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Women, Sport, and Film - Martina Navratolova Forum

Women, Sport, and Film - Martina Navratolova Forum


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Dare To Compete
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-01-29 18:18:22 :
Link to this Comment: 7827

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?


This is me, hello.
Name:
Date: //2004-02-01 20:50:52 :
Link to this Comment: 7881

1. Intro

Hello, My name is Dustin Raup and I'm a Bryn Mawr sophomore in Rhoads. I am a chemistry major and I come from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, home of the nation's lowest air quality. Oh and it's the capital of Pennsylvania because Philadelphia was being sacked.

I've played a lot of sports in my time because I have a sickly brother and my father needed someone to male bond to. (They were Ballet, Gymnastics, Soccer, Basketball, Softball and (if this counts and I think it does) Marching Band). I didn't have the grace to be a dancer and I scared myself by dislocating a couple toes and spraining an ankle in gymnastics so I moved on to "safer" sports like soccer and basketball. And then everyone had a growth spurt and I never did so I finally settled on softball and band, hoping not to be killed. I played shortstop for about 5 years and then got shipped to every position on the field, finally finishing off high school as a catcher/center fielder/designated hitter/benchwarmer. My band was a competitive drumcore style band. Believe it or not, band kept me in better cardiovascular shape than softball. I try to swim now and again because I'm still kind of a jock deep down.

I'm taking this course because I like movies and sports and female athletes.

So yes. That's me.

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?

While great strides have been made, primarily that women are now allowed to be athletes, there is still a stigma on female athletes. If a girl is tough and muscular, she's automatically labled a "dyke" or some equivalent thereof. Even girls who play more than one sport get this, no matter what they look like. It sickens me because I was at the recieving end of all that and as if high school wasn't hard enough already I had to deal with vicious rumors about the softball team as well. (those involving the massive orgies we had in the locker room --- how come I wasn't invited?!) Seriously though, remember when the US won the women's world cup? And the one player unshirted herself? And everone got all upset? That was the silliest thing I'd ever seen because I know I've seen a woman with less clothing than that on prime time tv. I mean honestly.

The changes are evident however. Take the Gatorade commercials. Now they show sweaty women in the same cool lighting and colorful sweat effects as the men. And they had Mia Hamm on equal footing with Michael Jordan. If that isn't the greatest compliment to a female athlete ever, I don't know what is.


oops
Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-01 20:52:14 :
Link to this Comment: 7882

I posted my message without filling out who I was, sorry!


hello
Name: Megan Lash
Date: //2004-02-01 21:26:16 :
Link to this Comment: 7883

1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

I'm a sophomore, I'm from northwestern Pennsylvania (near Erie), I live in Denbigh. I played soccer and softball and did ballet when I was really young and played travel ice hockey when I was in middle school, but that's it on my sport resume.

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?

The culture of sport has to keep changing because there is still a long way to go before women get equal respect as far as sports go. I think there's a serious issue of body image that goes along with women in sports... it seemed counter-productive in the documentary we watched to refer to the Soviet Union participants as being "hefty" and other things like that; it seemed to be a film that was to inspire women to be proud of their femininity within the "masculine" bounds of sport. Sports can be very empowering to women as far as giving them self-esteem, and to comment on other women like that seemed very strange for such a feminist film. Maybe it was because they were communists? Anyway, as I said in class, the thing that struck me the most during the film was that sports where a woman's body is covered and not recognizable immediately as a woman's are not part of the group of accepted sports. Add this to the sitcom-stereotype of men sitting around watching women play tennis and you have something to think about.


hi
Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-02-01 22:16:54 :
Link to this Comment: 7884

Hi my name is Heather Price, and I'm one of those seniors Amy Campbell warns you about (don't wait until the last minute like me!). I live in Glenmede and am a Russian major.

I think that the developement of women's sports is really important for the development of the women's movement in general because it has broken down so many pre-conceived barriers from long ago. If you told any guy today that you couldn't do something physical because your ovaries may fall out onto the floor, he'd just laugh and call you lazy. It's almost hard to believe how quickly things have changed from just 80 years ago. I think that as time passes, women's sport will develope along with women's rights. Right now, most men would rather shoot themselves then watch "women's professional" anything, but I think that too will hopefully change. Men's sports are still glorified, but as more and more women play, I think the recognition will have to follow.



Name: Jessie
Date: //2004-02-01 23:45:12 :
Link to this Comment: 7889

Hi all, I'm Jessie, I'm from Rock 2nd 1st. I'm a sophomore, and a hopeful Fem/Gen major. Just a warning, I'm not so much into sports, but I'm definitely into the other two categories of our class ;)

What I think of when I think of athletic connotations, qualities of the archetypal athlete are words like strong, courageous, bold, and competitive. All of these words are also strongly associated with idealized masculinity. Indeed, put them all together and you've got a rough definition of virility. I think what Amy Campbell said about sports being central to American life is very true. Athletes are idolized in our culture, as are the values they represent. And these values are nearly exclusive to men and masculinity. In this way, women are denied associations with athleticism, and the central position in American culture it represents. Although women have obviously made great progress in entering the athletic spotlight, women athletes are still necessarily marked by their gender and conflicting connotations that their gender role has in this culture.



Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-01 23:51:01 :
Link to this Comment: 7890

Hi! I'm Sarah Kim. I'm a sophomore, and I live in Rhoads South (Deep South). I'm pretty sure I'm majoring in Psychology, but I haven't declared yet.


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?

I have to say the documentary we saw on Thursday really had an impact on me. I really thought about how hard women struggled to be where we are today. The women who were highlighted, the pioneers of gender equality in sports, were under so much pressure! Each failure and each success stood as such a representation of ALL women. That's such a burden to bear, and it makes me appreciate my freedom so much more because I only have that freedom due to these exceptionally brave women. I think the culture of sport IS still changing. There is still a marked gender difference in sports, but I strongly believe that it IS getting better with time.


Batter Up
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-02 01:08:30 :
Link to this Comment: 7892

My name is Rachel Robbins –I am a transfer student, and Fine Arts major from Philly living in Radnor. I signed up for the class because I am taking a Film and Video course this semester, and I thought that the two classes would compliment each other nicely.

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?

I have to be completely honest on this one. I was a Title 9 baby just like (presumably) all of us taking the class. So in true form when I was 6 years old, I gave up my point shoes and pink tights for stirrups and a softball glove. I played on the softball team for 7 years, and for all seven years my team was, and I'm serious, The Creampuffs.
The Creampuffs.
Thanks to the Fairmount Sports Association (those fields by the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Parkway), the Creampuffs would play the Good Girls, and the Sugar Plums and so on and so on. To make matters worse, if the boys ever needed the field for a game and the scheduling did not work out quite perfectly, even if we had a game in session, we would have to forfeit the field so that the boys could use it. This went for the boy's league our age or younger. However, if we, the Creampuffs were playing the Darlings, we had to wait for the boys, (who by the way had great team names like the Jets and the Dodgers.)

