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Women, Sport, and Film - Billie Jean King Forum

Women, Sport, and Film - Billie Jean King Forum


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Dare To Compete
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-01-29 18:17:08 :
Link to this Comment: 7825

1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.
2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is teh culture of sport still changing?


Howdy
Name: Tegan.
Date: //2004-02-01 01:01:28 :
Link to this Comment: 7859

1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

Hi team.

I'm Tegan, I'm from Texas, I live in Erdman, I'm a philosophy major, and I was once on the losing-est little league team our division had ever seen.

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?

It's good I suppose that women are no longer kept from athletic endeavors for fear of "harming their reproductive organs" or other such nonsense. I am as much a beneficiary of the widened acceptance of the "strong woman" culture as anyone else: I think a lot of that imagery becoming more and more popular has to do with women gaining access to sports.
Still, I think that sports--as well as the rest of society--have a long way to go before it's perfect: women unlike men are expected to be both athletic and pretty, strong but not overly masculine. Until strong and healthy can be considered human and not specifically masculine ideals, women are going to be at a disadvantage, and not only in sports.
Still, I think we're headed in that direction...


Hi
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-01 20:33:39 :
Link to this Comment: 7878

1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

Hi, I'm Julia. I'm currently living in Rochester; we just moved from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. I'm a frosh, so I have no idea what my major will be, but am trying many things out, including Archaeology and Computer Science. I'm rather accident prone, so sports were never a good thing for me to get into, though I took gymnastics at an early age. However, I did get into voice studies and I took lessons for four+ years.

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is teh culture of sport still changing?

Though the view of the ideal woman has changed from a docile, stay in the kitchen ideal to an athletic, powerful, take charge ideal, the views of women fitting into those ideals have not changed. For a woman to be considered "beautiful" or "athletic," she must fit into the ideal exactly. Any deviation from the ideal voids her beauty or her athleticism. She must still work to fulfill society's expectations of her. Women are beginning to be seen more in just the context of their skill than how they fit the ideal though, like men are. It doesn't matter what ideals you fulfill as long as you are good at what you do.

The changes over the years, such as women being able to compete more freely, have empowered women in a way that not much else has. Knowing that women have entered into a previously exclusive male society gave women hope that they could do anything, not just sports. It made women question that if they could participate in sports, what was keeping them from the high level jobs, the military, etc... Those impact of women in sports continues to affect other fields today.


Intro! Tada!
Name: Jessica
Date: //2004-02-01 20:33:42 :
Link to this Comment: 7879

I'm Jessica, I'm from Florida and I live in Rhodes North. I'm a pretty lazy person, I admit. Ironcially, I tried to get into Kickbox Aerobics this quarter but didn't. :( That was my major effort to have some kind of exercise, too. But I'm in next quarter, so that's okay!

Anyway, how does society's view of sports and women impact women today? I'd have to say that society's more accepting view has allowed women to become healthier people, because it's 'okay' for them to be physically active. In addition to this, since physical activity has generally been a masculine activity, I think society, in having been forced to admit that women can also be good at sports, has also been forced to admit that a woman can be a man's equal. So I think it's helped the cause of equality.

I believe that the culture of sports will always be changing. I don't much like sports myself, but if people are going to focus on spectator sports, I wish that they'd focus more on a player's ability and less on how pretty she is. On the other hand, I feel that, recently, it has become more acceptable for women to become messy and sweaty, so that's good.


Hi, I'm Sarah Halter
Name: Sarah Halt
Date: //2004-02-01 20:43:29 :
Link to this Comment: 7880

1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

My name is Sarah Halter. I'm a sophomore English major/history minor. I'm from the Cleveland area in Ohio, but I live in Rhoads North now.

I started playing softball when I was six because my parents thought it'd be good for me. I have such a love-hate relationship with that sport; I've detested it and wanted to quit so many times, yet I played varsity softball for four years in high school (I was the pitcher oh, the stress) and I even played at Bryn Mawr for PE last spring. I love soccer more than anything. I also swam for a while and was on a diving team. I decided to take a break from sports, though, when I came to college. And I really miss soccer. A lot. And I suppose I miss pitching, too.

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?

Well, clearly the changes influenced my life. I never knew a world where I wouldn't be allowed to play softball or soccer. It was just assumed that I was a kid and I should play so I could get some exercise. Like Tegan said, I feel I've benefited from the "strong woman" culture.

At the same time, it bothers me that my pitching instructor in high school needed three jobs, while various Cleveland Indians players spend millions on cars. I know complaining won't solve anything, but I wonder what the solution is. As much as the strong woman is appreciated, I think it's still more popular to be small and petite like a model, rather than healthy and well-built like a sportswoman. And that's sad.

The culture of sports is still changing a lot. Anyone else remember the little Women's World Cup scandal a few years ago when Brandi Chastain ripped her shirt off after scoring that winning goal? In soccer, male players usually rip their shirts off as a sign of victory when they score a goal. That's what Chastain was doing. But people threw a fit. The woman was wearing a sports bra and shorts (more clothes than all the Victoria Secrets models show), but people got really upset. I didn't get that. I mean, when she pulled her shirt off, I was almost in tears because I was so happy we won. And when I saw the photos from later, I remember looking at her arms for a while and thinking, "Wow! Look at those muscles! She's so cool." I don't know why people in this day of age got so upset.

My girlfriend read an article a few days ago in Newsweek. They had asked some sports guy (I don't remember his name) if he knew what would make women's soccer more popular. And this guy replied, "Tighter shorts." That makes me so angry. I mean, I look at Mia Hamm or Shannon MacMillan and I feel so amazed at what they can do. And then some silly person says something like that.

Sorry, I'll get off my high horse now. I guess I just think we have a long way to go and not just in sports.


Hi
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-02-02 04:07:04 :
Link to this Comment: 7895

I'm Katie Aker and a freshman at Rhoads South. My interests lie in art history and creative writing.

In today's society, the media's portrayal of the 'perfect' woman is one that is fit and toned, crash diets and exercises. Sports are no exclusion to media stereotypes. As in the film, women were expected to still look feminine while having the playing capabilities of men. Women in sport are supposedly portrayed as an image of power and strength, when their sex appeal is usually more at the focus of the media than there talent. In this perspective I think that women in sport have many more societal barriers to cross before being fully appreciated for their talent, strength, and power.

However we have come a long way when it comes the availability of sports to women. Although there are still flaws, Title 9 has been doing its job for the most part: integrating women into the world of sport. With this equality also comes more pressure to be the perfect sports figure.

Another issue that needs to be addressed, not only for women in sports, but in the workplace is the income difference. Although there is supposed to be equality, men are stil being paid more than women for the same job, sometimes even done less efficiently than oif the woman would have been hired. In sport, women get paid less not only because of their employers, but because of the media. Women's sporting events usually do not get primetime coverage and even in high schools the mens events are seen as the main events. Society accepts that women's athletics are less than the men's by letting the media onslaught continue.

Although there have been major advances of women in sport and society, it is evident that in society, as well as athletis, there is still inequality and much more work to do for equality.


Women in sports
Name: Jennifer C
Date: //2004-02-02 17:07:14 :
Link to this Comment: 7901

Hey, I'm Jen, and I'm a junior currently living in Erdman. I'm an English major, and a recovering chocoholic. I live in Connecticut (not too happy with that, but until graduation...).

I think the way women are perceived in sports has changed so much in the last century. I know I'm the product of a new feminine ideal. Granted, women are typically more accepted in bikini bathing suits than sport swim-gear, but it is also a generation with Ph.D. Barbie dolls (Barbie herself is a whole other issue for women) and sayings like "you go girl." Equality of women has a long way to go, but it is has come a long way yet.

Sports were instrumental in the battle of sexes. If a woman can run 26 miles or do the 800 meter dash without her uterus falling out, what's to stop her from running major corporations? If a woman can swim the English Channel faster than men with a more demanding stroke, what's to stop her from running the country? I think it was one thing for men to accept women into pink color jobs, not set so much against a women as a nurse or a personal assistant, but women in sports are ambitious, determined, and strong. They are a representation of just how many things women can do when given the option, and for the social world, the image of women in sports is a motivation to see strong women in other sectors of society.

Also, traditional notions of beauty can be called into question. The female that looks "masculine" because of muscle mass or acts "masculine" because of aggressive plays. The idea of sexuality is called into question, and I think this is a notion we, as a society, are just beginning to grapple with. The male athlete is all the more a heterosexual man (if it's true or not), but the female is suddenly a lesbian, and suddenly (whether it's true or not) that's a problem.

