain in shameful 5-1 at round 16, Lehmann was not in a starting eleven.
She will likely be a key player for her country in future major tournaments. Despite her young age, she already has over 30 caps for the Swiss national team.
In responding to the criticism about her makeup, Lehmann stressed the importance of women supporting each other. She said, “I really think that women should empower and support each other” (via Her Football Hub). Vicki Blomme agreed this sentiment about the need for women to unite against sexist double standards.
Lehmann continues to impress on the pitch for Aston Villa and Switzerland. She will face West Ham United on November 19 in the WSL, while Ronaldo’s Portugal will take on Iceland on 20 november as he pursues the all-time international goals record. Lehmann and other female footballers will likely continue facing scrutiny about their self-expression, but many hope the focus will shift more to their talents, leadership and accomplishments as athletes.