The women in the film are not just unbelievable athletes. They use soccer as a way to challenge gender-based violence, gender discrimination, and cultural biases.
—(Ms.) Danny Turken, The Beautiful Game director and producer …
Women are campaigning for some amazing projects on Kickstarter, and we can’t publicize them all—but considering how much the world has been thinking and talking in the last week about Nelson Mandela—who supported gender equality in South Africa—we’re happy to highlight a campaign to fund a feature-length documentary film on women’s soccer in Mandela’s home country.
The Beautiful Game follows the story of one women’s soccer team—City Lads Ladies—as they compete for a spot in the national playoffs, while showing the players’ struggles with sexism, gender-based violence and homophobia. In a society where girls playing sports is taboo, these women face danger because of their commitment to scoring goals.
Says Titie, a star in the film:
A lot of women soccer players are being killed [by those who] say, ‘We’ll show you that you are a woman.’
Titie speaks of soccer players Eudy Simelane and Sihle Skotshi who were murdered because they loved the game and were lesbians. The team members explain that many people in South Africa believe that playing soccer turns women into lesbians or makes them think they are men, so some brutal men have responded with “corrective rape,” a form of anti-lesbian sexual assault to supposedly “correct” a woman’s sexual orientation.
Yet, despite threats and lack of support from people in their communities, the players continue to return to the field. Soccer acts as a form of healing for the athletes, many of whom have experienced rape, poverty, abuse and HIV-related deaths of loved ones. Against cultural ideas and tradition, these women not only fight for a spot in the playoffs, but for gender equality and social change in their country.
Director Turken’s Kickstarter campaign to help finish the film expires in less than three days, and needs about $2,000 more to reach the goal of $30,000. Visit the campaign page to support this worthwhile, inspiring project.
Photos from snapshots of the film