Sports becomes the ultimate, physical-contact battle of the sexes, so extreme in its physical manifestation of the dilemma it becomes the visual battlefield, and I think it will continue to be so.


hey
Name: ria banerj
Date: //2004-02-02 18:39:19 :
Link to this Comment: 7905

hi, my name is ria banerjee, i'm a sophomore English major, and i live in radnor.

to be perfectly honest, i know very little about women in sport... so i guess it's provident i'm doing this class! but in general terms, it's undoubtedly a good thing that women are no longer considered delicate fragile creatures who should be protected from the sun (ironically, while almost dying in tight corsets). i would love to know more about the specifics of this topic, however, before i venture a more detailed response.



Name: kate
Date: //2004-02-02 18:52:37 :
Link to this Comment: 7906

Hi, I'm Kate, I'm a sophmore (poli sci major, russian minor) in Radnor.

Since everyone else has written insightful comments on the evolution of gender equality in sports, and although I do agree that the opportunities for women in athletics have drastically impoved over the last century... I thought I'd bring up something new.

Title IX has caused problems for a lot of girls in my state (Michigan). A few years ago, pursuant to Title IX, the seasons for girls sports switched around...under the premise that switching things like basketball and volleyball seasons would give the girls the same opportunities as the boys. Many girls found that this policy drastically impaired their ability to play sports since, by switching seasons, they lost the majority of their practice time to male teams since practice space was limited. This resulted in less play time, and many girls lost their chances to be scouted for college teams. No there's a huge lawsuit to get the seasons switched back to what they were before this part of Title IX when into practice proving that this legislation, just like some others designed to help women gain equal opportunities, has actually impeded their progress.


what are the questions that arise?
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-03 14:15:08 :
Link to this Comment: 7940

Great comments by all-- it the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". Has the enforcement of Title IX had some unintended consequences- aka Michigan... I'd also like to toss out (yes another sports metaphor..) how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??


Comments
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-04 18:24:36 :
Link to this Comment: 7967

I really don't know much about the consequences of Title IX, because my old school pretty much ignored it altogether. Men's Football got all the funding...nevermind our gymnastic team, which was incredibly good. Football got new equipment every year, while gymnastics was working on 10 year old equipment; not only was it unfair, but dangerous! But as I was reading Title IX, I realize that they must have known about it, maybe just recently though. For the first time ever, a guy was let onto the cheerleading squad. In previous years, guys had tried out and gotten voted in, but the administration thought that it was "unsuitable" for a male to be on the team. Maybe someone finally clued them in that it was against Title IX to do that! I don't know of any unintended consequences though.

I don't really consider myself an athlete, not for lack of interest though. I've tried tennis, soccor, fencing, but just, well, lacked the minimum required skill. Not only that, but I am incredibly accident prone. No matter what sport I have tried, I have managed to get injured in a remarkable short span of time.

So I would say that an athlete should at least have some athletic skill! Other than that, I say that it is up to the individual person to define themself as an athlete. I really don't have any preconceived notions of "the athlete."

I'm not really sure how we think about our physical selves, I also think that it is unique to each person.

I think that while sports movies concentrate (obviously) on sports, the underlying theme is to be comfortable and confident about who you are. Success in sports can translate for anyone into whatever they want it to be. Success in school, in business, in life. We do compare ourselves to the figures in sports movies, at least I do, and perhaps measure ourselves against the protagonists, but I never really considered the physical aspect, perhaps because I don't want to think about it!


Answer to 2nd Question
Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-05 00:52:06 :
Link to this Comment: 7979

I went to an all girls' school, so we never had any problem with sports. Rather, certain teams (like the softball team) were ignored for more popular sports (like lacrosse). But in terms of Title IX, I can't really answer the question.

I guess I would consider myself athletic because I played sports for so long and I enjoyed them. I'm not an athlete right now, though, because I haven't played since high school. I don't really know how to define an athlete. I mean, in golf you don't run around a field and kick a ball into a goal, but it still requires skill and power over your own body. So I wouldn't say someone who plays golf isn't an athlete. I think to be an athlete, you have to just try at a sport. You don't necessarily have to be good, you just need to try.

The movies are supposed to inspire people to try their best at anything they do and not only in sports. I like how sports movies exist where the main team doesn't win. The point is they did their best and tried. (Although I get upset at the end of A League of Their Own every time...)


Culture of Appearances
Name: Tegan.
Date: //2004-02-05 01:57:55 :
Link to this Comment: 7982

I think one of the biggest unintended consequence of Title IX has been the slahing of men's sports teams by schools in an attempt to make the balance between men's and women's teams appear more equal... In these cases, it's not usually the popular men's teams--i.e., football--but the less popular ones: in doing so, it limits access to sports by both men and women: instead of creating a women's lacrosse team in addition to the men's, we'll just not have either...

I don't define myself as an athlete. I have always thought of the term "athlete" as applying to anyone with a kind of dedication to physical training and discipline, and while I have discipline in a lot of other realms of endeavor, the physical realm is not one of them.

Also, as far as connection to movies, we live in a society increasingly inundated with images in the media, through movies and television and the internet. As with all other kinds of mental processes, we define ourselves through our interactions with things and with people around us: women are especially encouraged to adapt themselves to visual images and ideals (perhaps having something to do with the idea that women are more capable of dealing in words and pictures than in numbers). Problem is, many of these images are abstractions, unattainable ideals that women are expected to emulate, or at the very least, want to emulate. And though there are increasingly positive visual portrayals of women in the media, there are still plenty less than positive ones, and with so much information to process, it's hard to know what will/should stick and what won't/shouldn't.



Name: Jessica
Date: //2004-02-05 09:55:38 :
Link to this Comment: 7986

Great comments by all-- it the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". Has the enforcement of Title IX had some unintended consequences- aka Michigan... I'd also like to toss out (yes another sports metaphor..) how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??

I do think that Title IX had some unintended consquences-- most rulings do-- but I couldn't really say what they are, as I'm not familiar with it.

As for how we define who's an athlete-- I tend to think of an athlete as someone who enjoys sports, physical activity. I myself don't so, no, I don't consider myself an athlete. I don't think we are all athletes at one time or another-- some of us just never enjoy being active, like me, while others only enjoy certain sports, and others just enjoy being active and are happy doing whatever so long as they're doing something sport-like.

I think maybe one unintentional effect of the sports revolution for women is that now woman are almost expected to be active in some way. Play a sport, join a club, go to a gym. Something. And women like me... well, I feel sort of slugish sometimes. It's not like I sit around eating candy and not moving all day-- I lead a fairly active life and I eat well, but I still feel, occasionally, that I'm falling a little short because I don't make time to join a team or something. Which is, of course, the opposite of the view that used to be held.


Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-05 17:01:47 :
Link to this Comment: 7993

React/Respond

How does sport reflect the tensions between tradition and modernity, or the masculine and the feminine.

Which character do you most identify with? Why?


Response
Name: Jes
Date: //2004-02-08 15:57:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8035

How does sport reflect the tensions between tradition and modernity, or the masculine and the feminine. Which character do you most identify with? Why? Well, women in sports is a 'modern' thing, so really, any woman who is from a traditional family and wants to play sports is probably going to encounter some conflict. To get out there and do masculine things-- dress like men, sweat like men, be active like men-- is going to counter any culture which has a 'gentle' woman ideal. I didn't really identify with anyone in the movie, myself. Jules, though, was a lot like my cousin, who's very much into soccer and not much into dating boys. Which is a source of great distress to my aunt.



Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-08 21:25:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8047

How does sport reflect the tensions between tradition and modernity, or the masculine and the feminine. Which character do you most identify with? Why?

Because of the tensions already with women in sport, the gender issue is often raised. In the movie, Jess's friends basically go to her match just to see girls, instead of seeing the game, which was the focal point. Even though they are her friends, they don't understand that she has just as much validity as a football player as they do, perhaps more. Her friends expect her to act feminine, and it disturbs them to see her in what was traditionally a masculine sport. Instead of confronting their views, they ridicule what the girls are doing by seeing it as a sort of joke. I think that I identify most with Jules also, because she knows what she wants to do, and doesn't let anyone interfere or tell her otherwise. Strong-willed.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-09 01:02:01 :
Link to this Comment: 8057

How does sport reflect the tensions between tradition and modernity, or the masculine and the feminine.

Which character do you most identify with? Why?

The tension was shown in the contrast between Jes's world on the field and her world at home. I especially liked the scenes that showed these two world interacting. For example, there is the scene where she does foot drills with the vegetables while her mother tries to show her how to cook a good, full meal. Her mother becomes angry and pulls her away from the foot drills. The traditional world would have Jes cooking and fulfilling her role as a wife, while the modern has her running and playing soccer. I also liked the scenes where the tension between these worlds fell away a bit. This was shown in the scene where her fellow soccer mates helped her into her traditional outfit so she could return to her sister's marriage.

Jule's dad was a lot like both of my parents; they only encouraged me to play. I didn't identify with any character because while my parents encouraged me to do my best, I never met any push to be something that I didn't want to be. While my father would have loved for me to pursue science and a medical degree, both of my parents have been very supportive of my English major.



Name: Kate
Date: //2004-02-09 18:31:25 :
Link to this Comment: 8071

How does sport reflect the tensions between tradition and modernity, or the masculine and the feminine.

My favorite theme of the movie demonstrates the clash of traditional culture and modern sports.... The wedding scene contrasting Jess and her sister is a great illustration of how women in sports shatter traditional norms of femininity and challenge the role of women in specific societies.

Which character do you most identify with? Why?

I don't identify strongly with any of the characters, but I admire Jess the most for pursuing her passion and breaking custom.


Commentary
Name: Katie
Date: //2004-02-09 23:30:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8082

Throughout past decades, a traditional household was said to be one where the woman stays at home, not participating in the society of man. By challenging these gender roles, in sport and society, women have also been expanding the limits to what is considered feminine and traditional. While the 'ideal' female of the not too distant past possessed qualities of weakness, submission, and all-around 'girliness', the woman of sport today is strong, dominating, and in control of her power as a woman. Sport has allowed an outlet for women to advance in society, pushing the traditional boundaries and generating new ones.

I identified most with Jes because she had to deal with barriers, cultural & familial, that I have had to face in similar situations.


next response
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-10 11:20:41 :
Link to this Comment: 8091

Great respones - hope you are enjoying thinking and sharing your thoughts with the 'team'!

Both Jess and Julie are passionate about playing soccer-and don't see their participation in gender terms yet their frinds and families relate to their participation through the lens of gender and in the case of Julie's mother, sexual orientation. Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?


hmm...
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-10 22:17:10 :
Link to this Comment: 8109

Both Jess and Julie are passionate about playing soccer-and don't see their participation in gender terms yet their frinds and families relate to their participation through the lens of gender and in the case of Julie's mother, sexual orientation. Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?

I always thought that sport brought women's sexual orientation into question because originally it was seen as though women were taking on men's attributes, such as being strong, fast, athletic. It didn't happen for men because these attributes were already attributed to them. I'm not sure about this, but it seems to follow that in the past when women took on roles that were mainly male dominated at the time, their sexuality would be called into question. My best guess would be when women became doctors or lawyers. But as to now, I don't know.


Commentary 2
Name: Katie
Date: //2004-02-11 17:49:01 :
Link to this Comment: 8117

Sport heightens the conversation regarding gender and orientation for women, much more than for men, because of steroetypes of society. A strong athletic man is a 'manly man' and participating in sports is 'normal' for that stereotype. On the other hand, a strong athletic woman's sexuality is questioned just because she wants to compete like the men. I think that its more about society's expectations for women rather than society recognizing already that women are equals to men. Our society has terms like 'woman' doctor or 'male' nurse that further dictate how far we still have to go for true equality. Men are teased for wanting to supposedly 'lower themselves' to the role of a woman when working in roles that are stereotypically female, and the same is true for women in the workplace, but to a higher degree. If a woman wants to be a blacksmith or cattle wrangler she gets the same reaction as a strong woman in sport.


Modern and traditional
Name: Jen
Date: //2004-02-11 18:43:59 :
Link to this Comment: 8120

Hey everybody,

I feel there is a pull between the modern and the traditional especially with the internet and other media communications. You don't have to move to be dealing with "first generation" culture shock in the world today. I loved the way the movie didn't necessarily judge between the two because I don't feel a comparison would be appropriate. Both are different, and people shouldn't have to forget who they are to enjoy who they can be in today's more egalitarian world. I think sports stresses the tension between tradition and modern because, like Jess said, it is such an extreme from the traditional.

I think I associate with Jess because she doesn't know what she wants and is pulled. I can associate with that sort of confusion.



Name: Ria Banerj
Date: //2004-02-11 23:53:58 :
Link to this Comment: 8128

Sport is a good arena to explore the tensions between masculine/feminine, tradition/modernity because it reflects what's happening in our society. For example, as Bend It Like Beckham showed us, a lot of British Indians have to deal with conflicts in their parents' lifestyles and their own. Also, the boys who taunted Jassi for playing football shows the patriarchal idea that boys play football but girls can't. Sport thus acts as a mirror to society.

I identified most with the character of Jassi because she overcomes obstacles and tries to compromise so reconcile her parents and her chosen lifestyle.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-12 01:14:52 :
Link to this Comment: 8131

Both Jess and Julie are passionate about playing soccer-and don't see their participation in gender terms yet their frinds and families relate to their participation through the lens of gender and in the case of Julie's mother, sexual orientation. Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?

Up until just recently, women were supposed to be passive, quiet and submissive. These three traits are opposite the traits that sports encourage. In sports you have to be competitive, aggressive and, therefore, "masculine." Even as times change and women are allowed to be more vocal and stronger, the old labels linger. It's really hard to get rid of thousands of years of ideology.

I think this still happens a lot anywhere. If a guy in a company is competitive, he's aggressive and that's good. But a woman of the same quality would be called a bitch. Of course, I think all of this is changing. But it's not happening overnight. A girl can play field hockey and that's totally accepted, but girls who play softball are supposed to be dykes. No, it's not fair, but that stereotype remains. This can also go for schools. I'm sure every one of us has been asked if all Bryn Mawr girls are lesbians.


Remember The Titans
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-12 16:50:29 :
Link to this Comment: 8136

Racial tension and social equality are complex issues which reside through out all aspects of society- as do the other 'isms' and "phobia's" --sexism, agism, classism, homophobia, etc.

Movies can provide a snapshot of those issues and in Remember the Titans, a true story has been used to portray sport as 'an even playing field' and a place where the common goal of pursuing victory and what it will take to achieve victory, eventually trumps the racial tensions.

What makes sport an easy vehicle to shed animosities and what other vehicles are there on College campuses to "bring people together" in dialogue and deed. What are the vehicles we can use on our campus to bridge cultural, racial, ethnic, orientation divides, when they exist?


2nd comment
Name: Jes
Date: //2004-02-12 18:34:51 :
Link to this Comment: 8141

Both Jess and Julie are passionate about playing soccer-and don't see their participation in gender terms yet their frinds and families relate to their participation through the lens of gender and in the case of Julie's mother, sexual orientation. Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?

I think that any time a woman displays 'masculine' traits (physical ability, basic self-confidence, assertiveness), there are going to be some who question her sexuality. On the other hand, even if it doesn't happen with most sports, some men do get questioned about their sexuality. I mean, has anyone ever watched wrestling (the kind that happens in high school, not the WWF type thing) and not wondered?

But, yeah, women get questioned more than men. I think that's probably because it's more obvious when a woman is 'intruding' on male dominated areas, like sports of business or law enforcement. It's more acceptable for men to be involved in female dominated areas, especially if they're very good at it. For instance, people might question if a man just likes to cook in general, but if he is an incredible cook (especially of 'man food'), then no one really questions it. On the other hand, there's really no way for a man to justify having a huge interest in clothing. People are probably just going to assume he's gay, even if he's a really great designer.


Sport as facilitator
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-15 14:57:30 :
Link to this Comment: 8175

I think that originally, sport helped people become more open to other people out of necessity. Quite a few sports are team based, and to be a successful team, the members must work together. After time, members begin to respect their team members as good players and then as people.

Music is akin to sport in this way...if the person plays an instrument or sings well, then they are respected for that and then as people. Basically, I think that any fine art will do this, because it is based on ability and respecting people for their abilities.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-16 00:55:04 :
Link to this Comment: 8193

What makes sport an easy vehicle to shed animosities and what other vehicles are there on College campuses to "bring people together" in dialogue and deed. What are the vehicles we can use on our campus to bridge cultural, racial, ethnic, orientation divides, when they exist?

When you're on a team with someone, you have to play with them or you'll hurt your entire team. You're in close contact with other people and it's really obvious if people don't get along. Communication is really important on the field. Also there is a degree of equality on the team; everyone's playing toward the same goal and on equal footing. Sports games create a competitive and aggressive setting, but (usually) remove any hostile activity. The best man/woman wins.

On the campus, there are clubs, teams and meetings all the time. I know many clubs hold debates, forums and panels. I think something as simple as random room assignment as a freshman helps, too. During customs week, we did a lot of stuff to get to know other freshman.


