The difference between Megan Rapinoe and Kim Kardashian

Lifestyle Sport Uncategorized

This week, two American women in their thirties, both with legions of impressionable, mostly female fans have been using their respective platforms to push very different messages.

You will have heard of Kim Kardashian.

You might not have heard of Megan Rapinoe before the Women’s World Cup began but, chances are, you have now.

The 33-year-old Californian has been playing at the top level for more than a decade but has undoubtedly been the breakout star of this tournament.

As much for her social activism and outspoken nature as her athletic brilliance, although she has played her part on the pitch, too, captaining reigning champions and favourites, the USA.

With a shock of short lavender coloured hair Rapinoe stands out and means to.

The message she is spreading is as powerful and deliberate as the two goals she scored to knock out hosts France in the quarter-finals and set up a semi-final against England.

In celebration, she sprinted to the corner flag and held her arms outstretched, head tilted to the stands and expression defiant.

Rapinoe gave an interview to an American magazine and was asked if she would celebrate at the Oval Office should her team win the World Cup this year.

Rapinoe responded: “I’m not going to the f***ing White House.”

President Donald Trump hit back on Twitter chastising Rapinoe for disrespecting “our Country, the White House or our Flag” and inviting the team to the White House.

“Megan should WIN first before she TALKS!” he wrote.

Rapinoe apologised for swearing but was otherwise unmoved.

“Considering how much time and effort and pride we take in the platform that we have, and using it for good, and for leaving the game in a better place and hopefully the world in a better place – I don’t think that I would want to go,” she said.

The forward has spent her career fighting for equality in pay and recognition in a sport where it is not forthcoming and doesn’t feel like the current administration aligns with her cause.

She was also one of the first athletes to support NFL player Colin Kaepernick by taking the knee in protest at racial inequality.

She did that despite knowing that it would affect the sales of the clothing brand she runs with her twin sister, Be Your Best You.

Rapinoe, whose partner is the basketball star Sue Bird, was the first openly gay athlete to feature in Sport Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.

With every carefully considered career decision and protest, big or small, Rapinoe is empowering her fans to be themselves, to speak out when they need to and feel comfortable in their own skin.

Meanwhile, in social media world, Kim Kardashian was encouraging the exact opposite, with the release of her new line of body make up to “blur imperfections”.

She was quite literally sending the message that if you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin, that’s fine, just cover it up with some moderately priced foundation.

As a colleague of mine, and mum of two young children, pleaded: “You’re a teenage girl. You’d love to keep up your favourite sport because it makes you happy and strong, in body and in mind, but oh b***er, your leg make-up might run. Give us a chance Kim, seriously…”

It’s difficult enough to get kids to stay active.

You just have to look at the latest figures from the Sport and Recreation Alliance revealing the miserable fact that only one in five children in England is doing the recommended amount of daily exercise to recognise it’s a stubborn and toxic problem.

We, and particularly celebrities like Kardashian who wield huge influence, shouldn’t be putting any more barriers in their way.

Thankfully there are role models like Rapinoe to pop up with the message that it’s OK to be yourself.