I think that "society's" view of women and sport has changed dramatically in the past 80 years, however, I think women, and often girls especially are given a "soft"ball and a lollipop, and told we look cute with such a big bat. And while a lot has changed, that "women" and female athletes as well, are still perceived as passive, sexual objects or mothers, and ultimately non-threatening (with or without a javelin).

The danger occurs when female athletes are held not to the standards of their own ability as living beings, but to the standards deemed acceptable by "society" in response to them as women. The question then becomes not, what can you do? But, what can you do as a woman? (--That's not a bad throw/time/score-- for a girl)
This can be extended to –as a Latina woman? -- As a black woman? --And even to Professions and Titles and the infinite other compartments that we press ourselves/are pressed into.



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-02 18:35:59 :
Link to this Comment: 7904

I'm Jenna Rosania and I'm a junior majoring in anthropology with a concentration in environmental studies and a minor in biology. I played sports when I was younger, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, also ballet and tap, but I pretty much stopped when I came to Bryn Mawr. I don't mean for that to be a statement about Bryn Mawr, although I guess it kind of is. I'm from San Francsico, CA and I live in Rock.

I never really felt the glass cieling of being a girl in sports, but I guess that's because I had no brothers, my dad was always eager to practice with me, and our leagues were always well funded and well attended by our parents and friends. The only time I felt frustrated by any inequity among our teams and the boys teams was in football, but our school's football team was incredible so there was no competition, and I didn't want to play football even if I could. I think the more competitive and professional the sport gets, the more women feel the differences in rewards between the men and the women. In professional leagues, it's still true today that in many cases the women's leagues are much less funded and regretably much less publicized than the men's leagues, probably because the men's teams have been around so long and admittedly seem more legitimate because of their roots. Hopefully once the idea of strong, passionate competitive women as an accepted norm in our society takes hold, people will stop seeing women in sports as something they have to get used to and instead as just another manifestation of an important aspect of womanhood and humanity in general.



Name: Katherine
Date: //2004-02-02 22:00:45 :
Link to this Comment: 7913

1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

Hey all. I'm Kat Macdonald, a junior in Rhoads North. Sports-wise... I play chess. And. Um. Yeah.

In all seriousness, I have the physical skills of a melted creampuff. I've done a little dance here at Bryn Mawr, and I enjoy swimming, but that's really the end of it. Oh, and I'm taking badminton this semester. On the other hand, I love movies, and I'm looking forward to the interaction between Something I Know and Something I Don't.


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?

While I think that the long history of women's troubles in sports has lead to a period of freedom unknown to any of the generations of the past, I also find myself troubled because the generally cyclical nature of the women's sporting tradition (the trend in positive and negative views on women's athleticism, which we've seen time and time again) leaves me in some doubt as to the permanence of this current freedom.

This leave me in the unfortunate position of knowing that we are in a society of unbelievable physicality for women... and at the same time, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's been a little over thirty years since Title IX was enacted, and as many others have pointed out, even with that measure we still aren't in a position of equality with male athletes. For that matter, it's _only_ been about thirty years -- I want to believe that this time, women will prevail over the domination of societal structures and historical values, but I have serious doubts about our chances.


First Class
Name: Sarah Mart
Date: //2004-02-03 13:33:34 :
Link to this Comment: 7939

Well, first I need to apologize for posting late-- the world was working against me this weekend. My name is Sarah Martin and I am a frosh living in Erdman basement, A-diamond. I broke my wrist last semester in a dance course I was taking for P.E. credit. I decided that this semester I would take a course with a low possibility of breaking a bone.
I think, at first glance, society's view of women and sport has changed since the 1920s. Women are able to play all different kinds of sports without society being disgusted or calling them "unladylike". I think, though, if we look at the sports today, women are allowed to compete but they need to look beautiful doing it. Today, all women, athletes or not, are really only considered beautiful by the media and a large portion of society if they are thin with finely toned muscles. I think this puts an unhealthy pressure on women to be perfect.


what are the next questions???
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-03 14:18:29 :
Link to this Comment: 7942

Great comments by all-- it-- the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". I'd 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??


Sports, Women and Film?
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-03 22:20:52 :
Link to this Comment: 7953

...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?

Hi, well, okay, I didn't really add anything about my athletic abilities (or lack thereof...) in my introduction so I guess I can add it now. I most definitely do not consider myself either an athlete or athletic; I was just never into sports. Oh, I did the obligatory year or two of ballet and gymnastics when I was about 5 years old, but that's about it. I did do some horseback riding when I was in 4th, 5th and 6th grade, too, but I don't feel like it was that physically exerting (for me at least, I can't speak for the horse). Overall, I wouldn't consider myself a lazy bum per se...but...well, okay, maybe I would. :)

OKAY, now girls, I have just GOT to mention something that I saw today. It was a review discussing the LINGERIE BOWL...yes, that's right, the Lingerie Bowl. It was the equivalent of the SuperBowl, except for women. OH, not just ANY women either, these were MODELS who were scantily clad in bras and boy-short underwear, running around playing football. I think Sarah earlier mentioned how women are allowed to play sports, but they're supposed to "look pretty" while playing them...is this not case and point right here? I just laughed when I saw it. I can't believe that the female equivalent of the SUPERBOWL is the LINGERIE BOWL!!! I suppose it's due to the fact that while in many other sports, females have made a lot of progress and are on almost equal footing with males, football is one of the last vestiges of male solidarity. What do you guys think?


Lingerie Bowl
Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2004-02-04 21:21:26 :
Link to this Comment: 7971

Sarah Kim:

I think that's an interesting connection to what somebody mentioned in class, about that tennis player who had her picture taken in her kitchen, in her underwear. What is it about our underwear that seems to set men at ease? What would happen if we just appeared naked?

I dunno. On the nakedness issue, I mean. At that point, either it's pornography (one extreme), or it's just another body (the other choice -- I hesitate to say extreme). In either case, we'd say the same thing about a naked man appearing in front of us -- ooo or eh. (Of course, there's always the "ew" response, but I'm not sure where that fits into my argument, so I'm pretending it doesn't exist.)

But _underwear_, now, _underwear_ can be a fetish object, a "strictly for girls" object, a very active sign that proclaims Not All the Parts Visible On Men Can Be Visible On Women (with the unspoken, Because You Are Dirty/You Are Innocent)...