Sports and Bonding
Name: Jen Colell
Date: //2004-02-16 02:02:11 :
Link to this Comment: 8194

Sports bring people together because there is a common goal. Like Coach Boone said, "I come to win", a theme reiterated throughout, especially in his seeming monologue in front of the field. It is a struggle but the seeming simplicity of win or loose, come together or fall apart, manages to temporarily transcend societal problems. They come together to play as a team, to win as a team.

I think there are a lot of other group related activities which can bring people together. The movie focused in on the marching band and cheerleaders as integrated a few times. Anytime there is a common goal, a group brings people together. I think maybe sports are perhaps more useful because it invokes school spirit and a degree of contact you might not see with the other groups on campus, as demonstrated by the locker room scenes in the movie. There is a level of closeness required in sports that can be worked around in other groups.

I think diversity groups are a great idea for campuses, and customs week dealt with a lot of diversity issues. It's good to get people talking, and I feel we do that on campus through groups.


question 2
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-16 11:53:46 :
Link to this Comment: 8206

Great responses. These are complex issues. Many have talked about the arts and athletics as providing an environment which brings people together for a common goal. Are there other opportunities on campus to engage in conversation, areas which encourage an inclusive environment and ones which support and appreciate diversity?


Commentary 1
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-02-16 18:19:49 :
Link to this Comment: 8222

In sport, like many other disciplines, success is based on talent, skill, and cooperation. In order for the team to succeed, they needed to look past social barriers to the core of the person and their abilities on the playing field. Being in the same uniform, almost indistinguishable from one another on the playing field, a member of a team is judged on skills and therefore when in that situation the playing field was equal.
Any activity that brings people together with common interests allows a forum where people can look past the outside of a person and connect with her on the level of the interest and then beyond.
Although seminars on cultural, racial, ethnic, and orientation divides often turn personal and confrontational; as mentioned in class the idea of having the group view movies, or perhaps even a controversial play, etc., distances the participants from their personal experiences and therefore provides a more productive forum.


Commentary 2
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-02-16 18:32:14 :
Link to this Comment: 8223

I think that any positive setting that encourages a nonoffensive diversity discussion to all involved would naturally be inclusive. I've had issues in classes where the participants in a conversation about a book, as soon as personal experiences were involved, would turn into a heated debate. I think respect is a major issue in any discussion, nevermind one about a sometimes sensitive subject. I think sometimes also not making it the main issue, and letting the subject come up naturally, is also more productive and the discussion is less pressured.


Remember the Titans
Name: Lindsey Gi
Date: //2004-02-16 19:18:19 :
Link to this Comment: 8226

What makes sport an easy vehicle to shed animosities and what other vehicles are there on College campuses to "bring people together" in dialogue and deed. What are the vehicles we can use on our campus to bridge cultural, racial, ethnic, orientation divides, when they exist?

I think when you're on a sports team of any kind, qualities like teamwork, helping and supporting each other and community are emphasized in order to come together as a team, be successful and win. Remember that corny saying, 'there's no i in team'? well its kinda true, because in order to come together as a group people need to focus less on their individual needs and desires and more on what is good for the group. This usually includes sacrifice and hard work.
Discussions about diversity on campus work kind of in the same way. They allow us to step into other people's shoes and take a look at what 'the other' person goes through. They allow us to listen to other peoples' perspectives and share our own. These discussions, like team sports, are an opportunity to focus more on what we have in common rather than how we are different. In this way, cultural, racial, ethnic, and orientation gaps can start to be bridged and understood better.


dialogues
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-16 22:16:49 :
Link to this Comment: 8231

I think something as simple as the campus center encourages people to engage in conversation about issues. I have had countless conversations in the campus center ranging from all topics, some of which with people I don't know. And as silly as it sounds, the couches help a lot. They make people comfortable with their surroundings, and thus help them to be open to other people's opinions. I have not yet gone to a dialogue that was truly open that was held in stiff chairs. Your mind does obey your body in certain situations.

I think that some of the most important dialogues occur naturally. Again, I feel that there's something forced about a dialogue that is scheduled. Not to say that the dialogues that go on on campus aren't productive, they are a good gateway to get people thinking about the issues. And the fact that they go on at all is a reminder to people that the issues that the dialogues address exist. So perhaps dialogues occur in stages, organized and sporadic.

For me, I prefer the campus center.



Name: ria
Date: //2004-02-16 22:22:17 :
Link to this Comment: 8232

What makes sport an easy vehicle to shed animosities and what other vehicles are there on College campuses to "bring people together" in dialogue and deed. What are the vehicles we can use on our campus to bridge cultural, racial, ethnic, orientation divides, when they exist?

I think the sheer physicality of sport makes it an easy vehicle to bond over. It helps people realise that underneath racial, cultural, ethnic and other dividers, we are just humans. If we are punched, we'll all curl up moaning and we're also capable of similar feats of endurance (given, of course, a similarity of physique). It doesnt matter what colour one's skin is, for example, if all other factors are the same.

The easiest way to bridge gaps is probably to talk about them. Once you talk openly to the "Other", it becomes obvious that they are not so different from you after all. And even if they are, you start to appreciate them for their differences as much as for their similarity to you. This is why the Diversity Workshops we have on campus, though not the most popular event, is an important step forward.


is this the second response-question?
Name: ria
Date: //2004-02-16 22:43:16 :
Link to this Comment: 8233

Are there other opportunities on campus to engage in conversation, areas which encourage an inclusive environment and ones which support and appreciate diversity?

I think that our dorms are themselves the best example of environments that encourage and appreciate diversity. Take my own hall as an example - we have students from all over the US as well as two international students. This means that not only do I get to feast on Lebanese sweets, I also learnt the difference between Red Vines and Twizzlers (the former are more popular on the West Coast, the latter on the East, I'm told!). If that isn't the best example of a supportive environment, what is?



Name: Kate Amlin
Date: //2004-02-16 22:57:16 :
Link to this Comment: 8234

I think that the old, cliqued motivational phrase, that there is no I in TEAM, applies to the realm of racial tensions on the sports field. Sports provide a forum where individuals from different racial and ethnic backgrounds must come together to achieve a common goal of victory. Sports teams often help to break down racial stereotypes and divisions by brining together a wide variety of people and showing them what they can accomplish together...and how much fun they can have together.

There is a lot of racial and ethnic diversity on this campus but I do not feel that it is an issue that students focus on as much as they should. Students should be more willing to participate in diversity workshops and lectures, and reach out to meet people who they consider to be "different" from themselves. Since racial and ethnic topics are often complicated by tension and animosity, I do not think that one forum will uniquely provide an adequate space to discuss these issues. However, sports teams, academic and social clubs, and even the classroom can provide welcome opportunities for such dialogues.


comment #2
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-02-17 21:18:10 :
Link to this Comment: 8259

Issues surrounding racial, ethnic, and orientation differences can be difficult issues to talk about. They come with a lot of baggage and assumptions that can be hard to break down in order to come to an understanding. The most effective diversity conversations and dialogues that I have had were the ones where people were not hiding behind the curtain of political correctness and could be uncomfortable and difficult. I think it is necessary sometimes for people to step out of their "comfort zones" in order to create real dialogue, even though it can be hard and difficult to hear at times.
People may not always be inclined to do this on their hall or in other campus spaces, which is why I think organized dialogue discussions are imperative to moving forward with issues of diversity on campus.


Two posts in one! (Ooooh, aaah.)
Name: Jes
Date: //2004-02-17 22:03:02 :
Link to this Comment: 8260

What makes sport an easy vehicle to shed animosities and what other vehicles are there on College campuses to "bring people together" in dialogue and deed. What are the vehicles we can use on our campus to bridge cultural, racial, ethnic, orientation divides, when they exist? I think one of the reasons that sports can help bridge divides is because, for a team really focused on winning and doing its best, what matters the most is the amount of skill that someone brings to the team, not any of their other aspects. However, I'm sure that there are many people who aren't able to focus on doing their best to the exclusion of those divides, and I'm sure that, while divides may be less of an issue in sports, they are probably still and issue on some teams. (As, in the movie, they would have been in the coach hadn't been so hard on them.) Off the top of my head, I can't really think of any activity that is quite as focused on results (rather than the process) as sports activities are. I suppose that in any group where you have sufficient focus on getting something done, then racial/ethnic/whatever issues would become non-issues. So, maybe that would happen in things like volunteer programs, where the people who join are usually really devoted to getting stuff done. Plus, they're usually pretty open minded, at least here. Many have talked about the arts and athletics as providing an environment which brings people together for a common goal. Are there other opportunities on campus to engage in conversation, areas which encourage an inclusive environment and ones which support and appreciate diversity? Sure! We have a lot of activities that invite communication and appreciation-- the problem is that no one attends them! But then, no one attends quite a lot of things here. Still, I think we do have a lot of activies like that. Plus, since most of the people who attend this school are pretty open minded, I feel that a certian amount of dialogue happens anyway.


post 2
Name: Kate
Date: //2004-02-18 14:50:16 :
Link to this Comment: 8268

Great responses. These are complex issues. Many have talked about the arts and athletics as providing an environment which brings people together for a common goal. Are there other opportunities on campus to engage in conversation, areas which encourage an inclusive environment and ones which support and appreciate diversity?

I have to agree with Jes on this one. We have a diverse campus, which is definitely a plus, but many of the students are so apathetic that discussions on our differences suffer from a lack of attendance. Additionally I feel that, for the most part, students are very vocal in class on issues of academic interest but shy away from divulging their true feelings on highly controversial social issues such as differences in race and ethnicity. Important and enlightening discussions go unexplored when people are polite to a fault.


Segregation
Name: Jen Colell
Date: //2004-02-18 18:18:21 :
Link to this Comment: 8272

Hey everybody,

I hope hell week is starting well for everyone. I think there are some great comments floating around right now, and I'd just like to mention one problem I've been having trying to reconcile some of them with women's sports. I think it's true in the movie, and many team situations, that prejudices can be overcome and the team united through common goals. The teams is integrated, and so they learn to work together because they have to. I wonder what this means for women's sports, since women's sports are separate from men's, and therefore men and women never have to learn to work together or depend on one another like they did in the movie. In my own gym classes, the boy's would play basketball games while the girl's were put in the back gym to practice dribbling (even girls already on a basketball team), and the boy's played football while the girls played catch with it across the field. I'm not suggesting teams should be integrated, and I'm not supporting separation, I'm just wondering what this says and what further roadblocks it represents to achieving the sort of social victory apparent within the movie.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-19 12:38:59 :
Link to this Comment: 8289

Are there other opportunities on campus to engage in conversation, areas which encourage an inclusive environment and ones which support and appreciate diversity?

I guess something that's overlooked is the very classrooms we learn in. For example, I was in a CSem called, "Memory Matters," and we looked at texts about the Holocaust, American slavery and the acts in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

This seems to be a reoccurring theme in Bryn Mawr classrooms. Our teachers encourage us to not just consider local or familiar events, but look at historical events that have things in common, but occurred in totally different parts of the world. We try to examine them from the point of view of many different people and investigate what went on.

I know Bryn Mawr offers a lot of seminars and panels and such (I get the activities emails), but I know I don't go to a lot of them. I wish sometimes we'd get different advertisement about these events. How many times have I erased an email without looking at it because I got 20 others in just the past hour? I know this is something I should avoid doing, but it'd be nice if these special events were advertised in different ways. Bryn Mawr does make the effort to bring these to our school.


girlfight
Name: Mya Mangaw
Date: //2004-02-20 09:08:17 :
Link to this Comment: 8306

Good morning. Thanks for the great participation last evening. Here are the discussion questions we didn't get to tend to last night:

Director Karyn Kusama's emphasis on Diana's environment (family, school, housing projects, etc.) can be seen as a critique of those social structures Kusama called "forms of oppression and violence." However, this emphasis on Diana's environment could also be seen as a way to explain or even apologize for such an aggressive young woman.

Do you think Kusama does a better job at challenging gender stereotypes or reinforcing them by "apologizing" for her aggressive protagonist?

Is Diana's aggression somehow made more "acceptable" because she is a poor Latina? Likewise, does Kusama make Diana more "acceptable" by emphasizing such a prominent (heterosexual) love story?


Diana
Name: Jen Colell
Date: //2004-02-23 00:18:23 :
Link to this Comment: 8382

Hey everybody,

Wow, those are good questions, and I hadn't thought of the background story as an apology for the aggression, but I don't really think she was apologizing. I think, for the director to actually have intended the school and projects to act as an excuse, she would have had to imply something wrong with Diana being a boxer. An apology implies wrongness and regret, and I sensed no hesitation in defining Diana as a fighter. In fact, I think the emphasis is on why women should all be fighters against social constraint, and why they shouldn't feel sorry or "masculine" or "deliquent" for being aggressive. The school and projects might operate as motivating reasons, but they are not excuses.

As to Diana's sexuality, I think it reinforces femininity even while taking on a role defined as "masculine". A heterosexual relationship assumes, stereotypically, a feminine and masculine presence, and I think the way Diana fills the feminine part is much like she fills the role of daughter/son. She manages to want and acquire men while fighting against them. If Diana were homosexual, I feel it would have been a complete pushing away of the male as husband, father, and brother, not to say men don't need to be completely forgotten, but I think the purpose of the movie was better attained by having her balance gender roles with a "normalized" heterosexual relationship since it challanges the "normalcy" of that relationship from within. If Diana had been a lesbian, it would have reasserted the "normal" relationship by establishing Diana had no part in it: the aggressive woman has no part in it. I feel, in this case, her wanting a "man" was a more powerful statement of her strength.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-23 02:07:22 :
Link to this Comment: 8386

Do you think Kusama does a better job at challenging gender stereotypes or reinforcing them by "apologizing" for her aggressive protagonist?

I think Kusama does a better job at challenging the stereotypes. Clearly, Diana's background does lead to her violent nature. We learn in the scene where Diana challenges and "beats" her father that a lot of her anger comes from her mother's passive role to her father's violent habits. But I think this only helps show how Diana came to the place she is today. The challenge exists in her transforming her aggressive tendencies away from violence (which would only end with her expulsion) and into a sport that allows her more focus and control over her life. I don't see it as an apology, I guess, because I could see the character of Diana played just as easily by a boy. She's an angry person, not just an angry girl, and the movie shows her as she learns to combat this anger.


Is Diana's aggression somehow made more "acceptable" because she is a poor Latina? Likewise, does Kusama make Diana more "acceptable" by emphasizing such a prominent (heterosexual) love story?

That's a tough question. I guess her aggression is more acceptable because of her background. We'd have more trouble believing this story if it followed a wealthy girl who went to a prep school, rather than a girl who lives in the projects. But, then again, I don't think her violence is acceptable. Perhaps because she came from a violent world, the violence comes more easily to her. But I don't think it makes the violence acceptable.

I think the love story did contribute a bit to the goal of making Diana more acceptable. On one hand, we see more sides of Diana; she can fight and fall in love. But I thought it is a little weird (maybe even contrived) that she has to fight .. da da DUM ... the man she loves. It's like in the end of A League of Their Own. Of course the final scene has the sisters battling it out; that's how Hollywood does it. I think the final fight could have been one with Diana fighting a friend or some big opponent and winning any way because she has the courage, strength and focus to do so. Fighting her boyfriend? That's a little weird. On one hand, I understand that adds more drama to the movie. Sure, the boy doesn't want to fight his girlfriend. Makes sense. I wouldn't want to punch a lover either. But I also see why they had to go though with it. I guess the fight helps show how Diana can triumph above everything.



Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-23 11:55:28 :
Link to this Comment: 8390

Hmmm... Although I can see where the "apologizing" standpoint could be seen, I think that including her family life is for background information. An explanation perhaps, but not an apology. In all movies, the main character has to have background information, or else the viewers will not be able to see where the character is coming from, and therefore will not be able to understand the character fully. I think that Kusama does an excellent job of challenging gender stereotypes in the movie. Diane, from the start, does not act as girls are typically portrayed, so the viewers are forced to reevaluate their preconceptions right away.

I don't think that Diane's aggression is meant to be made "acceptable." I feel that if the movie is to make people reevaluate their gender stereotypes, then even seeing aggression in a female as something to be made "acceptable" is ignoring the point of the movie. Diane's aggression is perfectly ok without any reason. I suppose the only thing that needed to be done was to channel it.

Regarding to sexuality, I do think that the point of her romantic interests was to demonstrate that female athletes can be heterosexual. I'm not really certain if it was there to make Diane more acceptable to the audience or not, but if it was, then I think that it missed the point of breaking stereotypes.


Commentary 1
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-02-23 17:43:45 :
Link to this Comment: 8397

Kusama apologized for her protagonist by making excuses for the aggression as well as blaming the environment. Although Kusama creates a strong woman who pushes the bounds of gender stereotypes, the apologetic nature of the presentation deludes the message of a strong woman in a 'male sport'.
In this film, as well as Bend it like Beckham, for some reason there had to be a man supporting the woman in sport that was trying to create new boundaries. Although this makes the film more socially acceptable, it would have been nice for the strong woman to succeed without a love interest for a change. The film would have made a bolder statement, even if it wasn't as accepted as it might be with a love story element.



