The Patriarchal Shadow on Spain’s World Cup Win

By Hilda Berg

On the 20th of August, 2023, Spain became the fifth country in the world to bring home a Women’s World Cup title in soccer. A small feat? Not really, considering the team’s troublesome history of inappropriate coaches, managing nepotism, and as of most recently, the sexual harassment carried out by their Federation’s President. 

Truly, it is quite an astonishing feat the 23 Spanish soccer players pull off as they make their way to the finals of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, beating favorites such as former runner-ups Netherlands and former bronze-medalists Sweden on their journey. Something they managed to do barely a year after their head coach, Jorge Vilda, made headlines for his alleged coaching style. Out of the 15 players which, in September of last year, announced they would not be playing for the national team, unless there were changes made to the coaching staff (namely Vilda), only 3 ended up actually participating in this year’s World Cup, as Vilda saw it fit to cut out some of the world’s biggest stars from his team, for simply speaking their mind.

Despite this seemingly heavy issue, that is not the Spanish Soccer Federation’s latest scandal that has been keeping journalists busy with their notepads since the country took home the gold, three weeks ago. After the final whistle had been blown and the gold medals had been brought out to be hung around the necks of the Spanish players, the Federation’s President, Luis Rubiales, took it to himself to inappropriately force himself onto multiple players under the guise of the ‘celebration’, jumping up in their lap, lifting them up in his arms, and even going as far as to kiss some of them on the mouth. A synonym for this would also be sexual harassment. 

Naturally (and thankfully), criticism of his unacceptable behavior erupted as soon as the last celebratory dancing took place that night, and soon enough, headlines started popping up, reporting of Rubiales harassment. Hermoso, one of the players who had been kissed on the mouth, released a statement verifying that she had, in fact, not consented to the kiss. Soon afterwards, the Spanish Soccer Federation released a statement which claimed to be from Hermoso herself, retracting her earlier statements, only for it to be found to be completely fabricated.

In an expected fashion, Rubiales himself spoke about the issue shortly afterwards, reusing the most common arguments made by men in public roles accused of sexual harassment, which was that he was actually the victim. Even less surprisingly,  Vilda, who sat in the audience as he spoke, applauded with a slight smile on his face.

There really isn’t much to say about this situation. Quite frankly, the events speak for themselves. Women accomplish something extraordinary -> man harasses women because he thinks it’s in his right to do so -> the women stand up for themselves -> the man claims to be a helpless victim. Quite frankly, it’s happened before, and for as long as men like Rubiales are allowed to continue their immature, borderline illegal activities without serious consequences, it will happen again. 

Quite frankly, this repetitive, patriarchal show of idiocracy and sexism needs to end, because it’s getting pretty tiring watching women having their rightful credit cast in the shadows of men’s attempts to take liberties they never have the right to take.


Hi! I’m Hilda and I am a High School junior from Sweden. I also work as the ambassador manager for WIP and love to write, debate and develop projects, which is why I joined this organization. I hope to soon release my first book and continue writing about important matters!

%d bloggers like this: