Women, Sport, Film (Smith) Forum


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Week 1 question
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2003-01-31 12:14:35
Link to this Comment: 4335

Week 1
Welcome to our e-forum. As we explore the image of women in sport as framed by film, we hope you will enjoy participating in this on-line forum with students from Smith and Wesleyan.

Please start your response with a note introducing yourself to your forum group.
Respond to either one of the following two questions. Feel free to return to your forum and see what others have written and continue the 'conversation".


1. What makes Title IX a social justice issue and why? How does it impact women today – not just athletes, but the culture of access and equity for women's participation in any area that has a history of male dominance.

2. What is the cultural ideal of women in sport? How does it differ from men?


Hello!
Name: Nicole
Date: 2003-02-03 10:53:59
Link to this Comment: 4365

Hi Form Group! I was very happy with Thursday nights discussion. You seem to be an energetic class with a wide variety of experiences to share. I am looking forward to hearing more of your thoughts in this on-line discussion group.

First, a little background. This is my fourth year at Bryn Mawr and my second year as an instructor for this course. I graduated from Wesleyan in 1997, and am very excited that some WES students will be joining our discussions.

My competitive athleteic days are far behind me. I like to stay active by running, lifting weights, and yoga. I find it is a struggle to fit fitness into my life -- and I work at a gym! But I think it is important, so I try to carve out time/space in my life for physical activity.

In looking at the questions we have asked you to respond to for this weeks discussion, I am struck by how as a culture, we are now putting more pressure on men to achieve a physical ideal. Magazines such as MEN"S HEALTH show a different buff guy on the cover every month, plus two articles on how to get better abs, and how to slim down. It will be interesting to see if this media attention will result in a higher rate of disordered eating in men.


Greetings
Name: Gale
Date: 2003-02-04 08:23:39
Link to this Comment: 4394

Hello everyone,

Greetings Nicole! My name is Gale Lackey. I am an Adjunct Professor of Women's Studies, Associate Director of Athletics, and Head coach of Women's Volleyball at Wesleyan University. This spring I am teaching my GENDER AND SPORT class at Wesleyan. Last Thursday we watched "Dare to Compete". Today we will be discussing the movie and moving into lecture and discussions on Title IX (what a timely subject!). I will be urging my students to take part in your discussions as well. We happen to have a few wrestlers in the class. We will be giving a group of our students the opportunity to watch most of the films included in your course. I will attempt to divide our students among the different forums with particular attention to having one or two men in each forum group.

To Nicole's comment - I do believe body image issues or affecting men in our society and could very well lead to eating disorders, if not disordered eating. I also think the male concern with body image is compounding issues with drug abuse. I will try to get some comments from our wrestlers ( as maintaining a particular weight is an issue with that sport) and other men in the class.
Cheers


Social Justice
Name: Liz
Date: 2003-02-04 23:12:45
Link to this Comment: 4405

My name is Liz and I'm a Growth and Structure of Cities major and a Spanish minor. Although I don't compete in atletics any more, I love to run and ran cross country in high school.

The idea of Title IX as a social justice issue can be tied into the idea of the evolution. Throughout history the social justice issues have evolved with the times. Now that other issues have been worked with, women and sports can be examined. I believe, although great strides have been made, there are still many inequalities to be fixed that are aided by Title IX. It is not simply of money, it is a matter of making opportunities open to all people. Just as Affirmative Action helps some, Title XI helps others.


Cultural ideals and sports
Name: Madeleine
Date: 2003-02-05 09:27:02
Link to this Comment: 4410

Hi all. I'm Madeleine Karpel, a Bryn Mawr student, originally from Mass. (For anyone who's going to Smith right now, I actually live in Noho, and grew up on Prospect st.)
But anyway, I was thinking about the cultural ideals of women in sports, and I feel that in general, the culture doesn't know what it wants. It seems to ask for tough, dedicated and remarkable athletes who simultaneously remain ladylike and poised. While these things are not necessarily incompatible, it certainly creates for an odd dichotomy, when on the one hand, a too-dedicated woman might be described as "cutthroat", "vicious", or a "bulldog" (heard that off the radio once, and it struck me), while a less dedicated woman might be dismissed as "out of her league", "in over her head", or simply "sub par". And I love the positive reactions that Venus and Serena Williams have garnered from the nation; they seem like strong, classy, intelligent and remarkable athletes. But I still feel that they have managed to come out the exceptions; while the culture has reacted well towards them, I'm waiting to see whether that marks an actual change, or is just a fluke.


Social Justice Question
Name: claire
Date: 2003-02-05 18:26:22
Link to this Comment: 4422

My name is Claire--I'm a student from the Wesleyan "Gender and Sport" class. The following is my response to the social justice question:

America's capitalistic system creates a system of unequal distribution, both of the good and the bad, as the country is run by big business; for profit. Social justice has to do with distribution of goods, or burdens. Just as no one person or group of people should be burdened with all of a bad thing, no one person or group should receive all good things either. Environmental injustice, one form of social justice, occurs when one group of people is burdened by a disproportionate amount of hazardous waste. Title IX has to do with the distribution of goods. Women should be granted equity in participation and benefits from education or activity receiving federal funding. Just like all other forms of social injustices, Title IX comes down to money; who gets the money to be educated and participate in activities.
Title IX has tremendous impacts for women in America today, in athletics as well as all other areas of education. For instance, the discipline of Women's Studies, which did not exist before 1970, is offered at hundreds of undergraduate and graduate institutions. Additionally, the field of women's health has emerged, and women's admissions into elite fields of graduate study, such as law and medicine have skyrocketed. Higher education was formerly dominated by men, who then went on to control the work force in most fields, with housework and childbearing reserved for women. In addition to strong feminist activists and radical thinkers, Title IX has helped provide these new opportunities for women.


Social Justice Issue
Name: Corey Gitt
Date: 2003-02-05 20:00:41
Link to this Comment: 4429

Hello all,
My name is Corey Gittus (I am female) and I am a sophomore at Wesleyan Univeristy. I am taking a gender and sport class this semester. I just wanted to comment briefly on the social justice issue question. In traditional society men have been the dominant force in sports and in the workplace. Although women's participation in jobs and sports has increased dramatically over the years it is still not nearly as high as men's participation. For example, women's participation in high school athletics has increased from 8%, in 1972, to nearly 40% in 1995 (packet). Therefore, it is not the lack of interest that has kept women from playing but rather the lack of opportunity. This lack of opportunity makes Title IX a social justice issue. Women should be allowed the same opportunities and benefits, whether it is with playing sports or holding jobs, as men.


Cultural Ideals
Name: Sarah O'Ne
Date: 2003-02-05 20:17:21
Link to this Comment: 4431

Hello, my name is Sarah O'Neil, a student from Wesleyan University.
(HI NICOLE! Yes, it's me. I'm back at Wesleyan after three years doing all sorts of stuff. I'm playing lacrosse and I'm in Gale's Gender and Sport class. Send me an email or something!)
Anyway, below is a response to the question about cultural ideals for women and men in sport. I find this topic particularly interesting because it's evident that stereotypes have no boundaries.

2. What is the cultural ideal of women in sport? How does it differ from men?

The ideal female athlete is slender and toned and has long hair pulled back into a ponytail. She is fit and sexy and wears spandex outfits to the gym. She runs fast and is graceful and assertive on the field, but never too aggressive or feisty. She finesses the ball, barely sweating—just a light glisten to brighten her complexion. She smiles while she plays and doesn't question calls, or argue with the refs. She's a lady, and cleans up nicely after the game.
The ideal male athlete is aggressive and tenacious. He is quick and decisive, using his thick, muscular body to power his way across the field. His muscles bulge and pop through his jersey, which is drenched in sweat. He has grass stains all over his uniform. He is cocky and is allowed to be smart with the refs. After the game he is expected to be a gentleman and stay out of trouble.
The above descriptions are a bit extreme, but not that far from the truth. Although they are very different, and it would seem that female athletes have it worse, it's important to note that both sexes are stereotyped as athletes. There are unrealistic expectations of both men and women.


