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Wow, women’s football…in underwear. This has to be a man invention. What’s better than football? Sexy football, of course! 

Please.

When I found out about the “Lingerie Football League” (LFL) on CNN.com during my daily scanning of web news last Sunday, I laughed. “Give me a break, I though to myself, probably a bunch of scrawny posers with pretty faces trying to look simultaneously sexy and tough for a scattered crowd of horny, probably drunk, losers”.

I was mistaken.

The league’s official web site proved me wrong. It featured some high quality footage of practically naked, yet extremely athletic women playing some solid football, backed up by some lucrative sponsors in apparently sold out stadiums. My jaw dropped.

After playing 4 seasons in the IWFL (International Female Football League), the real deal when it comes to women’s tackle football, the prospect of a sold out stadium and solid sponsors seemed impossible. Despite being one of the best, my team, like many other in the league, constantly struggled for money and performed most of the time in front of slim, but loyal, friends and family fan-bases.

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Seemed like the LFL took our sport to the next level: it undressed us. A genius combination of strip club appeal and jello wrestling action, topped with some football stratagem and shoulder pads. In other words: the typical American male dream. Hyper-sexualisation of the female body apparently did the trick. And “voila”, women, the pretty ones at least, “finally” got a chance to display their football skills in the limelight.

I immediately called my girl Jenn, one of the best and most passionate football players I know, to tell her about my new discovery. She knew about it. We talked long, shared some thoughts on our personal victories, on and off the fields. Remembered our pride we when NFL stars Darren Sharper and Terrence Wilkins came watch us play (in full gear!) and were blown away. And how, as accomplished women, going against the odds had empowered us.

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In order to play, those female athletes have accepted a trade off: more skin for more success. I don’t blame them one second: had I had the opportunity, I would’ve probably joined, to the hefty price of my own integrity.

LFL, I have a six pack and a C cup; A fierce attitude and a “bootilicious” behind. Is that enough to make one of your teams? LFL, is this really what it takes? Would it be preferable to wear a push up bra to the tryouts? A post-game tanning session perhaps?

I thought about it.

I am a female athlete activist. When I made the boys tackle football team in high school over half the boys that had tried out, I not only made myself a name, but broke a barrier of steal. I opened a door of possibility in this football powerhouse for girls good enough to play.

To this day, it is a fulfilling, quite empowering memory.

The LFL obeys the undeniable rules of our man’s world. The strong and beautiful women who evolve in it make a choice, and deserve respect. I choose otherwise, for the sake of my integrity and beliefs. Jenn, my girl, you are right. Play with all your heart and all your clothes; stand up for what you belief in. This is the true path to change.

-LaLa Mathieu