I think at the bottom of it, when a woman can equal/beat a man in something he considers his domain, seeing her in her underwear 1)reinforces which gender is which, 2)reinforces that the female gender needs protecting/does not have all the freedoms men have, 3)reinforces the sexual aspect of women, to the detriment of the physical aspect, 4)looks plain ridiculous (or, more specifically, like she is in a position where she could/should be embarrassed/ridiculed), and therefore, not to be taken seriously.

Which is all a hell of a thing.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-05 00:59:00 :
Link to this Comment: 7980

Great comments by all-- it-- the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". I'd 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??

Who is an athlete? I think athleticism extends much farther than grace, talent or dumb luck. It's all about having a love of the game at some point. It's about living the game, losing oneself in the moment of adrenaline. That is athleticism. Also, most people are athletes at some point or another, allowing for the people who just don't like to exert themselves. Nearly ever child I've ever seen has gotten lost in a physical game, even if it was one they were playing alone.

Now the self-image has many outlooks. I remember playing on my varsity softball team the year we got new uniforms. The team picked them out to be "cute." Then, there was controversy over who got what size pants and whose butt was bigger than whose. And then there was an entire day wasted on finding accessories. While I considered all of this nonsense, the entire team was bent of looking "cute." They were obsessed with remaining femme and cute while playing softball of all sports. As many of you probably know softball is a dusty, sweaty, sticky and generally gross sport. Their aptitude for it was also amazing. We had a pitcher nicknamed "Sparkle" because she wore glitter on her face. A lot of glitter. She would reapply when necessary. The most interesting aspect of this whole issue was, while Sparkle was reapplying her glitter, she was eating sunflower seeds, a decidingly uncute food. Spitting, as is necessary with sunflower seeds, is decidedly masculine and in no way cute.


Physical Selves
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-05 04:34:20 :
Link to this Comment: 7983

--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 think that these questions are poignant, especially in reference to Megan's comment about bodies, perception, and self-esteem. I think that much of the female view of our own bodies is informed by perceptions, not just the way that we perceive ourselves, but the role of the gaze, and the way that how we are looked at effects how we see ourselves.

In this respect, I think that (while there are exceptions) may women are raised believing that their body is not 'okay' as it is, performing and functioning how it does. I used to work in a bookstore, and I remember reading somewhere (and forgive me if you are familiar with this and I am citing, or remembering wrong) that Betty Friedan started an address by asking the audience to stand up. The men were then to try (while standing) to make their bodies occupy as little space as possible – essentially to constrict themselves. The women in the audience were then asked to try to occupy as much space as possible. This resulted in men holding their legs together, and their arms tight at their sides, and the women puffing up their chests, and standing with their legs shoulder length apart with their arms falling from their shoulders' puffed up position. She then said that this exercise was the physical embodiment of gender difference. I think that even the most enlightened among us flips over the package of organic veggies to check for calories. It is very difficult not to bear the covert misogyny of our society in our perceptions of our physical selves.

In this respect, I think that athletics plays an enormously important role in the way that they effect not just perceptions of the physical self, but the physical body itself. By strengthening the body, perhaps perceptions of the body, and ability can also be strengthened. I know that for me, when I considered myself a practicing athlete, not only did I feel more physically able, but I felt more mentally alert, and less superficially image aware. For what is the difference of pounds,sizes, and inches when the body is strengthened from heart to lungs to blood to skin?


Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-05 17:02:54 :
Link to this Comment: 7995

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?


tradition/modernity
Name: Jessie
Date: //2004-02-07 16:59:41 :
Link to this Comment: 8014

The tensions between tradition and modernity I thought were really well portrayed in one of the ending sequences, when Jessie was playing in the final game while her sister was getting married. By juxaposing the two events, the film placed them in firm opposition. Substituting Jessie's family for Jessie's opponents (as blockers? I'm not soccer savvy) just before Jessie made the score that would win her side the game heightened this antagonistic feel.

I think the film, by portraying Jessie and her sister in such polarity, and aligning one with tradition and one with modernity, was very progressive in some ways, and not so progressive in other ways. In one way, the film was progressive in that both women "achieved their goal," and that the less traditional woman was glorified over the more stereoypically feminine sister. But on the other hand, it still portrayed sports as something outside of and in contradiction to femininity/tradition. The film upheld a lot of stereotypes about women and sports by placing the sporty women in such a strict category separate from the rest of the women.

Ultimately, I think the film still had an empowering message. But I also think that images of women, particularly non-stereotypical women, have to be extremely coded in mainstream cinema, and that perhaps the strong oppositions/antagonism built up in the film are a result of that coding.



Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-02-07 19:00:15 :
Link to this Comment: 8017

I think this movie did a good job addressing many of the modern stereotypes (and well, problems) with women in sports. The fact that Jules' short hair and way of dress were seen as so "masculine" and confused by her mother as, well, "lesbian" (but, really, how DO you classify that as far as looks go?) were really kind of disturbing. Especially because in the film, she was the skinniest one (meaning that she isn't really muscley or anything) and was the one always running around in a sports bra. I don't see that as unfemine at all. I think that now, especially in America, this "sporty" look has become part of the feminine ideal. I know a lot of guys who have said the a woman always looks hottest when she's wearing "gym clothes."

Maybe it's because i'm a title 9 baby, but i don't think there's anything unfeminine about sports. Especially in that film. Whenever they'd score a goal they'd hug and scream and dance, just as you'd expect from women. I really appreciated that aspect of the film, because they never lost their femininity. I loved the part after the championship game when they were all dressing Jessie and playing with her clothes. It was really cute and showed how they were a TEAM and helped each other out. It's not like any other sports film where there are men and there's always this conflict about some guy getting a big head because he's better than everyone else. They never lost the sense of TEAM throughout the film, even when Jessie and Jules were fighting. (that, in and of itself, would NEVER happen on a men's team, by the way)

I didn't really identify with anyone in the movie except for the fact that Jessie's family looked at her as "unfeminine." I get that a lot, but that's mostly because all my friends growing up were boys and i like playing with my car. :)



Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2004-02-08 17:24:16 :
Link to this Comment: 8037

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


I found the dynamic between Jess and her guy friends in the park to be very interesting. They knew she was talented, and welcomed her playing with them, but they still felt the need to poke fun at her gender and her ability to play (as determined by her gender). Could it be a part of everyday ribbing (which I think we can all agree is a very common male behavior)? Could it be in response to the emasculation she represents by her presence and her ability?


-Which character do you most identify with? Why?


I'm not sure I identify on any personal level with any of them. The film _made_ me identify with Jess, but that was because Jess was the main character and so was given the most air-time (and the most chances to create empathy with the audience). But beyond that...



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-08 23:21:52 :
Link to this Comment: 8052

In Bend it Like Beckham, there was definite tension between the social expectations of a women in Indian society and Western society, but even more complex, a women in Western society and a women in Western society who wants to excel in sports. Jess's situation was even more compelling than the usual overcoming of the anti-feminist attitude that women can encounter in sports, because she dealt with that from two different fronts. It was only through her skill as well as the dedication of the other girls on her team that led to the creation of a girl's soccer team in the first place, so to call the English society she was also exposed to modern is a bit of a stretch. By exceling in soccer despite the intese opposition, she is creating modernity and an attitude that women can definitely acheive what men can in sports and also manage to keep what is integral to what has made you who you are intact. What makes the end of the movie a true vistory for Jess is that she participated in her sister's wedding as well as the soccer game, and she kept her respect for the traditions that she was raised with while and therby resolved this tension, or at least compromised to ease it.

I don't think I really identified with any of the characters, because I've never had to do something that was totally and unquestionably against the values or traditions I was raised with, nor were my parents completely lacking in understanding about a choice I've made, nor have I ever experienced any ethnic prejudice, aside from being called a gringa in Mexico. I have as many issues as the next person, but I've never experienced anything relating to those in this movie.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-09 01:07:44 :
Link to this Comment: 8058

Sport is a pastime based on growth. There's always a new level, be it a new record or a new stunt. Thus it is a microcosm of the conflict between tradition and modernity. While the rules remain, there's always the new thing. There's always the controversy over whether or not the new shoes should be banned because they give an unfair advantag over traditional shoes. The movie showed this by juxtaposing Jes' familial expectations and her athletic self.

I identify very strongly with Jules. First of all, my mother always wanted me to be girly whenj I was off the field. All of her criticism toward Jes I recognized as things I was told growing up. At the same time, I had a supportive father like hers. In addition, I had the "lesbian" stigma on my head with my parents. The amount of alienation experienced between her true self and her parents is all too well mirrored in my more sporty days.


Bend It
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-09 01:59:59 :
Link to this Comment: 8059

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?


I think that one of the palpable ways in which sport reflects the tensions between tradition and modernity is regarding race. --especially in the United States, which is where my orientation and frame of reference is largely based. Tradidionally because of the US history of slavery, and objectification, most (and to a large extent exclusively) the only place where black people historically could obtain success or recognition was either as an entertainer or as an athelete. This tradition of exclusion from professional sport is similar to the exclusion that the father experienced in 'Bend It Like Beckham.' I have been trying to think of the reason why I am still bothered by the black presence in professional sports, when the players are making top dollar for their ability talent and skill. What I have come to is that even though there have been major advancements as far as segregation based on race and gender, that there are still 'major hurdles' to overcome as far as the coaching, managing and ownership of sports teams. Also, because this inclusion comes from a place of being intentionally kept out (either by gender or by race), and from a history of oppression, there can never be full equality from historical inequality. At least not in my mind. As far as I'm concerned, if you are 'let in' after the formation of or inception of something, then even though there might be access to similar or the same resources, the fact that it was not formed for you will always be present in the doing of the thing.

Anyway, my favorite characters were the older Indian women, and the people at the wedding party. As a visual artist, I think that the colors, costumes, and cinematography of the wedding scenes were the most beautiful to watch. I liked some of the scenes with the team practicing, but I think that they could have been orchestrated more interestingly, and there could have been more engaging camera work.


Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-09 19:42:32 :
Link to this Comment: 8075

Well, I thought that the movie was great! I thought it addressed SO many important issues and did it in a fun, lighthearted manner. The tensions between the traditional characters and the modern characters was very reflective of what's currently happening in society. I think a lot of first generation parents have trouble communicating with their children who grow up in such a liberated environment. I thought the homosexuality issue was important too, and it was so funny when she said "You're gay? But you're Indian!" And when I thought about it, I don't know any Indian people who are gay...

But I don't really feel like I truly identified with any of the characters. Not that I didn't empathize with them, but I didn't feel any real connection with one in particular. Actually, to tell you the truth, the character I identify the most with might be the Indian girls who were sitting by the side of the field and commenting on the hot bodies of the guys who were playing soccer without their shirts on. :)


next response
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-10 11:21:40 :
Link to this Comment: 8093

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?



Name: kmacdona
Date: //2004-02-10 19:43:58 :
Link to this Comment: 8107

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 the gender/orientation question shows up for women in sports because sports are/were seen as a male pastime. It's like an equation: "If man does not equal woman; if man equals sports; if X equals sports; then X equals man."

man=sports
X=sports
X=man

If the X happens to be a diminuative blonde named Chloe, then by the equation, Chloe must be a guy.

But if X (our Chloe) has all the female parts attached, then there has to be some other male factor involved -- either she's not really female, or she's a lesbian, the more butch, the better. The equation doesn't hold up to real scrutiny, but I'd bet a box of doughnuts that it is (or at least, was) the first thing that ran through many people's minds.

The equation goes the other way, of course. Stick men into a traditionally female-oriented equation, and you get the same results. For instance: "If woman does not equal man; if woman does equal house decorating; if X equals house decorating; then X equals woman." But if you have a guy who decorates professionally, then I bet the first thought through many people's minds is going to be, "Is he gay?"


Bend it like Beckham
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-10 23:12:30 :
Link to this Comment: 8111

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

Which character do you most identify with? Why?

Sport reflects the tensions between tradition and modernity because of the tensions between masculinity and femininity. If women had played sports throughout history, there would not be the tensions between either of these things. They are very related. I think just getting a higher education is something that in some places (i.e. rural america) isn't very feminine, so I can identify with Jess in that respect. And I don't think that her and her sister were two different poles, Jess was still definitely interested in romance and things, she just was also concerned with other things instead of being so focused on just that.

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?

Sport creates this conversation for women because it's traditionally considered "masculine." A man would be evaluated in much the same way if he went into fashion or interior design because that's considered "feminine." I think the questions of sexual orientation are overlooked for men in sports because a male athlete cannot be admittedly gay, much like in the military. Just as questions of sexual orientation wouldn't be looked at if a woman went into a "feminine" job like fashion design or something.


Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-11 20:51:32 :
Link to this Comment: 8122

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 Kat had a GREAT point. Even as I was reading her comment about a man being a decorator, I must admit that I was thinking "Well gay men are decorators..." But, I think that this is kind of obvious even in just the title of the film: Bend It Like Beckham, not Bend It Like Betty or Brittany... Jess's role model throughout the entire film wasn't even a woman, it was a man. I think that this is very significant. It shows the lack of really strong female role models in sports. Jess didn't even know that women COULD play professional football until her friend showed her the tapes of American women playing professionally.

You know, on this point, I remember this commercial for Gatorade, I think it was, where Mia Hamm was with Michael Jordan, and it was playing the song "Anything you can do, I can do better...I can do anything better than you...no you can't, yes I can, no you can't..." I think you guys know the song. And while I think that it's awesome that we ARE getting more female role models in athletics, I mean, Mia Hamm is just nowhere NEAR the level of Michael Jordan. That was a huge compliment to her, I feel like, but I think it was a reflection of society too. Because really, while Mia Hamm is a good athlete, Michael Jordan is a LEGEND. His legacy goes way beyond what ANY female athlete could claim to have at this point in time. And I think that it's very telling that while they DID run this commercial, I mean...they didn't even really HAVE a comparable female athlete. I feel like even though it was a good MESSAGE to send, they really didn't get the full force across because Mia Hamm is just not really even in the same league as Michael Jordan, I think. Feel free to disagree with me on this one, though! :)



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-11 22:12:18 :
Link to this Comment: 8126

I agree with other people that sports and atheticism, even competition is and always has been seen as predominately male activities and qualities. Let's be a little silly and look at early hominids and their gender roles. According to Mr. Lovejoy's theory, the females stayed near the home, only gathering foods in the area where the children could follow or be easily watched. Meanwhile, free of the burden of taking care of the children, the males could travel for weeks, maybe months over great distances to hunt as much as they could carry back to the females, who would be so happy to see meat that they would be ok with letting the one with the most meat mate with her. So the idea is that it is ingrained in us from the behaviors of our most early ancestors that the women stay home, raise the kids, and give a little something-something back for the meat the men bring home, and the men can go off and compete with each other over who is the most skillful hunter, who is strong enough to carry the most meat, who gets the most recognition for their skills. This is of course a very sexist theory, but sexism was big in Anthropology during Lovejoy's time, and so was most of the rest of the world. This theory was the accepted one for a shameful number of years, and I think this is because it made sense to people who saw the resemblance in their own "modern" society. The Man the Hunter theory is only a manifestation of people's attitudes of what is natural behavior between genders, what is normal and functional. When women want more, they are questioning some very, very old notions that have seemed to work pretty well so far, considering the human race is doing quite well on the global scale. I think we can think of women doing what men are "supposed" to do as evolution, and for once, women are the ones leading the course to a more evolved species where women can do the family stuff as well as the athletic stuff. How can being able to do more be considered incorrect or unacceptable? That was really silly, but I think I've made my point.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-12 01:15:07 :
Link to this Comment: 8132

As much as I hate to admit it, Jenna has a good point. While original human societies tended to me matriarchal, women as a general rule got landed with the kids. This responsibility put them out of the physical running with men, who were responsible for running around and jumping and gathering food. The interesting exception to this is Sparta. Spartan females only raised their girls. If I remember correctly the boys were sent away around 5. Women in Sparta competed in their sports. The natural logical conclusion? When freed of some of the child-rearing responsibilities, women were able to explore roles not generally assiciated with their gender.

Why the sexual orientation issue is so unbalanced, I do not know. I do know that there was a stigma for female athletes at my high school but the boys on the football team could smack each others' butts all day and all night and still be the biggest, baddest, straightest guy ever born. Did it have something to do with running into other boys? This always confused me because as a softball player I ran into a lot of girls. Did that make me straight in the eyes of my peers? Nope. The only boys to face stigma were the wrestlers, who wear spandex, get sweaty and grope each other(unintentionally). It is understandable, however, being that wresting is very Greek and Greece has a reputation about its boys. Is it just the football player stereotype that allows them to shower together and maintain masculinity? The world may never know.


Remember The Titans
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-12 16:51:38 :
Link to this Comment: 8138

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?


remember the titans
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-14 18:52:16 :
Link to this Comment: 8164

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?

Sports are an easy vehicle to shed all of those 'isms' because teammates must depend on each other. I think individual sports are less likely to overcome these barriers than team sports. Also, in all sports, the playing field is leveled because race, religion, sexual orientation, these things don't really affect how good of an athlete a person is.

On college campuses there are other things that are done as a team, things like debate teams, quiz bowl, things like that where people have to rely on each other. Also, things like race, religion, and sexual orientation don't really affect how good of a scholar a person is; those characteristics might just affect that person's opinions and interests. There are other vehicles like culture shows or dinners that clubs put on and these things show the entire campus things about a certain culture. Education tends to overcome these prejudices because prejudices like these are unfounded.



Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2004-02-15 19:18:27 :
Link to this Comment: 8182

"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?"

Psychologically speaking (if I remember my lab science correctly), small groups that spend a great deal of isolated time together tend to shift closer together to form a cohesive, unified group of similar opinions and actions. Sports teams could be considered such groups (as can the military and cults, but let's ignore that part).

Sports are an easy vehicle for bringing people together because psychologically speaking, it _works_. That whole thing where Coach Boone isolated everyone for two weeks? Totally follows social psych theory.

Other vehicles that we can use on Bryn Mawr campus would be such things that would create more isolated groups. Theater troupes -- work-study co-workers -- and possibly activities such as this one, where you'll notice that already, we as a group are developing a distinct personality separate from the other groups. By the end of the class, we might have our own writing style, favorite arguments, or tiny traditions, all of which could lead us to bridging problems and becoming a unified people.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-16 00:54:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8192

Sports make the "even playing field" by stripping away the individuality of the players. Each player becomes one face of the team, each team being an entity. Thus they are governed by the overall personality of the team rather than their own eccentricities. This only works to a point, however. If more than half of a team is obviously different, the team's personality is affected. For example, in high school football in my area there were "black" teams and "white" teams. My school had a "black" team because we had a team that was slightly more than half black.

Thus, in Remember the Titans, the team got over racism within itself because to each other they were part of the same whole, obscured by uniform. To the outside world, they were still the integrated team until they had distinguished themselves as something other.


White vrs Black
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-16 06:18:34 :
Link to this Comment: 8199

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?

Sports are successful in overcoming cultural barriers, because the pursuit of a common goal that is based on athletic skill and discipline is not necessarily affected by the variance of nuance or by significant or in significant difference. Like Dustin said, these personal differences in 'Remember the Titans' were insignificant under the cloak of the uniform.

However, We did see an example of racial animosity on the field in 'Bend It Like Beckham' when one of the players form an opposing team called Jess a racial slur which caused her to retaliate and attack the other player.