Response to Question #1
Name: Mosah
Date: 2003-02-05 20:27:19
Link to this Comment: 4432

My name is Mosah Fernandez-Goodman and I am a Junior at Wesleyan University. I am from New York City. I am a member of both the Wesleyan Football and Swimming Teams. I am also a member of our Student Athletic Advisory Committee and President of my fraternity. Please find my response to question number one below.


Question #1:
Title IX is a revolutionary law that has inspired and supported social and political change in America's educational system. Title IX is a social issue in that it serves to outline the guidelines by which educational institutions must operate with respect to opportunities for both the male and female genders. It addresses the social issue of discrimination by gender. Because of Title IX, women now have the opportunity to advance themselves in educational areas that they had previously been prohibited from based on their gender. Title IX supports and protects women's educational rights. This support and protection of one gender from discrimination by another gender makes Title IX a social justice issue.
Title IX is considered an issue of social justice because it works to break down a social injustice. Until this law was passed, the educational opportunities for men far exceeded those of women. Such an imbalance in educational opportunity created a social imbalance. Women were being treated unjustly. Gender opportunities fall under the realm of a social heading. Therefore, the issues that surround the topic of Title IX are considered issues concerning a social injustice. Title IX strives to obtain social justice for females.
Title IX has had a profound impact on the modern American woman. Although the media tends to focus its attention on the impact of Title IX on high school and collegiate athletics, the true intention of Title IX is to provide equal opportunity for both genders across all academic fields. Athletic equality is simply a subset of the overarching theme presented by Title IX. Legally, women must now be given equal opportunity both in and out of the classroom.
The enactment and enforcement of Title IX has provided women with not only the right to equal educational opportunity but also with the inspiration to achieve such equality. The source of such inspiration comes, in great part, from athletics. In seeing members of the WNBA, members of the women's Olympic soccer team and other sports figures, young and old women alike have found themselves inspired to participate in athletics. In cultivating such interest in self-improvement through athletics, Title IX has initiated the process of inspiring women to achieve what they previously could not.
Men have historically dominated society. Females have been oppressed educationally, socially, sexually, economically and politically. Granting women the right to vote granted women great political equality. Title IX has granted women the right to educational equality. No longer must women accept men's dominance over educational opportunities. Title IX supports equal educational opportunities for both men and women.

Question #2:
We live in a male dominated culture. Although major steps such as Title IX are being taken to work towards gender equality, male influence still permeates our culture. Consequently, the culturally ideal female athlete is one who is both sexually appealing to men as well as one who is successful in her sport. The ideal male athlete must be successful at his sport but is not culturally required to have sex appeal. Female athletes face an additional requirement in order to be lauded by our culture. Female athletes are innately confronted with the issues of athletic success and social conformity. Men are simply required to excel at their sport.
Being skilful and excelling at one's sport is of a secondary importance for female athletes in the eyes of mass culture. Women are expected to maintain a feminine physique and not be overly aggressive. Conversely, men have been taught to be muscular and aggressive. The most recognizable evidence of such cultural teachings is evident in almost every gym in America. Women strive to loose weight while men try and bulk up. Women are taught and encouraged to serve as a physical and social compliment to men.
Breaking down the cultural barriers imposed upon them by men has been an arduous task for women involved in athletics. While the media supports and promotes figures such as Anna Kournikova and Mia Hamm as both sex symbols and excellent athletes, the majority of female athletes are not "hyped" up in nearly the same manner or numbers as that of their male counterparts. Male athletes receive much higher percentages of media coverage, fan base and endorsements in large part because sex appeal does not play as major a role in determining their success. In order to fit the cultural ideal, females must accomplish two goals. They must possess sex appeal as well as athletic prowess. Male athletes must simply perform athletically in order to fit the cultural requirements for being deemed a success by our culture.


cultural ideals
Name: Richard Le
Date: 2003-02-05 21:09:46
Link to this Comment: 4433

Hiya everyone...my name is Richard and I'm a junior at Wesleyan. First in response to the Men's Health question:

I have two issues of Men's Health lying around in my room and here are some headlines on the covers: "Lose Weight Fast! The amazing new diet that strips away fat", "Seduce her in 60 seconds!", "101 Best New Weight-Loss Strategies", "9 Secret Laws of Leanness", "Foods that Fight Fat", "Sexual Superpowers: Be her man of steel", "The Easy Way to Hard Abs"...you get the idea. And this is just from two magazine covers. This magazine is essentially the male equivalent of Cosmo. Plastering the covers with lean and muscular men is no different than putting skinny supermodels on Cosmo. I definitely think that men's body image issues are a big problem, and it will only get worse because of magazines like Men's Health. I read the magazine for entertainment and the occasional helpful bit of information, and afterwards I definitely feel pressure to bulk up and get abs of steel.

Now for the cultural ideals question:

While female athletics has become just as fierce and competitive as men's athletics, women are still expected to maintain their femininity. Muscles, sweat, and aggressiveness are considered masculine qualities, and the exceptional women who exhibit these qualities are often considered "butch" and have their sexuality questioned. In Dare to Compete, we saw that Babe Didrickson faced this paradox, which must have been very difficult for her to deal with. Later in her career she changed her image by growing her hair longer and dressing in a more feminine way. The video also mentioned that in Babe's day, only sports such as tennis, archery, and golf were considered acceptable for women because they could wear skirts while playing them. This paradox still exists today and often more attention is given to a women's femininity than her athletic accomplishments. Anna Kournikova gets just as much attention for bending down to pick up a ball as Serena Williams does for winning her fourth straight grand slam title. Then you have Annika Sorenstam, who had perhaps the greatest year ever in women's golf, and it went virtually unnoticed. Perhaps her skirts weren't short enough.
On the other hand, men are expected to be tough, muscular, and unfailingly heterosexual. Today's male athletes drive ridiculously large SUV's that are big and muscular like them. And just like their SUV's sound systems, they are loud and brash. These are masculine qualities that men must demonstrate to prove their masculinity and heterosexuality, just as women often wear short skirts and ponytails to defend their femininity and heterosexuality.


Cultural Ideals
Name: Corey Gitt
Date: 2003-02-05 22:09:24
Link to this Comment: 4435

As with many other female athletes I do not feel this need, which society puts on us, to prove myself to be a woman just because I play sports. Often time's women who play sports must overcompensate their femininity when they are off the field or court, this is because women who play sports have always been considered more "masculine" than other women. Society wants women who play sports to also be very feminine and project the "good girl athlete" image. Over time, the image of women in sports has changed and hopefully in years to come women will no longer have to prove their femininity just because they play sports.


Response to Question 1
Name: Rebecca Vo
Date: 2003-02-05 22:10:25
Link to this Comment: 4437

Hi. My name is Rebecca Vogel and I'm a sophomore at Wesleyan University. I am a Biology major and play on the lacrosse team as well. This is just my short response to the first question.
Title IX declares that no person on the basis of gender may be excluded or discriminated against in an educational system that is federally funded (or assisted). However, the amendment of Title IX has affected much more than educational systems. When it was enacted, and today as well, it not only provided a legal crutch for women, it provided them the confidence to excel. Women that lived prior to Title IX were hardly different from the women experiencing the affects of the amendment today, but prior to 1972 society simply produced women with different goals and ideals. Today, women are given the opportunities that were previously offered only to men in areas of society typically dominated by men. Title IX has given women the confidence to prove that they have comparable abilities to men. Today, women are urged to pursue their goals and talents, while thirty years ago, women were simply not aware of their own abilities. And, because of the standards society had imposed on them, they hardly had an interest in uncovering them. A female business-owner is no surprise to Americans today, nor is a professional female soccer player. To think how far women have come due to one law proposed and enacted only approximately 30 years ago is incredible.


gender and sport
Name: Liza Eckel
Date: 2003-02-05 23:29:54
Link to this Comment: 4443

My name is Liza Eckels, and I'm a senior psych major at Wesleyan university.

