Death, taxes, and the right screeching about Megan Rapinoe.
It’s bad enough for the right that the USWNT’s most recognizable member is a proud lesbian feminist with purple hair, who voluntarily made herself a visible target during the team’s fight for equal pay. Now, Rapinoe has gone and made a joke about there being no God, due to her injuring her Achilles during her career finale and having to exit the game just minutes after it began.
“I’m not a religious person or anything and if there was a God, like, this is proof that there isn’t,” Rapinoe said. “This is f*cked up. It’s just f*cked up. Six minutes in and I yeet my Achilles.”
The sheer horror of an athlete coming to terms with the end of their career making an off-hand joke about God. How will the nation ever recover?
I’m being hyperbolic, but the comments from conservatives, who consider Rapinoe to be right up there with Eve (of Adam and) and Hillary Clinton in the Mount Rushmore of evil women who are destroying the fabric of America.
“In a world full of Megan Rapinoe’s (sic), be a CJ Stroud, one X (formerly Twitter) user wrote, referencing Stroud’s comments about his religion following Sunday’s game. “Megan Rapinoe is mad at God because she’s an UnAmerican (sic) loser who screwed up and is mad at herself? Sounds logical coming from an illogical liberal,” wrote another. “Not only does Megan Rapinoe’s injury prove there IS a God, it also proves he has a sense of humor,” said another.” And my personal favorite, “There’s definitely ‘proof’ that karma exists. Try to kneel now! (American flag emoji) Sorry, I really despise this witch.”
And there are thousands more comments like those.
First off, Rapinoe’s comment was a joke and it’s telling that if you scroll through the tweets of most of the people squawking about it, they have zero problems making jokes about women, the LGBTQ+ community, and people of color, but GOD FORBID you joke about something they care deeply about. That’s heresy. Let’s burn Rapinoe at the stake. (By the way, about three in 10 Americans are now “religiously unaffiliated,” and nearly 10 percent of Americans identify as atheist or agnostic.)
For all she accomplished on the field — an Olympic gold medal, two World Cups, three CONCACAF Women’s Championships, a Presidential Medal of Freedom, and an engagement to Sue Bird, just to highlight a few accomplishments — perhaps Rapinoe’s greatest feat will be what she accomplished off the field. She has advocated for LGBTQ+ rights, equal pay for equal work, holding police responsible for brutality, and reproductive rights — making the conservative right really, really angry in the process. She bothers them so much that even Donald Trump has taken shots at her. Rapinoe’s very existence reduces them to wailing, shrieking banshees. Because nothing is more important to the religious right than making sure women, even the gay ones, stay in their boxes. That’s what the reproductive rights “debate” is about, that’s what the equal pay “debate” is about, that is what the childcare “debate” is about.
Megan Rapinoe does not care what you say about her. It does not bother Megan Rapinoe one bit that you don’t like her or that she offended your delicate sensibilities with her off-the-cuff joke about God. Megan Rapinoe laughs at your upset because she, rightfully, recognizes how dumb it is to get mad about a joke that has absolutely no bearing on anything to do with you.
And while all that is hilarious to watch, here are the real reasons Rapinoe is such a target for the right. Megan Rapinoe will not make herself smaller. Megan Rapinoe will not hide from the light, nor will she be shamed into changing what she believes is right. Megan Rapinoe will not make herself smaller or take up less space. Megan Rapinoe will fight for the America she has been told about, but never been able to live in. Megan Rapinoe will remind you, repeatedly, that the people the right wants to ignore exist and deserve to be treated the same way as everyone else. Megan Rapinoe will not conform to what the right wants her to be. She will not lower her voice. Megan Rapinoe is unapologetically herself.
Speaking as a Gen X woman, I know what it’s like to grow up wearing “Girl Power” t-shirts and being told, “Anything boys can do, girls can do better!” But then you grow up and you realize that much of the world isn’t really on board with that idea. That you’re expected to take your place in the pecking order, not make waves, and not challenge the system that holds you back. Megan Rapinoe is not the first gay woman to stand up for the marginalized, but she is the latest and most visible. And there is something about the combination of being a mouthy woman and a lesbian and so very Megan Rapinoe about it all that just sends the right caterwauling over the edge. It’s my absolute favorite thing about her.
If you don’t already love Megan Rapinoe, trust me — your daughter will.