I think that while sports and athletics may be successful in overcoming many barriers that may prevail in other aspects of society, they may also lend a hand in creating them. The type of thought that establishes a mutually exclusive, oppositional binary approach to thinking about things is very much the type of thought behind competitive sport and the thought behind nationalism and xenophobia. This is not universally (or uniformly) true, because there is a lot of bonding, comradery, and connectedness that comes from sports and sports teams. However, especially with national professional men's sports teams, many sentiments are conveyed not just through the sport itself, but the culture of sport, in the advertising, the commentating, and the constructions of genders and races. These factors can contribute to a culture that does not shed animosity, but unknowingly perpetuates it.


Remember The Titans
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-16 11:45:31 :
Link to this Comment: 8205

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?

Well, I think everybody has basically covered what I was going to say about sport...what is it, like...my enemy's enemy is my best friend, right? That's kind of how it is with sports. In sports, you have a team, and regardless of whether you truly LOVE each individual on your team or not, they become your best friends when you're competing AGAINST somebody else because you have a common "enemy" then.

I think Rachel commented upon the racial slur used in Bend It Like Beckham, and I was thinking it was weird that nothing like that happened in Remember the Titans. I mean, I know the whole movie was about racial tension, but they said that all the other high school teams were JUST white, all white, and I thought it was a bit odd, truthfully, that none of the other football teams made racial slurs or anything on the field. Granted, that one coach made the comment about the Titans being monkeys or something, but nothing from other teams directed at the Titans about their ethnicity while on the field. I guess that's what you get from a Disney movie, huh?

Anyway, I think that divides in cultural, racial, ethnic, and orientation arenas stem from ignorance. I truly feel that if people were exposed enough to other cultures, races, etc. then they would see people for who they are, not what catagory they fall under.


response 2
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-16 11:54:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8208

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?


Remember the Titans
Name: Sarah Mart
Date: //2004-02-16 15:01:44 :
Link to this Comment: 8214

Q: 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?

A: I would like to start by making a comment about diversity dialoges here at the colleges. At a hall tea last night, one student pointed out that she would be much more willing to go to these events if she didn't leave feeling guilty for being white and not gay. Feedback on this comment would be more than welcome.
I know this answer is not going to be the most popular, but it is what I have learned. After four years of single handedly trying to crush naive phobias and "isms" at my high school I am tired. People don't change. I feel like thier is no use trying at this age; everyone is firmly set in her beliefs. It would take an inner jolt or a message from god to change what you believe. If we want a culture of acceptance we have to start young and expose little children to different ways of living. If society waits until humans are teenagers, I believe there is nothing you can do.


Response 2
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-16 20:19:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8228

I have to disagree with Sarah. I think that College is an ideal place to challenge your beliefs, and to grow as a person. There are an infinite number of ways to be in this world, and countless affinities, and I think that one thing that unites all of us while here at school is the desire to learn, and challenge ourselves, and ultimately the goal is to graduate, and finish with a certain degree of success.

But I have had similar experiences and frustrations regarding confronting prejudices either my own, or in others. In one of my Women's Studies that I took at Oberlin before transferring to Bryn Mawr I had a classmate e-mail me apologizing for her own prejudices as a white woman whom had never met a person of color before. She then went on to apologize to me for slavery. I honestly had no idea what to say. How do you respond to something that is simultaneously that honest, and so completely outside of my scope.

I feel like I have been in a lot of situations in my life, and I have had a lot of conversations regarding race, either facilitated in a series, or not. Especially because I have more often the not found myself a racial and cultural minority in a room full of people who I (often wrongly) perceive as having a monolithic experience, I have not spoken up, or silenced myself for fear of being (mis)understood. I think that this type of fear, and the fear of not believing in the value of your own experience because you find yourself in the "majority" is the very fear that keeps honest and open dialogue from occurring. It is also very difficult to separate our ideas and opinions on the topic of race from our own experience, or from the experience of race in this country. This also creates silence in an environment where we are used to being able to objectify at least enough to create comfort. For the real and meaningful conversations, it takes a lot of trust to get past the fears, and a commitment to not clinging to the comfort at the cost of the conversation. I truly believe that honesty is the key, and having strength and confidence in our own experiences and convictions.



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-17 00:24:24 :
Link to this Comment: 8237

People are right about sports being the leveler, when there's a common goal with common skills, that creates a respect that also is based on a need for the help of others to attain that goal or improve those skills. In Remember the Titans, the race thing didn't matter after a while because they had an equalizer, which was football. Music did that too, especially jazz in the early part of the last century, when different people find something they like that's common, they find the opportunity to allow themselves to not be wrapped up in what society thinks is a divider. In sports people are also stripped of their personal issues and backgrounds to play a role in a team, and to act according to the other people in that team, so again the things that made a person feel different can be overlooked as long as they can show some proof that they can be like someone else. Not to criticize awakenings of the concept of the only race being the human race and social acceptance and all that, but people often need something concrete to change their minds, ideas only change when people are given the chance to question old ideas through daring and sometimes discomforting circumstances. In this way, I can see how this movie relates to women in sports, because whether its about race or gender, people are always having to prove wrong what people have always thought was right.



Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-02-17 13:38:50 :
Link to this Comment: 8250

Okay, big post because I wasn't on campus this weekend and missed the first question.

I think sports is one of the few things in our society that really transcends all sorts of phobias and isms because it is the most neccessary. In team sports you can't get away with looking out just for yourself at all. If you don't cooperate with the team, you will lose; not just personally, but as a team. I think that was best shown in the movie when Julius and Gary are talking after practice and Gary wants to know why the other guy didn't block for his teammate. Race or not, they all needed to look out for one another to acheive anything.

"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 there are. Every club and organization on this campus is successful by the inclusion of everyone. The only problem I have with saying this is that on our campus (like everywhere in the world) people make assumptions about others and from there think they know where they come from. I think we all need to listen to each other more because that is the only way anyone can learn about another person, but too many people in this world just hear what they want and assume they know exactly where the other person is coming from. It's very frustrating.


hall teas
Name: kmacdona
Date: //2004-02-17 15:39:36 :
Link to this Comment: 8252

"At a hall tea last night, one student pointed out that she would be much more willing to go to these events if she didn't leave feeling guilty for being white and not gay."

Obviously I wasn't present at this comment, nor do I really know any of the context surrounding it, but I think there's a couple of ways that comment could be interpreted. Mostly, I don't think it's inherently negative.

For instance, I'd be curious as to the usual nature of the hall teas. Is it heavily oriented toward gay/minority issues/culture? While it's tough to remember it sometimes, even a member of the majority can be in a non-welcoming environment. If, say, there are anti-heterosexual or anti-white comments being made, then I could see why the student would feel uncomfortable attending hall teas.