2. What is the cultural ideal of women in sport? How does that differ from men?

The cultural ideal of women in sport has changed drastically over the years. First of all, there didn't used to be any women in sport, it simply wasn't culturally accepted. As women emerged in the world of athletics, they were confined to certain sports, such as figure skating, field hockey, swimming, diving, track, etc. Women were supposed to be graceful, flexible, weak, pretty, un-aggressive, non-sweaty, and of course, not crass or violent. However, the ideal for women in sport has somewhat changed over the years. Female athletes are now solid and muscular. They are encouraged to show aggression, sweat get dirty and excel to the highest level possible. As much as these athletic traits are becoming the norm, they come with an attached stigma. As a female ice hockey player, I encounter the butch/brute image. Although, one of the perks of ice hockey is the equipment. The padding allows for quickness, roughness, and aggression. The helmet hides my face so I don't have to be pretty. The equipment prevents any body image issues, because my shape has been masked by the lbs of padding.
The cultural ideal for men in sport has been fairly constant over the years. Men are supposed to be big, muscular, brawny, aggressive, rough around the edges, and violent. It is acceptable for men to be sweaty and dirty, for them to be missing teeth. They are allowed to be hairy, ruthless and animal-like. There are no limits, men are expected to push themselves to the limit.


Social Justice Issue
Name: Jennifer
Date: 2003-02-06 01:43:07
Link to this Comment: 4447

Hello, my name is Jennifer Levine. I am a Sophomore Spanish major at Wesleyan Univeristy involved in the Gender and Sport class.

This is my response to the question of how Title IX is a social justice issue:

The fact that Title IX is an addition to the constitutional civil liberties amendment shows that there has always been preference of men over women. Early Darwinism theories of "only the strong survive" have implied that men are the stronger sex, with privilege. If in 1972 Title IX was rejected by Congress, would the American people, who promote democracy and global liberty have magically decided that this was an action that needed to take place. It is a fallacy that the advancement of women in society at that time would have instantaneous come around and sexual discrimination be forgotten. It is possible that for years and even decades women would be attempting to advance themselves in a man's world. Title IX is an incredible legal advancement and protection for women against sexual discrimination. It would be a lie to say that a few decades ago women had the same opportunity as they did today. For example, my mother, a physician was discouraged from perusing a medical career. Though declined admittance into American medical schools prior to Tile IX, she happily matriculated into medical school in Mexico. During this time, a third world country was willing to give her opportunities she did not receive in America, "the land of opportunities." At the present time women, are encouraged and even sought out to attend prestigious professional schools and for myriad amounts of occupations. Their access to universities and once taboo professions for women has practically disappeared and they are being welcomed and encouraged to enter the labor market. Their salaries within the past decade have risen dramatically and are comparable to those of men. In past years there has been statistical data, or proof, that for the same job men generally earned a higher wage than women. Although this fact is appalling it is a remarkable improvement from thirty years ago in quality of life and opportunities and economic independence for women. Today women are becoming the leaders of our country and local communities. They are doctors, lawyers, congresswomen, ambassadors, educators, mechanics, businesswomen and much more. In the words of my late grandmother, "Ladies today have gone farther than I ever thought imaginable in my lifetime." For these reasons, Title IX is a great social justice issue that does and will continue to enhance the quality and progression of the lives of women in America.


Social Justice and Cultural Ideals
Name: Meredith R
Date: 2003-02-06 03:21:40
Link to this Comment: 4448

Hello all. My name is Meredith and I am a senior Anthropology/Pre-Med major at Wesleyan. The following are my responses to the issue of Title IX as social justice, and our cultural ideals of women and men in sport.

1. Most of us would agree that racial discrimination is an issue of social justice. Almost a century after the fact we can scoff at the idea that the eugenics movement, and all the scientific research that went into proving that certain races are inferior to others is ridiculous. Similarly, we can easily recognize that the notion that black people do not have the same intellectual capacity as white people and that they are only suited for manual labor, a popular belief in America that spanned generations, is an incredibly racist fallacy. Yet why is it that even though we mention racial minorities and women in the same breath under the Civil Rights Act, sexual discrimination is not taken seriously? Just as scientific principle was used to justify and maintain the social hierarchy that oppressed blacks, so too does the assumption that women are biologically inferior to men and that they are only suited for motherhood, fuel the system of social oppression that restricts women from achieving their potential. Title IX is not only opening up the field of athletic competition and providing women with a place to play and the encouragement to participate and to excel, but it is helping to evolve our notions of femininity and masculinity and our stereotypes about the "nature" of men and the role of women. The legislation has helped to shatter the myth that women are biologically inferior to men by proving that if given the opportunity, proper training, facilities, coaching, and encouragement, women can excel at anything they put their minds and dedicate their bodies to. Title IX is an issue of social justice because it insists upon the fair treatment and opportunity for a group that has been historically oppressed by an established social hierarchy.

2. The cultural ideal of women in sport, while continually evolving, still seems to reside on the opposite end of the spectrum from the ideal of men in sport. Girls are not supposed to be too competitive or too aggressive, physically or verbally. Girls should not work up too much of a sweat, be too big, or too muscular. We are taught to scoff at the violent grunts of Monica Seles as she rips a wicked backhand down the line. We accept the fact that women playing lacrosse sport skirts while the men are clad in helmets and pads and engage in hard-hitting competition. While both men and women ice hockey players wear identical protective gear, it seems to make cultural sense that the women's game is a non-checking affair. On the other hand, the same elements that are taboo if embodied in a woman, come to represent the cultural ideal of the male athlete. Men can and should be bulky. Not only is it okay to sweat and get dirty and draw blood, it is expected. The cultural ideal of women in sport parallels the historically oppressive cultural ideal of women in general. Just as society worked to chain women to the role of the docile homemaker, the culture of sport continues to restrict women by forcing them to wear skirts during competition, by banning physical contact, and by upholding a standard of beauty that celebrates frailty and meekness. When I broke my leg playing ice hockey my father jokingly asked me why I couldn't just play the piano. I told him that I wasn't satisfied using my 6'0, 200-pound frame to dominate a musical instrument. All through high school I was reminded of the phrase "chicks with sticks don't like dicks," implying that women who played ice hockey were homosexuals. The idea of women playing a sport, especially one notoriously reserved for men, challenges society's cultural ideal of men as the essence of masculinity. The notion that "the stronger women get, the more men love football" rings loud and clear, perfectly embodying these established cultural ideals of masculinity and femininity.



Name: Natalie
Date: 2003-02-06 15:45:14
Link to this Comment: 4455

Hi, my name is Natalie. I'm a junior at Bryn Mawr. I'm a sociology major, political science minor with a concentration in health studies (I just made that last one up, though eventually I hope to be involved in health law and public policy).

In response to question two, I found what someone in class last week said about women in sports- that the majority of women seem to participate in physical activity to look good and to mold their body into the current feminine physical ideal. Whereas for men, it seems that their participation in sports or athletics is based primarily in competitive endeavors. It is interesting that women are still expected to behave and look a certain way, though I feel that we've come a long way. As it was also said in class last week though, we can't forget where we've come from or diminish our efforts at furthering our position. There is always work to be done in liberating ourselves from the oppressive cultural ideals which have been created.


Title IX
Name: Sunmin
Date: 2003-02-06 17:43:44
Link to this Comment: 4462

Hi! I am Sunmin Lee from Bryn Mawr College. I am glad to meet you all. :)
I am from Korea, so I might have a little different prospectives. This is my first time ever to take any course related to gender and sports.

1. What makes Title IX a social justice issue and why? How does it impact women today ?not just athletes, but the culture of access and equity for women's participation in any area that has a history of male dominance.

Actually, I had no idea what Title IX was, so I did a little research on the internet. I came across the following passage;
"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance. -- From the preamble to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972"
Since its passage in 1972, Title IX helped to change attitudes, assumptions and behavior and social understanding about how sexual stereotypes can limit the opportunities for capable women to be educated. Women had made davances in fields of science and math which were dominated by male. Title IX served a symbolic role that shows now women should not be discriminated because of their gender.


