Sunday, June 08, 2008

Women on the ball

Here's another interesting billboard ad:

It seems to be related to the the UEFA08 European Soccer Championship which is being hosted here in Switzerland this month. My off-the-cuff translation of "Frauen an den Ball" was "women on the ball". Coupled with the image I interpreted that as meaning something along the lines of women are only allowed to be sporty if we're also extra-feminine (to counter our transgression against gender norms), or perhaps that the only role of women in football games is as a sex object since they clearly intend the double meaning of being "on the ball(s)".

But when I actually looked closer, I realized that "an" is being used in the accusative, which (in German) implies motion or movement from one place to another rather than fixed location, so the translation is closer to "women coming to the ball". It turns out if you go to the website advertised, you can download a brochure (pdf) which includes several similar images and a several page summary of the rules of soccer ("das kleine ABC der Fussballregeln" = "the small ABCs of football rules") apparently targeted towards women to bring them up to speed on the game so they can enjoy the games too. The intro text, which I can't entirely translate, discusses surprising your man with your knowledge of football so you can talk with him (rather than avoiding the topic as in years past). It certainly seems targeted towards enhancing his pleasure of the games by having an enthusiastic female at his side (rather than a party-pooper who doesn't care about the games).

I'm submitting this image to Sociological Images: Seeing is Believing. I really enjoy that blog because it's so thought provoking. It's like getting to take a sociology class, delivered right to me! I took a couple women's and labor studies classes in college, but always wanted to take more, so I really appreciate having resources like this!



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