Also consider what the "guilt" might stem from. Why guilt? Does she feel a pressure to be white-straight-girl scapegoat (whether or not there actually _is_ pressure)? Why does she feel this way? Perhaps a dialogue discussing who's responsible for what (ie. no, she's not personally responsible for Matthew Shepard's murder) would be helpful. It's possible that she just feels _bad_ about this stuff, and helpless to stop/help solve it, and therefore, wishes to avoid it. Like a social form of survivor guilt.

All in all, asking her what she meant in more detail would be my course of action. If it was truly negative, perhaps discussing with her why she's disturbed by her hallmates would help. If it's not, though... I'd consider ways to make her feel more welcome and less like the odd [wo]man out.



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-18 21:41:42 :
Link to this Comment: 8277

I think for the most part we like to prode ourselves on having outlets for discussion about racial and gender issues among other things, the problem is these discussions are sparsely attended. I think a lot of people have stopped thinking its important to talk about these things because they feel like Bryn Mawr IS so racially accepting and obviously very sympathetic to women's issues. When there is contentment about how accepted people feel, they don't feel like they have to fight for anything anymore or raise awareness, why should we raise awareness if everyone is aware? I remember during 9/11, something that scared everyone and drew so much attention to Muslim beliefs, almost the entire school came to Merion Green to talk about their feelings about it, and a shocking number of people in anger said that they blamed Muslims and Palestinians for it, that they were evil people and other horrible things that as a freshman, I couldn't believe I was hearing. Especially from Bryn Mawr students. Since then we have not felt as threatened by any specific group of people, we have not experienced anything as personal as we did then, so people have gotten back to being comfortable. I still think it is important to talk about these things because even when we think we know everything about a subject, we are often wrong. Discrimination still happens, even if it's off-campus, and since it's important to be aware of the world outside our school's culture, we should be armed with firm opinions and empathtic with people's feelings about how they are treated. So despite the sometimes disappointing attendance of discussion events that should be involving the entire community, I think they should continue to be held, and I support that people should have a place to talk and to learn.


My response
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-19 17:06:12 :
Link to this Comment: 8292

Okay, well, I was just reading all the comments posted in our forum, and I wanted to use this post to respond to some of the things I read (instead of responding directly to the second question) because there was a lot I wanted to address.

First of all, Sarah talked about how she feels that it's not even worth trying to convince people to be more open-minded because by the time they've reached this age, they're already set in their beliefs. I see her point, and I totally empathize, I've been in the same position with a completely close-minded person too, but I feel like it's always worth TRYING. I mean, first of all, most people's beliefs are shaped by their parents beliefs. But I feel like ESPECIALLY at this point in time, people are less willing to blindly accept their parents' point of view. Around this age, people question parental authority and often will try to rebel against their parents' belief system. Because of this, they may be more welcoming of new ideas.

In addition, I think that people are not always as informed as they could be about issues. And by discussing issues, though it may be frustrating because you won't be able to completely change their minds, you'll at least be presenting a different point of view. Even if people don't agree with you, they may be able to recognize the logic in some of your points, and you may help them define their own beliefs even more. I guess I just always feel like it's worth TRYING. Perhaps it will even benefit YOU more than the other person, because maybe YOU will realize some things from the discussion that you never knew before. I just see discussions and debates as inherently good and educational, as long as people don't let it get out of hand and take it too personally.
(Of course, that could be the debater in me coming out...just giving the Bryn Mawr Debate team a little plug - I'm the team director, so I feel like I should. If any of you are interested in joining the team, we meet Mondays at 9:30pm in Taylor...go BM debate! Lol, I'm done now.)

Okay, then Jenna made a couple of comments that I wanted to respond to. First of all, she mentioned something about how we should try to see it as simply the HUMAN race. I agree with her wholeheartedly, but it brought to mind an interesting fact I heard in biology. In the ENTIRE human race, there is very little biological diversity. Basically 99.9% of our genes are IDENTICAL, whether we're Chinese, German or Ethiopian. In the entire human race, there is MORE genetic similarity than in one single troop of monkeys. Isn't that fascinating? We see different races as SO different from us, when in fact, there is practically no biological diversity in the human species.

All right, then Jenna made another comment about how contentment with the current situation, as regarding acceptance on our campus, leads to a lack of activism. I think this is a great point. I think that you can even see this in the broader scope, nationwide. I mean, one could claim that the lack of voter turnout is really a good sign. Because people use their votes as their voices, and if people aren't voting, they must be content enough with the system as is, that they don't NEED to use their voice. Anyway that's about it for me. :)



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-19 17:09:15 :
Link to this Comment: 8293

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?

The oppertunities are really few and far between in a realistic sense. Yes there are awareness groups, but meetings, as far as I've seen, tend to be exclusive or not all that useful. For example, at Rainbow alliance people dont go because they're not gay or because they dont want the extra attention. Then once one goes, there tends to be only two distinct groups: overly pc straight people who take it too seriously and the openly gay and proud people. There are few others, especially since barely anyone goes in the first place. I personally stopped going because I didn't find it useful or a productive use of a tuesday night.

The diversity talks are also good in theory, but I feel like most of us have class during the discussions.

Another big equalizer is Hell Week. After Hell Week last year, I definitely stopped feeling like an outsider, but then I'm non-white and gay and thus do not feel the need to rebel against the Bryn Mawr persona. I don't really understand that though, because the majority of the campus is still heterosexual and white.

An idea for a more opened discussion may be a forum, linked on the homepage, or even a chat. That way we aren't constrained by time. Also, any extra speakers can be advertised. But, apathy may still prevail and we will be no better off.


reply
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-19 21:23:11 :
Link to this Comment: 8299

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

I don't think there's much I can say that hasn't already been said. People tend to go to groups that suit them, not groups that they can learn about. Personally, I'm white, straight, and from an all white area and I'm almost more afraid to go to these places because I am worried that I will offend someone, I don't really know the protocol for these kind of things. I don't want to be the only white/straight/whatever girl showing up and everyone going "what is she doing here?" Sarah said that it's too late to change by now, but I know that I came here with the expectation that I would change, and learn about other people's experiences, but I have found that it's not that people don't want to change, they just don't really know how.


girlfight
Name: Mya Mangaw
Date: //2004-02-20 09:10:52 :
Link to this Comment: 8308

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?