Week 2 Questions
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2003-02-07 11:31:09
Link to this Comment: 4478

Week 2 Questions. Please respond to at least one of the questions. Particiapnts may also continue to comment on the questions from week 1. To read the comments of the Week 1 questions, please refer to the archived link.

1. What is the meaning of the images used in the popular media that portray women? Portray women athletes? Give some examples of positive images and some negative images. Look at the WNBA website for an interesting look at the intersection of media and women's professional sport. www.wnba.com

2. What role does gender play as enhancing the athletic image of women in sport? What influence, what difference, did the image of Velvet as being gender neutral – and in fact trying to pass as a male jockey. What does this say about women in sport, women in male domains, and the cultural ideal of women? Is this applicable toady?

3. How does the cultural ideal of sport relate to the cultural ideal of women in society?

For those students who watched National Velvet, add the question:
Are you, or did you ride horses in your youth? Describe the passion of riding horses. How would you describe the link between gender as portrayed in the movie?


test
Name:
Date: 2003-02-11 10:48:39
Link to this Comment: 4537

just testing


Women and Sport in the Media
Name: Liz Marcus
Date: 2003-02-11 10:57:40
Link to this Comment: 4538

The image of women in the media concerning sport is very similar to women in the media in general. Although many rights have been gained for women, there is still a sense of being feminine and what that means. The conotations are different from those that apply to men. By Velvet cutting her hair in "National Velvet," she was able to break the boundaries. She eliminated her femininity and took on a neutral gender. In many ways this appears to still happen today. Women who are successful athletes in non-traditional sports must first eliminate their feminine side before being taken seriously.


National Velvet
Name: Madeleine
Date: 2003-02-12 09:25:45
Link to this Comment: 4551

I think it's interesting to look at Velvet's ostensible gender neutrality in National velvet. On one level, she does manifest a certain gender neutrality; cutting her hair short, passing as a male jockey (even when another jockey bullies her), etc. She also displays a lot of positive traits (frequently associated more with men, incorrectly) such determination, discipline, a substantial willingness to work at it over and over, brains, and heart. So in those ways, she's gender neutral.
But I have to say, I think calling Elizabeth Taylor, at any age, "gender neutral" is an inadvertantly ironical statement. While Velvet does cut her hair and pass for a male jockey, she remains throughout the movie one of the most distinctly "feminine"-looking female "athletes" I've ever seen in a movie. She has delicate features, luminous blue eyes and a cupid's mouth, all accented by makeup. Her portrayal of Velvet is as a passionate, emotional and breathily-voiced girl. And I'm not by any means condemning her portrayal: it's a good one, and Velvet is a sweet, smart, and likeable child. But just in terms of gender neutrality: if her role is so neutral, try to imagine Mickey Rooney playing the role of Velvet. *eep*


Gender Neutral?
Name: Nicole
Date: 2003-02-12 14:08:43
Link to this Comment: 4553

Interesting observation, Madeleine. It seems at times the film attempts to "have it both ways". Playing up Velvet's adolescence so as to assure the viewer she is not a woman, making a strong case for gender neutrality, and then suggesting that Velvet is female with female desires. The scene of Velvet on the bed preparing to ride Pie could be interpreted as sexual. It is also interesting to note the similarities between the boy?s name and the horse (Mi and Pie). In the end, the film fails to address Velvet being disqualified as a female rider, and instead disqualifies her for a "technicality" -- dismounting from her horse before she has reached the appropriate place. Fainting, of which Velvet does quiet a bit, is often thought of as a specifically female characteristic.


question 3
Name: Angela Mur
Date: 2003-02-13 10:00:17
Link to this Comment: 4566

3. How does the cultural ideal of sport relate to the cultural ideal of women in society?

The cultural ideal of society is brought into sport by the way women are portrayed.
In sport the common thought that is put to the forefront and called upon when challenges are made to why there isn't more media coverage or more prize money or anything close to equal between the womens and mens sports is that women aren't as physically able to do these sports. This is quite annoying, for some of the women who train just like the men, to be able to compete with the men, during which time they develop *gasp* muscles as big as a man, they are referred to as freaks, or not females, and most certainly not role models. So who does the sports media think should be role models? Well, basketball players and soccer players and any one else who has these characteristics: skinny, pretty, married, and whatever else that doesn't make the world think that women are getting too powerful. Granted this isn't all the pictures out there, but they are the predominant one's.


relation of cultural ideals for sport and women in
Name: Jennifer L
Date: 2003-02-13 15:47:49
Link to this Comment: 4580

3. How does the cultural ideal of sport relate to the cultural ideal of women in society?

The cultural ideal of sport and the cultural ideal of women in society are not easily intertwined. There are many features of women athletes which are not in the cultural norm for women in society. The movie, A Hero for Daisy, shown in the Wesleyan University Gender and Sport course, shows female athlete, Chris Ernsts, overcoming barriers that existed. Chris Ernst was a female rower at Yale University. She told stories of inequality in the sport between the men's and women's team, in terms of equal facilities and equipment. She knew the only way to make a statement and have change instituted at the university was to make a immense non-destructive political statement. The crew team invited a New York Times journalist and photographer to attend their demonstration. They marched into the women's athletic heads department in their team uniforms. They formed into rows and completely undressed, showing the words Title IX written all over their bodies. After the demonstration made national news, Yale was very quick to reformat and show equality in the facilities and equipment for men's and women's athletics. Even thought this brought about change, Chris Ernst was considered a rebel, or trouble in the eye's of some people. The university and others believed this was not a statement or action that women should participate in society.
Later on in life Chris Ernst, went on to qualify for the Olympics in rowing. Due to her unbelievable muscular appearance, she was tested three times by the Olympic committee for gender. They did not believe that a female could develop such large muscles and have great athletic ability. This shows society's relentless denial of a women's ability to form such features by hard work and dedication and athletic. She was viewed as un-normal and manly.
There should be no double standards for men and women in society and sport. The cultural ideal of women in society as small framed, gentle, quiet and obedient is a mentality of a long time ago. A woman should be able to be an aggressive muscle machine in sports as well as men, without being judged. Furthermore, their sexuality should not be questioned by such actions. Also to make revolutionary breakthroughs in women's sports a woman should not be deemed "rebellious" to help make strides for her fellow athletes. No one would ever question a man who was trying to progress male sports. Just because a women is aggressive, muscular and determined in sports and life does not mean she can't be feminine, gentle, and caring at the same time. Until society can be open-minded about gender equality, on and off the field, many negative stereotypes and connotations will be associated with women in sports.


Body IMage -"A hero for daisy"
Name: Corey Gitt
Date: 2003-02-13 16:03:14
Link to this Comment: 4581

Hello all,
I just wanted to briefly discuss cultural ideals of women, how women are portrayed in the media, and gender roles and women as athletes. I am in the Wes gender and sport class. We did not watch National Velvet we did however watch "A Hero for Daisy" which is about a woman rower and her difficulties with sports, crew, college, and gender issues. She like many women athletes have to deal with constant scrutiny of body image. What is the perfect body for a woman vs. what is the perfect body image for an athlete? She was very muscular and society felt intimidated by her muscles and presence. I feel that the media has always tried to portray the woman athlete as still being very feminine and delicate. Until, recently the ideal body of a woman has always been small and frail. However, when the U.S. woman's soccer team one the championship and Brandy Chastain ripped off her tshirt millions of people noticed her six pack and rippling muscles. I feel that was a defining moment for the history of women's sports and body image. The media ate up the picture of Brandy and she was pictured on the cover of many magazines, in all the newspapers, and commercials. By showing the confidence of her muscular body she showed to women and men that it is ok to be muscular. Women should not be afraid to be muscular, it does not mean that they are more "manly" than men. It simply shows that they are confident and enjoy being fit. In "A Hero for Daisy" she is very confident with her body and is not scared to show it off. She stood up for her rights as a woman and as an athlete and should be an inspiration to all women and atheletes. The important thing for being a hero is not gender but rather attitude and determination.


