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The high ponytail in women’s football: how a classic hairstyle became a symbol of war | Feminism, Hair

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On the night of Sunday, July 31, England won its first European Championship, thanks to the women’s soccer team. The Lionesses, as this team is known, have achieved what no other team has done before. The final against Germany, with 87,192 fans at Wembley Stadium, was the biggest match of any European Championship final, for both men and women. The broadcast was followed by 17.5 million people. And the tournament, which was held in various parts of England, has been the most watched in the history of the Women’s European Championship. During the championship, the public packed the stands for each game: it is estimated that the audience was divided half and half between male and female gender and boys and girls were seen cheering teams from all countries. All this was achieved by women who, until recently, only found space to play in second-tier stadiums, or worked second jobs to support themselves. In England, for days there was no talk of anything else. Chloe Kelly celebrating in London. But among the conversations entirely about soccer, there was one comment that inevitably slipped in: Why do all the players have the same hairstyle? It was impossible not to see that virtually every female footballer in England, from Chloe Kelly, scorer of the second goal in the final who celebrated by taking off her shirt, to Beth Mead, winner of the championship’s golden boot, played with a pristine high ponytail. Not a hair escaped them, not even when they burst into the post-final conference singing loudly. The English team was surprising for being homogeneously white, especially in a country with such a plurality of races. However, in other more diverse teams, such as the French, the players also wore their hair in a simple ponytail, whether they had straight or braided hair. The high and tight ponytail, sometimes complemented by an elastic headband, has become the trend of Euro 2022. It has not transpired if the team has a person in charge of its image. Manchester United striker Alessia Russo is, according to the press, the one who helped her teammates comb their hair. She unwittingly became a kind of talisman for the selection, because every time she made them pigtails, the lionesses won. In July, interest on Pinterest for ‘ponytail styles’ grew 23% in the UK compared to the previous year and visits to tutorials on how to style hair for footballers on TikTok are on the rise. With an audience accustomed to men’s football, where players seek individuality, this stylistic uniformity is a novelty. There are no multicolored tints like Paul Pogba’s, David Beckham-like mohawks, trending hairstyles like Héctor Bellerín’s, or weather vane changes like Cristiano Ronaldo’s. Not even anything close to the style of Megan Rapinoe, the star footballer of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, who sports a short bob dyed pink or platinum. In a tournament with major sponsors such as Visa, Volkswagen, Nike, Adidas or TikTok, in which it is intended to inject popularity into women’s football that leaves nothing to chance, it seems unlikely that anything related to the image is a coincidence. According to The Times, which ran an article on the hairstyle issue on the day of the final, it is a show of cohesion, comparing the phenomenon to Romania’s 1998 men’s World Cup team, in which all members bleached their hair, partly because of a bet or partly because of team spirit. Ona Batlle before the final match against England. A simple ponytail also conveys a sense of pragmatism that permeates players of all nationalities, including Spanish. Apart from all of the above, in general, a ponytail that moves from one side to the other on the field, aesthetically enhances the rhythm and dynamism of the game, especially from the camera angle through which football matches are broadcast. Or simply football collects what is already in the zeitgeist. For the London-based fashion makeup artist Samanta Falcone, the tight ponytail is also a trend on the street: “It has to do with the tremendous influence of the Kardashians. They often use it in e-commerce brands that connect with a young audience, such as Boohoo, Misguided or Pretty Little Thing.” Another make-up artist points out that she has started wearing a high ponytail for the fresh effect it brings, and since then she has received positive comments from both men and women. In teams from the ’60s and ’70s, we see players hitting the ball with hairstyles of all sorts, from short layered hair to shoulder-length hair parted in the middle, a style not particularly sporty. Perhaps as women’s soccer garners popularity, star signings or million-dollar contracts, the humble ponytail will likely give way to style statements. For now, it is the clear symbol of a tournament in which women’s football is simply ‘football’.

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– Article Written By @Brenda Otero from https://smoda.elpais.com/feminismo/la-coleta-alta-en-el-futbol-femenino-como-un-peinado-clasico-se-convirtio-en-simbolo-de-guerra/

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