Name: Kate A.
Date: //2004-02-23 21:08:05 :
Link to this Comment: 8405

It does not seem that Kusama is apologizing for producing a strong, ambitious and talented athlete out of a difficult background she is showing the opposite: a girl that can achieve her dreams in the face of adversary (cliqued, I know, but a great movie). Same goes for the issue of race. Diana's identification as a Latina didn't make her more acceptable as a member of a predominately male sport her environment makes me think that "poor latinas" were expected to be excessively feminine (or at least they were expected to be as such in the world of the film). However, I do believe that having Diana fall in love with a man made the film more "acceptable" to mainstream audiences. Perhaps (unfortunately!) too many individuals would not understand and esteem a movie about a homosexual female athlete in our homophobic world where women who play sports are criticized for being overly masculine. I would love to see a comparison about the reviews of sports films that include heterosexual and homosexual female heroines



Name: ria banerj
Date: //2004-02-24 02:27:48 :
Link to this Comment: 8431

I do think the background of the movie was really important, and I agree, I think it was more to validate than excuse the protagonist that the director showed her squalid surroundings. Giving a reason for the way she is - violent, and wanting to box - doesn't mean that the director (and thus, the audience) is required to see her as 'bad' or 'wrong'.

I also think that the issue of sexuality could have been handled a bit better. The movie reminded me a little of the great sportswoman we saw in the first movie - I forget her name - who was marvellous at any sport she played, including running, jumping, diving. However, she ended her life playing golf - a more sedate sport, and she took to wearing her hair long and donning dresses. Obviously the tomboyish, almost asexual image that she had in her youth was not socially acceptable once she got older, and she eventually succumbed to the more 'acceptable' look.


Response 1
Name: Jes
Date: //2004-02-24 22:44:18 :
Link to this Comment: 8476

Director Karyn Kusama's emphasis on Diana's environment (family, school, housing projects, etc.) can be seen as a critique of those social structures Kusama called "forms of oppression and violence." However, this emphasis on Diana's environment could also be seen as a way to explain or even apologize for such an aggressive young woman.

Do you think Kusama does a better job at challenging gender stereotypes or reinforcing them by "apologizing" for her aggressive protagonist?

Is Diana's aggression somehow made more "acceptable" because she is a poor Latina? Likewise, does Kusama make Diana more "acceptable" by emphasizing such a prominent (heterosexual) love story?

I think she does apologize a lot. Being poor, being perceived as unattractive, being latina, not having a female presence in her life.... I think all of these things were put forth as a reason for Diana to want to fight. At the same time, I think a movie about a white, middle class, pretty girl with two stable parents would have been a lot harder to sell. I think most people wouldn't perceive her as having a 'reason' to fight-- and according to society, women need a reason to fight, unlike men. So, yeah, Kusama is sort of reincorcing stereotypes. I'm not sure which she's doing more, though, reinforcing or challenging. Besides, cutting out the poor/latino/no mother part wouldn't have allowed Kusama to address very many of the other issues-- such as how Adrian wants 'out' of their neighborhoods. Or Diana's conflict with her father, and the issue of domestic abuse.


Response 2
Name: Jes
Date: //2004-02-24 22:56:29 :
Link to this Comment: 8479

These were very thoughtful and helpful responses. I must admit, I am with Jessie (Group 3) and remain "definitely conflicted about this film." While as Talia (Group 2) suggests, Kusama does a good job at "show[ing] us something about [Diana's] socio-economic situation" that ultimately manifests in what Laura (Group 4) called a "positive rebellion," parts of the film remain troubling. Perhaps it is that it does feel a bit like Kusama is as Katie (Group 1) suggests "blaming the environment," but my uneasiness stems most directly from the fact that aggressive females (and their representations) are still so often and so deeply entrenched in explanations and assurances.

Can you think of any films in which there is an aggressive female protagonist for whom there is neither an explanation for her aggression (a traditionally "masculine" attribute) nor an assurance that she is heterosexual? Can anyone remember the cover of the first Women's Sport Illustrated (this should get you ready for this week's film)? I... can't think of any movies where there is an agressive female protagonist without an assurance of heterosexuality and without a reason for her being agressive, no. Not of the top of my head, at least, though if I gave it some time, I might be able to come up with one. There are occasionally women in movies who are agressive for no reason, but they're background characters and generally portrayed as a bit strange anyway. If there is a strong female character who is agressive, some part of the movie is usually about her learning to 'give in' to her feminine side. Man, I want to see that happen to the male lead character of some gore-fest explosion movie.

I don't know what the first Women's Sport Illustrated had on it. But I've looked at a few of the covers avaliable online, and I've noticed that generally the biggest things on the cover are about how women can make themselves look pretty, not about women's sports.



Name: kate a
Date: //2004-02-25 16:37:15 :
Link to this Comment: 8493

I hate to admit it, but I can't think of an answer to either of these questions. The only thing that even sort of came to mind was Kiera Knightly's character in Bend it Like Beckham. Additionally, I have never read a copy of Women's Sport Illustrated....or Sports Illustrated. The only time I even notice any Sports Illustrated is when the "swimsuit edition" comes out. That issue always makes me extremely angry because I can fathom no link between sports and women lounging around in tiny bikinis getting ogled at.


Response #2
Name: Jen Colell
Date: //2004-02-25 18:05:46 :
Link to this Comment: 8498

There are a number of movies now portraying aggressive (not just in sports, but also in businesses and lawfirms) woman, but it's hard to think of one where her sexuality is not acutely defined and reinforced by the other aggressive male counterpart, like in Thomas Crown Affair. Geena Davis often plays strong female action roles, but in the end embraces femininity. The closest I could get to an aggressive, not necessarily heterosexual or apologized for woman is Signorey Weaver in Aliens, most specifically in the third movie, but even then the second movie seems to reinforce a longing for family.

I don't really read Sports Illustrated, men's or women's, and the only time I notice it, like Kate said, is when the swimsuit issue is out. I have no doubts even Sports Illustrated makes the same excuses for aggressive females and purposely tries to suggest their femininity.


Commentary 2
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-02-25 18:54:55 :
Link to this Comment: 8501

After a considerable amount of thought, I could not think of any films where there is an aggressive female protagonist where there is neither an explanation for the aggression nor assurance that she is heterosexual.

According to the official site (at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/siwomen/): "The December 2002 issue [was] Sports Illustrated Women's last." Another setback for women in sport. Looking at the covers from the Spring of 1999 to the last issue, the cover women (& men) began showing more skin as time progressed. The July/August 2002 issue was a mostly male swimsuit issue in a magazine that was supposed to be about women achieving in sport. The issue exactly a year before dealt with how women's soccer was saving the sport. By gradually objectifying the women more and more, at least on the covers, the magazine was giving in to the past ideas instead of embracing the ideal strong woman in sport, no matter what she looks like.


2nd Comment
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-25 23:18:10 :
Link to this Comment: 8511

I think that I'm going to have to go along with everyone else on this and say, no, I can't think of any movies that fufill those qualifications. Aggressive female characters always seem to have something in their past that explains their character, like a death in the family, poor family life, defeats early in life, illness, etc... Truthfully, I doubt that there are any. Umm...I've never seen the first Women's Sports Illustrated and really don't know much about the magazine.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-02-26 02:10:10 :
Link to this Comment: 8518

Can you think of any films in which there is an aggressive female protagonist for whom there is neither an explanation for her aggression (a traditionally "masculine" attribute) nor an assurance that she is heterosexual? Can anyone remember the cover of the first Women's Sport Illustrated (this should get you ready for this week's film)?

Hmm. Every time I think of a self-possessed woman from a movie, she's either a drop-dead gorgeous model (Knightley in Pirates of the Caribbean) or she falls madly in love with the male character. (The best example I can think of at this time is Trinity who was really aggressive in the beginning of the Matrix, but was fated to fall in love with "The One" who saved her life. And then, of course, she awoke him with a kiss).

Someone above mentioned Ripley from Alien, and I thought that was a good point.

I've never seen a Women's Sports Illustrated, so I have no idea.


Love and Basketball
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-27 09:20:00 :
Link to this Comment: 8539

Question for week 5

How are the films Girl Fight and the role of Dianna and Love and Basketball and the role of Monica similar. What do their roles stand for and what are they saying about women - using the medium of sport- that is the same and what is different?