Gender Neutral?
Name: Sunmin Lee
Date: 2003-02-13 18:18:36
Link to this Comment: 4587

2. What role does gender play as enhancing the athletic image of women in sport? What influence, what difference, did the image of Velvet as being gender neutral ?and in fact trying to pass as a male jockey. What does this say about women in sport, women in male domains, and the cultural ideal of women? Is this applicable toady?

In the movie "National velvet," Velvet is often refered as a "little girl." The usuage of this term plays a significant role in the development of the movie. The first usuage of this term is to reinorce that Velvet is just a "little girl." Naive, not a full-grown woman yet, thus, it is acceptable to make a mistake or go a little beyond the pre-set gender boundary. The second usuage of the term is to let her realize she IS a girl, who will become a woman. The second usuage is to press social restrictions against her. Throughout the movie, these two different identities as a "little girl" are used to justify her actions. Velvet's mother says several times that a little girl needs to do this or that to justify what Velvet does. Also, at the end, people in England are generous for what Velvet does because she is a "little girl." Then, I want to ask, is a "little girl" gender neutral? I say that it is not the gender neutrality that kept Velvet from being criticized, but the ambiguity of her identity as a "little girl."


Women on the web
Name: Richard Le
Date: 2003-02-13 21:57:06
Link to this Comment: 4593

Comparing the websites of women's sports with those of the men, I found surprising differences in how athletes are portrayed. There is a section at wnba.com called "This is Who I Am", which features pictures of women in their "everyday clothes". Yet most of the women are actually wearing lavish dresses, makeup, and jewelry. One is even wearing what a wedding dress and another is donning a tight leather suit. I doubt this is what they look like when they head to the grocery store. One of the players, Ticha Penicheiro, notes: "People...always see us sweating with a ponytail, they don't know how we look, and this is great promotion for the league and for myself and for the other athletes." What is wrong with seeing sweaty women with ponytails? Clearly there is pressure for female athletes to compensate for their athleticism by presenting a more feminine side.

Looking at the websites of other prominent women's sports—golf, tennis, and soccer—you find the same things. The LPGA website has a page featuring wedding pictures of recently married golfers. What is more feminine than the classic white wedding dress? Meanwhile, the WTA Tour has a section called "Off the Court", which includes an article on Justine Henin's upcoming marriage. The WUSA website has a similar page entitled "Off the Field". Meanwhile, men's sports coverage is purely focused on the sports. There is no mention of off the court activities, nor will you find any pictures of athletes wearing anything but their uniforms. For men, uniforms, muscles, and sweat are all a part of their masculinity, so there is no need to display another side of their lives.

I also think the reason for this discrepancy in the media is that female athletes aren't taken as seriously as their male counterparts. When the WNBA was established, my friends and I mocked it and thought of it as something of a joke. I'm more enlightened now, but there are obviously still many people who think this way. In general, women's sports don't carry the same clout as men's sports, and likewise women athletes don't have the same clout as men. Male athletes are simply athletes, while media coverage of female athletes portrays them as regular people who also happen to play sports. It will take time for these attitudes to change, but when they do, we will start to see more women make money comparable to men, and not as many women in wedding dresses.


WEEK 3 Questions
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2003-02-16 16:11:54
Link to this Comment: 4626

The class at Smith, Bryn Mawr and Wesleyan have viewed a few different films--all films have themes that connect to the larger questions of women and sport. Please respond to the questions based upon the films you have watched. Feel free to comment on the themes that link all of our classes together in the broader conversation about women, sport, Title IX, gender etc. Enjoy the conversation!!

1. What is the cultural ideal displayed by the main characters in each film? What norms/ideals of the time, do the characters challenge and expand?

2. What is the relationship between the main characters in the films and their message about women and sport? Has it had an impact on what is happening in women's sport today? How does it effect womne who are not engaged in sport?

3. How does the media - print - video/movie - web - portary women and sport? Is it helpful?


Love and Basketball.
Name: Madeleine
Date: 2003-02-17 13:45:25
Link to this Comment: 4637

In regards to the different movies' portrayals of women and sports, one thing that I liked about Love and Basketball was that the main female character, Monica, had a clear personality, both within and outside of the context of basketball. While she was clearly a classy, tough, intelligent, dedicated and lovely basketball player, she was also clearly a classy, tough, intelligent, dedicated and lovely person. One flaw that I felt National Velvet allowed itself was that Velvet seemed like a sweet child, but if you took the Horse-obsession out of her personality, I would have had no idea what she'd be like. With Monica, if basketball were removed, I could imagine her pursuing almost any occupation, athletic or not, with the same passion and fervor.
I think that's important, because frequently, the media attempts to construct personality, or a persona, for female athletes. This is understandably poor taste; these women all already have strong personalities and are real people. By clearly showing a real woman, who is just as much as real athlete, Love and Basketball achieves a rare quality.


L & B
Name: Richard Le
Date: 2003-02-18 17:12:02
Link to this Comment: 4664

I really enjoyed Love and Basketball and thought it did a great job of portraying Monica as a strong woman. The antithesis of this movie would probably be the terrible She's All That, where the "geeky" Rachel Leigh Cook turns into the school's prom queen. The message of that movie is that you need to be beautiful and wear make-up in order to be happy. On the other hand, the only time we ever see Monica dressed up is for her senior prom, where she looked better than any of the other "popular" girls. Still, I think she looked better in a t-shirt and ponytail than she did wearing a dress and lipstick. It was also nice to see her running around the court, sweating, and exerting herself. In the gym, we see her bench-pressing, which is generally thought of as one of the most masculine exercises. I remember going to the Wesleyan gym last semester and seeing, for the first time (not that I go very often), a girl bench-pressing. I was surprised, but it was great to see a girl performing a particularly masculine exercise.

Monica's mom is also an interesting character. We initially see her as just a weak, submissive housewife, which she is to some extent. But after her argument with Monica, we see a different side of her. She took pride in caring and loving for her family. Women can be strong and independent as housewives, just as much as basketball players. My only problem with the movie was the ending. The implication was that basketball didn't mean anything for Monica without her man. Basketball was such an important part of her life and it seems ridiculous that this strong-willed woman lost her love for the game when she lost her man.


love and basketball
Name: natalie
Date: 2003-02-18 19:26:05
Link to this Comment: 4665

I had never seen love and basketball and really didn't expect a film dealing with such complicated issues as women in sports. It was not just concerned with a love story, but the story of a woman struggling with an athletic passion and her trying to balance that with her role as a woman or specifically, as a mate of an athletic man. She is expected to not exceed his abilities because it is naturally assumed that he is better at basketball. Her athletic talent and aspirations should come secondary to his. Contrary to many films dealing with women's issues, this one ended on a good note, with the man supporting the woman and not the woman subordinating herself to the man. This film was thought provoking and intelligent, showing many facets of female athleticism. It was great that we could watch it for this class, though its too bad we can't discuss it outside of the online forum. I'll be interested to read other posts.



Name: Liz Marcus
Date: 2003-02-19 07:53:17
Link to this Comment: 4669

It was great contrasting National Velvet with Love and Bassketball since they both portray women in sport, but in two very different lights. The way they were portrayed were very appropriate for the times they were produced. In National Velvet, Velvet is a strong women/girl who dares to go against the norm by competing in the horse race. However, the support of her mother helped her greatly in getting there. This can cause viewers to see the mother as also a main figure in Velvet's success. However, Monica, in Love and Basketball, was on her own in forging the path to athletics. It is a modern image of what many girls/women experience when they go into athletics. Therefore, Velvet takes the submissive athlete role in many ways while Monica is a "rebel" for wanting to play basketball.


