LFG isn’t about the present but the future. The idea that in 2021 we are even discussing gender equality seems slightly baffling to me, but when the facts are examined, it’s not that surprising. The issue actually isn’t that complicated. No matter how much success the United States Women’s soccer team has, it’s clear that the country’s governing body doesn’t value their contribution to the sport. In their eyes, they should be happy to play. Never mind the hardships these players have to endure or that the men’s success hasn’t even approached what the women’s team has accomplished; US Soccer’s governing body wants to bask in their glory but reward their success.
This whole issue really was broken down brilliantly by Jeffrey Kessler’s (the lead attorney for the players) comment at the beginning of the film, “They refuse to pay the women equally because they thought they could get away with it.” Why change things if they are happy with how things are? The only way the US Women’s team was even able to start a dialogue about their compensation was by taking them to court. Oscar-Winning Directors Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine do a wonderful job of using one-on-one interviews to raise the stakes of the documentary. Hearing the emotional turmoil the players faced of trying to follow their dreams while being forced to live near the poverty line. Should they forgo their dreams based on their gender?
When LFG focused on the legal standing the team had in this lawsuit, it not only kept the documentary grounded, it thrived. There’s just no logical reason why the women’s soccer team isn’t compensated like the men are. Even when the argument is made that the men bring in more money, when you look at the money brought in from each team, the women bring in more. Numbers don’t lie! So their success has brought a financial windfall to the country, yet you don’t want to pay them fairly? Some might say that it’s only because they’ve played more games. Yes, they have because of their success. So they’ve won more, brought more money in, and they are being paid an antiquated wage.
The film loses its momentum when the discussion pivots to the toxic environment they were in when the lawsuit was filed. Discussing Megan Rapinoe’s comments about visiting the White House shifted the focus away from the fight they brought to the status quo. Seeing Jessica McDonald’s struggle raising her son got LFG back on track. Hearing her layout how hard it is to follow her dreams and raise her son will tug at the heartstrings. Should she retire just because she’s a single mother? This isn’t about millions; it’s about fairness. It’s about the future of women’s sports. They’ve seen what complacency caused. If they want change to happen, David will have to take on Goliath.