AE Exclusive: “They Bruise” Shines a Light on Underreported, Remarkable Female Athletes


We all know that sports is still very much a boys club, with women making much less money than their male counterparts (hello gender pay gap!) while receiving far less press coverage. Why aren’t these women getting the recognition they deserve? One documentary filmmaker is seeking to shine a light on female athletes who have gone largely unnoticed, despite their extraordinary talent and achievements. Creator and Director Marcos Meconi’s web docu-series They Bruise uncovers what motivates these remarkable women to play on a less than level playing field.

In an exclusive sneak peak,  Meconi shared with AfterEllen the first episode of the series, which will get an official online release on March 17. The episode features Joanna Lohman, midfielder for the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League, and one of  the few openly gay players in the NWSL. She discusses the importance of being an out lesbian player and the impact that LGBT visibility in sports has on future generations.

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“In a sport that has so many LGBT fans, they see me out in the field as an LGBT athlete, proud of who I am, and that gives them confidence to be who they are.” Lohman also addresses the topic of gender stereotypes, noting, “The most important thing for me is to expand expectations on what a woman should look like. I do it for someone who comes behind me, who won’t get the same looks or the same stares I do.”

Director Meconi told AE:  “This series is not just for sports fans– the idea is to use sports as an entry point to discuss larger issues. We are entering a political climate where people are being intimidated because of their religion, skin color, immigration status, or sexual orientation. For queer folks and other minorities, the most important political act is to be ourselves in daily life– unequivocally, and unrepentantly. That’s what Joanna Lohman does on and off the field. She plays the beautiful game to express her rich, complex identity, and allow others to do the same. A lot of young girls and boys go to NWSL games and look up to her. She’s the ultimate bruiser, that’s why I wanted to kick-off the series with Jo’s story.”

Watch Episode 1 of they Bruise with Joanna Lohman:


They Bruise will feature a diverse range of female athletes, including soccer, rugby players, motorcycle racers, bodybuilders, and other athletes of all backgrounds, shapes, and sizes. Follow the project on their website and on Social Media: Facebook, IG: @theybruise and  Twitter: @marcosmeconi

You can also follow Joanna Lohman on IG @joannalohman15 and Twitter @joannalohman

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