Question #3
Name: Angela Mur
Date: 2003-02-19 17:46:42
Link to this Comment: 4675

Example

Both of these links are from Sports Illustrated. In the first example, click on a link to a man and you will find many pictures of him in action or participating in the sport. Click on a women's link and you will find a couple of action shots as well as a few shots of her family, and maybe her boyfriend. Right..
So, how does the media portray women in sports. Well, they portray them as feminine, overly. "Don't want to portray them as only having sport. Of course they have a family! Look, look, there's her BOYfriend". Please. Women in sports are portrayed in a light to be sure to remind you that they don't put all their time into sports, that the do have relationships. With men, they don't. You pick up a SI to see how the teams are doing and to see the best players. You don't pick one up to see who your favorite female star is dating, or how her kids are doing in school. I beieve that, though they are actually showing women in sports magazines, which is better than before, it's still a hinderence to the image.


love and basketball, 2
Name: natalie
Date: 2003-02-19 21:07:48
Link to this Comment: 4685

?What is the relationship between the main characters in the films and their message about women and sport? Has it had an impact on what is happening in women's sport today? How does it effect womne who are not engaged in sport?


One interesting part of this film I noticed, in relation to this question, is its portrayl of women's basketball as a much smaller institution compared to the men's superstructural basketball industry. Men have the benefit of an established sport, in which they can rely on set fans and revenues as well as endorcements and sponsorships. With Title 9, women's basketball organizations began to come together and attempt to imitate the success of men's basketball. Unfortunatley, we didn't get an organization such as the WNBA to compete with the NBA untill fairly recently. Also unfortunatley, the base of fans and support for the WNBA is severely inferior to that of the men's NBA. Both in terms of viewership interested and enterprise sponsorship they are severely lacking in comparison. However, I think at this point in time, the opportunity for the WNBA to grow and compete equally with the NBA is in place. What is lacking at this monent is a public support for the WNBA. Society doesn't value its female baskeball players like it does their male counterparts. Men's basketball is seen as more competitive and therefore far more interesting. I wonder what would have to change in society in order for there to be a peaked or equalled interest in women's basketball...


Love and Basketball
Name: Jennifer L
Date: 2003-02-19 22:52:43
Link to this Comment: 4687

1. What is the cultural ideal displayed by the main characters in each film? What norms/ideals of the time, do the characters challenge and expand?

In the film, Love and Basketball, the main characters, Monica and Quincy, mature over the years and face challenges that they must overcome. As a young girl, Monica possesses basketball talents. When she to play with the boys they agree because she dresses like a boy and was wearing a hat. Quincy and the other little boys could not believe that a girl could play ball. She challenged the idea that a girl can play sports and possibly even better than a boy. The boys made fun of her saying that she was weird or a "dog" for not molding into the conventional little girl in a dress role. As Monica grows older she continues to exhibit masculine characteristics in terms of her love of the sport. Due to her cut, muscular and lean body, she receives comments that she is a tom-boy. Her mother, who does not give her approval and support, makes a comment to Monica about how I wish you would grow out of the stage. This shows disapproval for the course in sports Monica has chosen to take. She excels on the court, but like any player shows emotion when a bad call is made. Her frustration and anger at the official is considered unladylike however, if it was a man giving his opinion, by society it would be considered appropriate. This is unfair. These double standards should not exist in sports. Monica continues to challenge the ideals of the time by continuing to play basketball after college on European teams. She will not admit that this is the end of her career. Her love of basketball and her hard work and perseverance pays off and eventually she makes it to the WNBA. It sends out a message to female athletes to work hard and follow ones' instincts and dreams.
Quincy growing up at times had societal ideals for women in sport as well as men. As a little boy, he was like girls can't play ball, and was thoroughly surprised when Monica showed up with skills. To him it was unfathomable that a girl can play ball. Over time, he recognizes that girls can play sports. This idea is one he accepts, even though the rest of society might not be in accord. He is proud of Monica for what she has accomplished, although he may not admit it out loud. However, Quincy continues to fall into the social norms of a man in sports. He is recognized and idolized for his talents. The movie also shows the emphasis of male sports in the world. At USC the men's basketball team plays in an arena, there is an enormous spectator turn out and the event is highly publicized and even televised. The women's team plays in a small gym, for a small crowd, which was highly unpublicized. It demonstrates that male sports sell and that people do not take female sports seriously enough to support it to that great extent. During his college career, Quincy decides that he wants to go professional. It is acceptable that an athlete with great talent can quit school and be drafted for the NBA. This is due to the fact that people believe the NBA is a respectable job for a male. If a female was to quit her education in order to further her athletic career, it might be deemed as irresponsible or reckless. Life in the NBA is not as glamorous as Quincy had thought it would be since her tore his ACL. It exemplifies the hard work he needed to put in to elevate himself to the standards that society expected of an NBA player. After triumph and tragedy, love conquers all in basketball.



Name: Liz Marcus
Date: 2003-02-20 07:26:00
Link to this Comment: 4696

If you compare the two women protrayed, it can be seen that Velvet sticks more closely to the female stereotype and ideal while Monica challenges the ideals. Although, after talking to others who have seen the movie outside of the class, many of us agreed that we liked Monica's character better and identified with her more. In many ways she is the modern version of what it means to be a female athlete. If Mrs. Brown was mixed into the picture in various degrees, the situation that many of us, as athletes, experienced would be seen. Monica challenges the ideals set forth before her like that girls should wear dresses and not get cut and bruises. This an ideal that seems to be challenged more every day.


love and basketball
Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2003-02-20 11:24:21
Link to this Comment: 4699

Love and Basketball tries to show how being a female athlete might cause difficulties in a woman's personal life. The main character often has to choose between pursuing her dream and being attractive to men, or getting approval from her mother. In the end she is happy with her career because she also has a husband and child. She almost gives up basketball because she says she does not enjoy it anymore, but the real reason seems to be that she feels lonely. The movie gives the message that women still have difficulty choosing between family and career, and that women will not be happy without both these things in their lives. While the male basketball players have women waiting at home for them, and have affairs when they are on tour, the film suggests that it is not possible for female athletes to live this way.


Love and Basketball
Name: Munira
Date: 2003-02-20 12:28:21
Link to this Comment: 4700

I really enjoyed watching this movie mainly because I found it to be a well thought out portrayal of two athletes of different sexes yet similar goals, and the paths through which they attempted to achieve them. The charactor of Monica, in particular, was exciting because she wasn't portrayed as someone of only 2 dimension, but as a women with so great a passion for something that it dominated her life. In the beginning of the movie I did get the impression that there was going to be a a differentiation between the two main charactors, and that line would be drawn because of their respective sexes. The male athlete was allowed to be more abbrasive and hot tempered,while the female athlete constantly needed to be in control of her emotions otherwise they would be used against her. The difference I think is that for male athletes, society seems to see their talent first, and then their behavior. Whereas with female athletes, first society needs to be able to see past their behavior in order to finally see their talent. It was important for Monica not to lose her temper on the court in order for people to really begin to recognize her talent.


careers in sports
Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2003-02-20 14:30:35
Link to this Comment: 4704

i find myself thinking about what kind of messages young girls receive from the media about sports. while men's sports are available at almost any time of day, one hardly ever sees women's sports on TV. i know that as a child i was encouraged to play sports, and be on a team, but boys got to look at al these sports heroes. the only women i remember seeing doing a sport on TV were olympic figure skaters, and figure skating is so similar to dance-it's a feminine sport. in love and basketball, monica was determined to be a basketball player because that was the only thing that she was interested in. but she really had to push herself to get what she wanted. even her family encouraged her to try other interests out. quincy, however, had a dad who was a pro-ball player, so it was natural, even expected that he would play, too. i think that this movie really shows that while careers in sports are possible for women, they are encouraged for men.


Comment
Name: Sunmin Lee
Date: 2003-02-20 18:35:51
Link to this Comment: 4721

I find Natalie's observation on WNBA interesting. Not only WNBA, it is true that men's league or games are more popular than women's, and I wonder why. It is thought that men's games are more aggressive, dramatic, and powerful, which people seek for in sports. When I really think about it, it is not necessarily true. However, the prejudice is so deeply embeded in the society that people have them without knowing where it came from.