First Question
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-02-29 18:16:23 :
Link to this Comment: 8562

The two characters, Dianne and Monica, share certain characteristics, such as dedication to their particular sport and a willingness to work hard. Both the films portray their characters as strong women in regards to their sport. I feel that their roles represent women who are strong and have a strong commitment to what they believe in. Using sport as a medium, both the films portray women who are independent and self confident, however out of the sport context, in Love and Basketball, this portrayal falls apart when Monica, I feel, makes a fool of herself to get back the man she loves. Although at first both of the characters stay strong in choosing sport over relationships, when Dianne pushes her boyfriend to compete against her, and when Monica has to leave for curfew, Monica strong facade crumbles in face of her loneliness.



Name: Sarah
Date: //2004-03-01 00:21:34 :
Link to this Comment: 8577

How are the films Girl Fight and the role of Dianna and Love and Basketball and the role of Monica similar. What do their roles stand for and what are they saying about women - using the medium of sport- that is the same and what is different?

They both deal with women who can't really find a place for themselves in the ordinary world and make a place for themselves in a sports arena.

Both make the point that women can achieve the same that men can in sports, but I think Girl Fight was far more successful in the message. I personally think Monica forever played second-fiddle to her boyfriend, while Diana and her boyfriend were on equal footing. Love and Basketball was also pushing the universal "perfect" woman who can have a baby and be girlish and be beautiful and play sports and get sweaty, etc. On the other hand, Girl Fight admitted that Diana wanted to play a tough sport and that's what she did. She didn't like dressing up, she was course and rude at time, but she was also a very tough, attractive person and she did like her boyfriend. I don't know if she'll have a kid I doubt she will. But that's not what she wanted out of life. Of course, Monica did want all that, so who am I to judge her?

Love and Basketball merely seemed a little more forced. With Diana, I could believe that she got what she wanted out of life. With Monica, you had "super woman" who got it all.


Comments
Name: Jes
Date: //2004-03-01 20:59:28 :
Link to this Comment: 8602

How are the films Girl Fight and the role of Dianna and Love and Basketball and the role of Monica similar. What do their roles stand for and what are they saying about women - using the medium of sport- that is the same and what is different? Well, they're smiliar because both have to deal with their feelings about a boy interfering with their lives as athletes. In addition, both Dianna and Monica's parents (Dianna's dad and Monica's mom) are opposed to their choices to become athletes. I think, if you wanted to draw a meaning from both movies, that it would probably be that women can be athletes-- ie, not the perfect feminine ideal-- and still be female and have an interest in romance and have a family and other 'girly' things like that. It doesn't make either one of them a bad athlete, just as being an athlete doesn't prevent either of them from being a woman.



Name: ria
Date: //2004-03-01 23:58:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8612

How are the films Girl Fight and the role of Dianna and Love and Basketball and the role of Monica similar. What do their roles stand for and what are they saying about women - using the medium of sport- that is the same and what is different?

The two girls are similar in terms of their talent and dedication to sport, but I feel that the similarities end there. They are different in terms of education, social class and background and even attitudes. Monica never faces any obstacles to playing basketball professionally, neither does she have any particular obstacles to overcome to achieve her goal. Basically this movie struck me as the 'easiest' of all the ones we have seen so far in that the conflict it centres around doesn't depend on external factors (like monetary problems, race issues, etc).



Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-02 13:42:14 :
Link to this Comment: 8630

How are the films Girl Fight and the role of Dianna and Love and Basketball and the role of Monica similar. What do their roles stand for and what are they saying about women - using the medium of sport- that is the same and what is different?
Both Diana and Monica are strong and determined women who succeed in their respective sports despite the fact that their families want them to be someone different from what they are, namley not athletes. Monica's mother and Diana's father especially would rather they resume the traditional role of the woman each of the contexts of the movies. They both also have to deal with the role of a boyfriend in their lives. Both movies show how hard it is to balance their personal and professional athletic lives, and the role that the boyfriend plays in both these aspects.
The most striking difference to me between the lives of Diana and Monica are their socioeconomic conditions. Diana grows up in a project in a city whereas Monica grows up in an affluent suburb and has the opportunity to go to college through her athletic scholarship.



Name: kate
Date: //2004-03-02 16:43:17 :
Link to this Comment: 8634

Both women are given, and fight to retain, the opportunity to be a strong athlete. Dianna and Monica both must go against the majority opinion held by the people around them to participate in sports in order to participate in the activity that they love. Although they are similar in this sense I feel that their characters symbolize different roles for women in our society. Dianna uses boxing as an escape from the society that she does not fit into. She is able to win in the ring in ways she cannot in other societal arenas. Monica's character is more of an all-around winner. "Love and Basketball" concentrates on her ability to triumph in a diverse multitude of life's spheres.


second response for week 1
Name: kate
Date: //2004-03-02 20:18:29 :
Link to this Comment: 8638

This response is for the second question from the first week:
how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??
Athletes are pretty easy to spot on this campus...as are those of us who are not athletic. I suppose that we are all athletes at one time or another be that from forced athletic competition, recreational "sport" activity, or membership on a varsity team. I am not an athlete but, as would be hoped, I do enjoy physical exertion from time to time as does anyone else who has ever run to the blue bus from across campus (just kidding, I know where the gym is). Even after this class, I can only name about ten movies of the top of my head that center on female athletes. Yes, this is a small number but it is not necessarily a bad thing. Women participate in sports more than ever before, and I think that some part of that comes from Hollywood's influence. Popular films frequently portray physically fit heroines, and they often spotlight recreational sports and gym excursions on film. This may have an impact on the physical fitness of the general population...most individuals yearn to look like the movie stars, including a strong, toned, lean body from exercise.


Response for the 2nd question, 2nd wk
Name: kate
Date: //2004-03-02 20:29:14 :
Link to this Comment: 8639

This is a response for the second question from the second week of class:
Both Jess and Julie are passionate about playing soccer-and don't see their participation in gender terms yet their friends and families relate to their participation through the lens of gender and in the case of Julie's mother, sexual orientation. Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?

Strength and power, attributes commonly associated with athletes, have traditionally been socially constructed as masculine characteristics. I think that this contributes to the stereotype that all male athletes are heterosexual, 'manly' men...while female athletes are lacking in feminine qualities. This happens, perhaps to a lesser extent, to women in other traditionally male-dominated spheres, especially in the workplace. I love "Bend it Like Beckham" for many reasons...one of them being that it turns traditional stereotypes into comedic storylines. Scenes where Julie's mom assumes Julie is a lesbian since she plays soccer are absolutely hilarious...and I think that it's great that the audience is filled with laughter during points in the movie. It's noteworthy that we have reached a point in the evolution of social norms where ridiculous stereotypes are exposed for what they are absurd typecasts that lack truth.


First Comment for Week 1
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-03 00:33:49 :
Link to this Comment: 8646

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?
Changes in the last 80 years have opened up many new opportunities for women in sport that were simply not there before. In even as recently as my mother's generation there were very few options for women in high school and college sports. The culture of the sport is definitley still changing today, the recent invention of the WNBA, for example has made it possible for women to play basketball professionally, where that would have been unthinkable 80 years ago. (Although I think the WNBA might have disappeared by now?? not sure)


Second Comment for Week 1
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-03 00:46:40 :
Link to this Comment: 8647

Has the enforcement of Title IX had some unintended consequences- aka Michigan... I'd also like to toss out (yes another sports metaphor..) how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??
I totally agree with what people were saying about the discrepancies between how much money male athletes get compared to female athletes, it really frustrates me. As far as the second question, do I consider myself an athlete? I'd have to say no, even though I was on the soccer and basketball teams in my high school.If you had asked me that question 2 years ago I probably would have said yes, I guess for me I'd have to be on a team or actively participating in an athletic club to consider myself an athlete. It is a nice idea that we are all athletes at some time or another, and I think more women should start thinking like that, I just don't personally relate to it that way.


1st Comment for Week 2
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-03 00:59:58 :
Link to this Comment: 8648

React/Respond:
How does sport reflect the tensions between tradition and modernity, or the masculine and the feminine.

Which character do you most identify with? Why?

In this movie there are clear divisions and problems with the intersection of broad themes like tradition and modernity and the masculine and feminine. Jes is crossing a lot of boundaries in this movie, both cultural and across the gender line. She has to deal with the double stigma of having to prove her love of soccer to her family first because she is Indian and second because she is female. One of the unifying and great things about sports is that anyone can play, and you don't need to be a certain gender or nationality to succeed at it.


2nd Comment Week 2
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-03 02:41:50 :
Link to this Comment: 8650

Both Jess and Julie are passionate about playing soccer-and don't see their participation in gender terms yet their frinds and families relate to their participation through the lens of gender and in the case of Julie's mother, sexual orientation. Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?