Name:
Date: 2003-02-20 18:48:22
Link to this Comment: 4726

2. What is the relationship between the main characters in the films and their message about women and sport? Has it had an impact on what is happening in women's sport today? How does it effect womne who are not engaged in sport?

In "Love and Basketball,"


Love and Basketball
Name: Sunmin Lee
Date: 2003-02-20 19:10:19
Link to this Comment: 4732

Oops...I hit the enter key accidentally....the anonymous commnet right above is my mistake. Sorry about that.

Since other people focused more on the gender issue within the film, I would like to discuss on how the film portary Monica and Quincy.
In "Love and Basketball," Monica finds herself in a position where she needs to choose between her boyfriend Quincy and basketball. She chooses basketball but loses Quincy instead. I expected that Monica will be criticized for her decison. It is not because I wanted her to be, but that kind of development is usual in the movie. I was surprised, but in a good way. It is interesting how the film does not portray the streotypical gender figure. Rather, the film portrays Monica and Quincy as two atheletes who are trying to find their way in different conditions and expectations.


Love and Basketball
Name: Madeleine
Date: 2003-02-20 22:09:39
Link to this Comment: 4736

One other thing that I very much liked about Love and Basketball was the degree to which Monica was presented as a three-dimensional character. In reading the posts above, I saw that some people touched on this, and I just wanted to add that I really liked that. Monica was a woman, and a phenomenal basketball player. She was also nervous, touchy, occaisionally belligerant, sometimes non-communicative, etc. She was a human being, as well as a woman, as well as a basketball player. I think that the world of sports is very slowly coming to accept women as athletes. Once the world of sports starts accepting "flawed" women as athletes (ie, women athletes who aren't physically perfect, charming, and "ladylike"), that will be a real landmark.


Love and Basketball
Name: Corey Gitt
Date: 2003-02-20 22:17:30
Link to this Comment: 4737

The movie "Love and Basketball" is a great movie that deals with the question of women, sports, and family life. Monica, the main character in "Love and Basketball" is a female athlete throughout her entire life. As a child she was considered a "tom boy" and was always told to behave more like a "girl." However, Monica refused to give up her dream of playing basketball in the pros. She showed a determined spirit despite the hardships of not having support of her mother. Her mother, a stay at home mom, was always trying to make Monica more of a girl; she states, " I just want you to enjoy being beautiful." While in college she also faced pressure from her boyfriend, Quincy, who said that she spent too much time playing basketball and not enough time paying attention to him. Although the emphasis throughout her life was always to be pretty, feminine, and have a boyfriend Monica continued with basketball. Her intensity and determination eventually changed the minds of others to accept that she was not going to go away. Furthermore, the movie emphasized Monica's toned body. Years ago the image of a muscular female body was frowned upon but over the years the body image has changed and the movie shows that a toned female body is accepted and appreciated.
The determination of Monica and other female athletes, not to give up when they are faced with hardships, has helped the advancement of women's sports. When Monica first got out of college all her fellow basketball players, including herself, had to travel overseas in order to play. Without the opportunities in the United States, female athletes were forced to play in another country where they were without their family, friends, fans, and sometimes without even understanding the language. However, when she returns home she is able to play in the WNBA and continue her dream. Quincy, her boyfriend and later husband, supports her when she has given up. As more and more women show their interest and determination in playing sports hopefully the number of opportunities will also increase.


Week 4 Questions
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2003-02-22 09:33:45
Link to this Comment: 4748

Please answer one of the three questions:

1. Is it advancement for women in sport, that the main character is the first woman on the cover of SURFING magazine? Why or why not?

2. (Same as week #1) What is the cultural ideal of women in sport? And how does it differ from men?

3. How does this film stereotype the main and supporting characters in this film?


Blue Crush
Name: Corey Gitt
Date: 2003-02-23 11:55:37
Link to this Comment: 4760

I feel that this movie does stereotype the main and supporting characters to some extent. They are stereotyped through the way they look, dress, speak, and act. For example the main character, Ann Marie, has the typical surfer body, skinny with blonde hair. Furthermore, I find it interesting that she wears a string bikini to surf in. This personally bothered me because I feel that in order to do anything athletic you are unable to wear a skimpy bikini that is meant for tanning and showing of the body. The movie did however; try to destroy part of the typical stereotype of a girl by showing Ann Marie's competitive attitude side. Yet, once again one of the main reasons that she goes out in the ocean after her bad crash into the waves is because of the man. Matt, the football player tells her one of his own personal stories, and only after getting encouragement from a male does she continue to compete. Ann Marie's sister however is portrayed as the typical girly girl. She is seeing being ditzy around all the boys. Ann Marie comments about how her sister only goes out on the surfboard to get attention from the guys and does not even surf.
The men in the movie are also stereotyped. The football players in the movie are also stereotyped. The first impression we get of them is when the girls walk into the filthy hotel room. We get the impression that all they do is party and have sex, when we see the used condom on the floor. Furthermore, the way in which the football players strut around dancing and acting like they are the "top dogs" is also very stereotypical for male athletes. The local surfer guys are stereotyped in that they are exactly what you would see on the cover of a surfer magazine, tan bodies with perfect six packs. They also have the typical macho male attitude of defending their turf when the football player is found at their beach. Overall, the characters in the movie did fit some stereotypes. There were exceptions and little things about each character that helped to destroy their typical stereotype.


Blue Crush Response
Name: Jennifer L
Date: 2003-02-23 20:31:04
Link to this Comment: 4769

3. How does this film stereotype the main and supporting characters in this film?
The movie Blue Crush does form stereotypical views of the main and supporting characters in the film. It sheds both glorious and unfavorable light on certain aspects of the lives of females and males in Hawaii. It also exemplifies typical male belief in regards to women in sports.
The main female characters are displayed in a typical Hawaiian manner. They are tall beautiful, thin and tan. They are shown as "local" girls, just wanting to catch some waves and do not care about their futures. Instead of going to school they work as maids in a hotel. This illustrates that they have no upward occupational mobility and will be waiting on people for the rest of their lives. This is not the way that all people in Hawaii live and surfing is not all that they care about. They also place an emphasis on how the younger sister of Anne Marie, Penny, goes to school but out of force. It makes a generalization that all women in Hawaii do not think education is important, when there are people who care about their future.
In terms of sports and athletics, the three main female characters are very serious about surfing. However, they have to deal with the daily taunting from the male surfers that surfing is not a sport for girls. It presents the stereotypical male belief that girls can not ride the "real" or pipeline waves and that men are the only ones able. To prove that she is serious, Anne Marie has to join the boys and prove that she is for real about competing with them on the serious or dangerous waves. She has to earn their respect rather than just get it for attempting to ride the pipe waves. I also thought the scene when all the girls were at the house and Eden was watching a home video of Anne Marie as a little girl dominating the waves at a co-ed junior surfing competition was very interesting. Eden reminded Anne Marie how the league imposed a new rule after she won first place, denying girls the admittance to the competition in the future. This demonstrates how society does not give approval of girl being better at a sport than boys.
The males in this film also undergo stereotypical scrutiny. The football players who come to Hawaii on vacation are shown as partiers who run around spending hundreds of dollars like it is pocket change. They are men with lots of money, not a care in the world and are very egocentric. The local males are also illustrated in a unique respect. They are depicted as serious surfers who do not like outsiders in their surfing community. They believe that certain spots on the island are special spots for the locals and not the tourists. It is like an animal marking his territory, and those who enter will be punished, or in the case of the movie the boys will fight it out.
Blue Crush gives the female characters strength, independence and forms unique women, who are trying to overcome the gender barriers in sports. It gives encouragement to the younger female audiences, showing that with hard work and dedication a woman can achieve the same respect as men in a male dominated sport.


blue crush
Name: Richard Le
Date: 2003-02-24 00:19:02
Link to this Comment: 4781

I knew Blue Crush wouldn't win any Oscars, but I was optimistic that it would be a fun, feel-good movie. For the most part it was, but all the great surfing scenes couldn't overcome the mediocre acting and story. Like Attack of the Clones, the romance killed this movie. Instead of the support of Anne Marie's best friends, it's the encouragement of her one-week old boy toy, Matt, that gives her the strength to go on. Did anyone else have a problem with the fact that he basically paid Anne Marie for sex?
Corey mentioned that one positive is Anne Marie's competitive spirit. This is true, and we see her strength and toughness when she is training at the beginning of the movie and when she continued after hitting the rock (what happened to the blood?). But in general, I think the movie reinforces the idea that women aren't very competitive. Her old rival, Eden, is now helping her and says she gave up because she knew she wasn't as good a surfer as Anne Marie. Kala, the top women's surfer also helps Anne Marie when she is struggling. As nice as it was to see this display of sportsmanship, it was very unbelievable since they were supposed to be in competition with each other. Contrast that with Love and Basketball, where Monica is in a fierce battle for the starting point guard position.
The men in the movie aren't portrayed any better as the football players are little more then stereotypes. There was Leslie, the audacious black linebacker, who was a replica of Warren Sapp, and Matt, the pretty-boy white quarterback. The players' wives and girlfriends were even worse. Materialistic and snobby, they were only with the football players for their fame and money. The film's only redeeming quality was the surfing scenes, although how did Anne Marie's bikini top never fall off?


blue crush
Name: Richard Le
Date: 2003-02-24 20:19:40
Link to this Comment: 4793

I knew Blue Crush wouldn't win any Oscars, but I was optimistic that it would be a fun, feel-good movie. For the most part it was, but all the great surfing scenes couldn't overcome the mediocre acting and story. Like Attack of the Clones, the romance killed this movie. Instead of the support of Anne Marie's best friends, it's the encouragement of her one-week old boy toy, Matt, that gives her the strength to go on. Did anyone else have a problem with the fact that he basically paid Anne Marie for sex?
Corey mentioned that one positive is Anne Marie's competitive spirit. This is true, and we see her strength and toughness when she is training at the beginning of the movie and when she continued after hitting the rock (what happened to the blood?). But in general, I think the movie reinforces the idea that women aren't very competitive. Her old rival, Eden, is now helping her and says she gave up because she knew she wasn't as good a surfer as Anne Marie. Kala, the top women's surfer also helps Anne Marie when she is struggling. As nice as it was to see this display of sportsmanship, it was very unbelievable since they were supposed to be in competition with each other. Contrast that with Love and Basketball, where Monica is in a fierce battle for the starting point guard position.
The men in the movie aren't portrayed any better as the football players are little more then stereotypes. There was Leslie, the audacious black linebacker, who was a replica of Warren Sapp, and Matt, the pretty-boy white quarterback. The players' wives and girlfriends were even worse. Materialistic and snobby, they were only with the football players for their fame and money. The film's only redeeming quality was the surfing scenes, although how did Anne Marie's bikini top never fall off?


Blue Crush
Name: Madeleine
Date: 2003-02-25 13:02:23
Link to this Comment: 4831

In light of Blue Crush, I have to say that I do feel it was fairly stereotyped regarding perceptions of women, women athletes, and male athletes. The football players were shown as oversized louts, with shallow and plasticky trophy girlfriends. (Now, they also seemed to have sense of humor, and were capable of self-deprecation, which was surprising). And Matt, the ostensible Prince Charming of the movie, had a good point; Anne Marie's character at the beginning wouldn't have wanted a Prince Charming anyway.
I was also struck by the stereotyping as far as the female characters were concerned. Even beyond the pretty obvious surfer-girl-must-be-slender-blond-attractive-and-scantily-clad, it seemed bizarre to me that her two friends had virtually no characters except as they related to her. With the exception of Eden's past competitiveness (which has been sublimated into support for AM), the two girls are effectively relegated into the stereotypical roles of wives-without-personality: they seem to live their entire lives around Anne Marie's life; they quit their jobs for her, then keep them because she needs them to pay the rent, Eden spends all her time trying to make Anne Marie train, and neither is shown as having any other friends or attachments outside of Anne Marie and her sister. So while Anne Marie was at least ostensibly a developed character, her two friends were nothing more than attractive and supportive sidekicks, not even given noticeable last names.



Name: Liz Marcus
Date: 2003-02-26 22:25:11
Link to this Comment: 4854

Blue Crush would be great...if you took out the romance plot. I was very pleased to see that here was a movie that was about a girl raising her sister, working, and pursuing a passion of hers. When the romance theme entered, it took away from the idea of women's empowerment. Perhaps, she was just as empowered with the romance, but the way the relationship was portrayed, it appeared as though he was her drive and motivation. It is unrealistic to say that she was self-motivated and then the next day, needed a football player to make her feel she could succeed. Therefore, it was a good movie in ways, but did nothing to forward the idea of women being true competitors in the sport. The sceen with the other female surfer was the most empowering, even though it was a bit unrealistic. I can not go as far as saying it damaged women even more in the way they are thought about in terms of athletics, but it certainly did not help their image.


surfing!
Name: natalie
Date: 2003-02-27 11:14:12
Link to this Comment: 4863

I'd like to respond to the first question - whether or not it is an advancement for women athletes to have a woman surfer on the surfing magazine. I personally think that any sort of athletic coverage of women is positive. There are, of course, degrees of that positivity but as long as we can keep ourselves out there on the cover of whatever magazine, exposing our hidden athletic abilities, women will continue to have opportunities. However, it would be nice if that coverage wouldn't be so biased, ie presenting women in such sexually oriented photographs or in domestic settings in ways in which male athletes would NEVER be portrayed. But as long as we're making small steps, I think we should rejoyce and encourage.


Cultural idea of women in sports
Name: Sunmin Lee
Date: 2003-02-27 17:30:23
Link to this Comment: 4873

In most societies, a woman's identity is believed to be embeded in her sexuality, and America is not an exception. She is primarily seen as sexual partner, child bearer, and nurturer. Thus, one of the most common associations between women and sports links women's primary sexual identity and role with sports. Sexuality affects sports in an important way; cultral beliefs in women's inherent sexuality may motivate the separation of or restriction imposed upon women's sports/physical activities. If a female athelete ignore the restriction and pursue her activities, she is simply categorized as "sexless" kind. For example, if a female athelete is very aggessive or buff, she is categorized as "sexless" type because she does not meet the social convention of how women should be. This does not apply to male athelets, but they do have some social expectation they should live upto.


stereotypes
Name: Elizabeth
Date: 2003-03-18 21:54:41
Link to this Comment: 5073

Blue Crush stereotyped its characters by not fully developing them. Other than being aspiring surfers, who struggle to make ends meet working as maids, the women in the film do not seem to have any deeper desires. They look good in bikinis, and they want improvements for women in sports, but we know little about their internal development. The football player was inserted as a romantic interest to emphasize that the main character was heterosexual-that her sexuality was not affected by her athleticism. So the football player is there only to be male and heterosexual. Other than that, he has no character.


old post
Name: Natalie
Date: 2003-03-19 16:47:44
Link to this Comment: 5100

I wanted to respond to a question from an archived week (I missed one before but I'm not sure if this is it or not.....hopefully so...):

2. What role does gender play as enhancing the athletic image of women in sport? What influence, what difference, did the image of Velvet as being gender neutral ?and in fact trying to pass as a male jockey. What does this say about women in sport, women in male domains, and the cultural ideal of women? Is this applicable toady?

I thought the film National Velvet was interesting, mostly because it was so old. I would have like to know how the movie was recieved and if anyone found the girl's actions slightly off or odd in reference to the times. Mostly I would think that because Velvet cut off her hair she might have recieved some chiding and dissapointment from her family and townspeople. However that certainly wasn't depicted - which is good. It was also interesting that she participated in the race and when she didn't win no one stood up for her. It was expected that she would recieve that sort of a response. I guess that wasn't surprising, just dissapointing. It is interesting to consider the things which are considered taboo for women to do. In this case - riding a horse wasn't taboo, but riding a horse in a specific context was. I think that often it is not only certain actions which people disagree with or which grates against social norms, but it is the context in which they are participated in.





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