Sports have traditionally been for men, and values associated with sports (like strength, endurance, competitiveness) have therefore been associated with masculinity. This stereotype comes from a long history of sexism in sport, and is why, even today, it is hard to separate the issues of gender and sport. With the formal introduction of women into many professional sports, it has been hard for some to let women have 'masculine' characteristics such as strength and talent in sports. Sexism happens in many many other places in society, including in the workplace, at home, at other colleges and schools.


1st Comment Week 4
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-03 03:08:20 :
Link to this Comment: 8651

Do you think Kusama does a better job at challenging gender stereotypes or reinforcing them by "apologizing" for her aggressive protagonist?

I can definitley see the point that Kusama may have been using Diana's environment as a way to explain or apologize for her strength and aggressive nature. While I can't picture this movie taking place in the suburbs, I feel like Diana's aggressive nature was not necessarily caused by her socioeconomic conditions, she could have been just as aggressive more wealthy. She may have had more opportunities to box, or may not have had to push as hard to be able to do what she wanted, but her aggresiveness as a personality trait could have been the same. We shouldn't attach behavioral traits to places, incomes, or classes.

Is Diana's aggression somehow made more "acceptable" because she is a poor Latina? Likewise, does Kusama make Diana more "acceptable" by emphasizing such a prominent (heterosexual) love story?

Yes, I think it is made more acceptable to mainstream audiences because it feeds off of stereotypes of Latina women. Its pathetic, but people can relate more to stereotypes. I also think putting her in a heterosexual love story as opposed to a homosexual one made it more "acceptable" in general. I think it would have been a much more interesting and riskier movie if the latter had been the case.


(still catching up!) 2nd comment, week 4
Name: Lindsey
Date: //2004-03-03 03:22:30 :
Link to this Comment: 8652

Can you think of any films in which there is an aggressive female protagonist for whom there is neither an explanation for her aggression (a traditionally "masculine" attribute) nor an assurance that she is heterosexual? Can anyone remember the cover of the first Women's Sport Illustrated (this should get you ready for this week's film)?

I really can't think of any films in which an aggressive female protagonist does not have a specifically masculine or feminine identity. This question is interesting because it shows how ingrained gender identities of male and female are in society. Kids are socialized at an extremeley early age to one sex or the other and are encouraged to generally stay that way their entire lives. With this assumption of gender comes tons of expectations, and stereotypes which are reflected in the roles women take in movies. The only non-gendered personality I can think of is the SNL character 'Pat' who is niether male nor female... not the best example, they are making fun of her in the process, but oh well.

Sports illustrated thing, i dont know.. its 3:30am and i need to sleep.....


week 5
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-03-03 17:30:45 :
Link to this Comment: 8659

In both films, the protagonists have love interests, which for Dianna sends out a message that she wouldn't have been able to beat him if he hadn't been in love with her, but for Monica it was more of a 'women can have it all' message. Diana had to fight for her position in the ring while Monica had to fight for keeping a balanced life between sport, social, and academic endeavors. Socioeconomic background also comes into play in both films. Monica didn't have to worry about the money while Diana did, as well as that Monica's area was much better than Diana's, making Diana's agression perhaps more acceptable than Monica's fits of temper.


week 1 comment 2
Name: Katie Aker
Date: //2004-03-03 17:46:57 :
Link to this Comment: 8660

Has the enforcement of Title IX had some unintended consequences- aka Michigan... I'd also like to toss out how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can/do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??

I define an athlete as a physically fit person with endurance, strength, skills, and determination. Although many of these characteristics can be applied to anyone, I don't consider myself an athlete because I don't participate in physical sports. I guess I could consider myself, as well as anyone else who doesn't play sports, etc., like a true athlete to be a mental athlete, and midterms are trials for the mental olympic games called finals.



Name: kate a
Date: //2004-03-04 15:00:02 :
Link to this Comment: 8674

I can't find the second question for this week....so I think I'll just post on a theme i saw in two of the movies. I think that "Bend it Like Beckham" and "Love and Basketball" bring up the question...does an ideal place for women in sports exist?

Jes is unhappy with the opportunities available for her in England as a female football player so she goes to America to play professionally.

Dianna is unhappy with the opportunities available for her in the U.S. as a female basketball player so she goes to Europe to play professionally.

Interestingly, the movies were made by filmmakers across the Atlantic (at least I think they were) and each movie portrays the other part of the world as a better place for women athletes.


Response 1
Name: Jennifer C
Date: //2004-03-04 16:17:33 :
Link to this Comment: 8677

I think Monica represents a much more accepted female athlete than the image of women in GirlFight. While both girls have an attitude, Monica doesn't express it as much as Diana, and she doesn't start fights with other women (other than her mother.) I think Monica rebels against the quiet, unconfident woman (her mother), but Diana rages against almost everything female. They are also in different circumstance. Diana is entering a sport even less accepting of women than basketball, as demonstrated in the scene where Monica talks about how she's expected to be a lady, even on the court. It is much harder to have same expectation, be an athlete but be a lady, while in Diana's place, purposely fighting and being un-'lady' like.


Response 2
Name:
Date: //2004-03-04 16:20:02 :
Link to this Comment: 8678

I think also, Diana was still struggling, in a part of the city where funding for woman's sports might not yet be equal with men's, and even men's sports might not be well funded. There is a clear class difference between the two girls. Monica is well off, and her neighbors are definitely rich. Monica has the benefit of a surburban education and probably more equal funding.


Response 2 (posted again)
Name: Jen Colell
Date: //2004-03-04 16:20:18 :
Link to this Comment: 8679

I think also, Diana was still struggling, in a part of the city where funding for woman's sports might not yet be equal with men's, and even men's sports might not be well funded. There is a clear class difference between the two girls. Monica is well off, and her neighbors are definitely rich. Monica has the benefit of a surburban education and probably more equal funding.


Response 2 Week 1
Name: Jen colell
Date: //2004-03-04 16:29:09 :
Link to this Comment: 8681

I think an athlete is someone who stays in shape, is fit, and has pride in being active. They are strong and determined, and I would say stereotypically aggressive and competitive if a professional athlete. They like to win. Women ahtlete's are women who don't fear their reproductive organs will fall out because they're running around, and more importantly, back when they did beleive this, they did it anyway! They are pioneers of equality.


Response 2 Week 2
Name: Jen colell
Date: //2004-03-04 16:34:33 :
Link to this Comment: 8682

There are differences in what is allowed for a woman and a man, the accepted behavior. The woman is expected to be docile and obedient while the man is allowed to be rude or domineering. An aggressive woman in sports, like the Russian in the first documentary, were categorized as lesbian and ostracized for being inappropriate while the lady-like athlete who turned tennis into ballet became accepted and welcomed. There is different than men. Men are expected to be aggressive, to be somewhat rude. Even in the business world, the bossy man is valued while the bossy woman is being whiny or bitchy. A quiet, docile man in the workplace might be viewed as weak or not management material, but the quiet or gossipy woman meets the expectation. It's a double standard.


Response 2
Name: Julia
Date: //2004-03-04 21:53:48 :
Link to this Comment: 8693

I liked the point that Jennifer made about Monica's mother, and her rebellion against her. I think that the silent war between Monica and her mother is an important one in the movie, and it speaks to quite a few women in how they feel about their stay at home moms. Ambitious daughters sometimes do have trouble understanding how their moms could be content with staying at home and just raising children. Although the movie does not really resolve this argument, I think that it was important that the issue was raised.


Love and Basketball
Name: Yetta Bail
Date: //2005-03-31 16:04:19 :
Link to this Comment: 14195

this movie happens to be my all time favorite. As a female basketball player, i understand in every aspect the issues that Monica in the movie deals with. For instance, i have had the friend that i fell in love with and basketball brought us together and tore us apart. I have had males judge my charater either based on how i play ball or the fact that i play ball. And it is definiately hard to be a female athlete, or basketball player in society today. if you play very well and dress the role of an athlete, they label you a lesiban or a tomboy, however, you can't always be girly and made up because you have the 6 am practices and the 10 pm workouts. It becomes hard to maintain your athletism while your feminity is being challenged and you have to defend it. I myself have dealt with each side of the issue and have come to the conclusion that i love basketball and the "MAN" that i fall in love with must love and accept that part of me, and if he can't then he has to go. Thats just how it is. He must understand that i plan to take my college career to the next level and he has to deal with all of that if he wants to be with me. I think woman athletes as a whole should stand up and let men and society know that it's okay to be a lady and an athlete, and whether they like it or not female athletes (lesbian or not) are here to stay and its time they let us in the door before we kick it down!!!!!