GirlFight 1
Name: Sarah Mart
Date: //2004-02-22 14:46:30 :
Link to this Comment: 8355

Kusama might be challenging the stereotype of gender but I think the movie is shows a socio-economic stereotype. What do you picture when you think of a girl growing up in the projects? I think it is stereotypical to go "well, since she is Hispanic and lived in poverty all her life she must be a tough cookie with an abusive father." Like all stereotypes this one is based in truth but I think it is a bit hypocritical on the film makers part to try to break down one stereotype while creating another.


girlfight
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-22 15:19:54 :
Link to this Comment: 8358

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 should be commended for making Diana such a complex character. She has a lot more facets than many other characters that are challenging these stereotypes. However it is true, she has excuses for being aggressive; she's from the projects and she has an abusive father. This would be a very different movie if it was a white rich girl who wanted to box. I think it was interesting that we found out that her father abused her mother because Diana would get in fights with both women and men, and it was complicated that in empowering herself (starting to box) she ended up being hit by men and fighting with men. She did win, but it wasn't as cut and dry as another filmmmaker may have made it. I think she did make Diana more acceptable by emphasizing a heterosexual love story but I think that I knew immediately that she was heterosexual because the first time that she goes to the boxing club, the camera looks at the men in a very desiring way, both as far as the boxing and in a sexual way. I think the heterosexual love story served a purpose, however, to motivate the final fight. If it were a homosexual love story and they had to do the same fight at the end, the gender issue would take a backseat to the relationship, instead of the issues playing out together as the movie ended this way.


Remember the Titans, post 1
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-22 19:46:24 :
Link to this Comment: 8364

The message of "Remember the Titans" was pretty clear. In integrating a black and white team, the coach's job is to create one team working towards the same goal. The message is a great and important one, but was unfortunately portrayed in an annoyingly simplistic way. Racism is an extremely important issue today as always – as the modern-day film setting proved – and deserves to be treated with more weight than a Disney film can provide. The lines and images were clichéd, and the film was obviously made for entertainment: the quick pace, the snappy actors, the obvious, surface-level message. The ugliness of racism was glossed over, and the characters became stereotyped. I didn't think the movie gave enough weight to the reality of discrimination and as a result glossed over the issues of difference.

Assuming that the film had given issues of difference and discrimination the weight that they're due, I think you could compare the sports-team / working-toward-a-common-goal mentality to Bryn Mawr itself. Bryn Mawr incorporates an enormous variety of people from different races, backgrounds, opinions, interests, ethnicities, orientations... and on and on. Our common goal, however, is to learn and excel. In this way, we can celebrate our differences through a mutual goal. This is what the film would have been better off promoting – empowerment through difference, rather than a way to gloss over issues of discrimination and thus ignore issues of diversity.


Girlfight, post 1
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-22 21:01:01 :
Link to this Comment: 8367

I'm definitely conflicted over whether or not the movie had, overall, a positive or negative portrayal of Diana – whether or not the film sought to apologize for her aggressive nature. The greatest possible apology for her gender-nonconformity, I think, was in the addition of the heterosexual love story. It showed that, underneath her wrathful scowl, Diana really was a conformingly feminine woman after all. On her date, her gestures are typically feminine – she twirls her hair around her finger, she averts her eyes, she smiles innocently. Though she later beats her boyfriend in the ring, contrasting drastically with the tenderness and femininity she displayed when they kissed, she feels emotionally defeated afterwards because of it.

Perhaps this love story was in context with the film's overall fight-against-gender-types message afterall. There was definitely an inner turmoil, an inner boxing match, going on in Diana (as was brought up in lecture). On the one hand, she wanted to enter the masculine-dominated world (of boxing, or of society at large), and on the other hand she still wanted to be loved and accepted by a particular boy. The question for me is, where does this latter half arrive from? In our society, women are conditioned to believe that their success and fulfillment in life will come from being accepted by men. Women are the Cinderella type, patiently awaiting their Prince Charming to sweep them off their feet and complete them. In one interpretation, the film could definitely be comprimising Diana's non-conformity with the gender-typed woman by emphasizing her underlying need for acceptance by men. On the other hand, however, the film could be portraying the social necessity of this conditioning for passivity, and not necessarily supporting it. In order for me to be completely happy with this film, I believe that the latter interpretation must be true. Diana's internal fight with her socially ingrained expectations is the most important, and difficult, one to win.


Girlfight
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-22 21:22:37 :
Link to this Comment: 8371

I think Jessie made a really good point. I think the film was sort of "apologizing" for the main character's lack of adherence to societally proscribed gender roles by adding in the heterosexual relationship. Truthfully, I did question Diana's sexuality once or twice during the movie. Especially the way she acted around her friend in school, when Diana said that the popular slutty girl only hung out with her to make Diana mad. First of all, I couldn't help but be annoyed with Diana for that completely self-centered comment, but secondly, her protectiveness over her friend was almost excessive, to the point that it DID make me question her sexuality for a minute.

(Speaking of the popular slutty girl, I feel like they didn't really adequately resolve that issue. I mean, they brought it in at the beginning, but they never really followed up on it. I realize that it wasn't the main point of the movie, but I thought they sort of left it hanging.)

Anyway, I had mixed feelings about the end of the movie. Truthfully, I felt like Diana was being kind of selfish again at the end of the movie. Like, she humiliated and goaded the guy into a fight that he didn't even really want to fight. I completely understand where that guy was coming from! Well, to tell the absolute truth, I do have a LITTLE problem with gender-blind boxing; I know this is rather anti-feminist, but I still think of the societal norm that guys should not hit girls! I realize that this is a bit of a different situation because it's just a sport, but I completely understand the guy (Diana's love interest, I forget his name...), well, his point of view! He didn't want to beat up on a woman he loved! Makes sense to me!

I mean, I can deal with genderblind boxing because it IS a sport, and women CAN be just as, if not more, capable than men in all arenas, including hitting each other. But they had the added element of romantic interest thrown in there, so I can completely understand the guy's reluctance to box Diana. I mean, when you really truly care about somebody then seeing that person in pain makes YOU feel bad too! And to know that the person you truly care about is in pain because YOU are hitting them?!?! WHY would you want to go through that?

I feel like it was really selfish of Diana to make the guy box her. She was only doing it to prove something, which, if she was secure enough with HERSELF, I feel like she wouldn't have NEEDED to prove. So I think that she emotionally manipulated the guy into boxing her for her own selfish reasons. Because what did he have to gain? I mean, obviously the title, but I think that even if he had won the title, people would've said "Oh but he just had to beat a girl to win, so it's not even that big of a deal" kind of thing, you know? Like, it was kind of expected that he would win the title, or at least expected that he's going to go on to better things. And he had a LOT to lose!!! I mean, think of all the crap he'll have to put up with about being "beaten by a girl" and stuff! Plus, it might negatively affect his PROFESSIONAL career! As I recall, Diana didn't mention anything about turning pro, and while she had NOTHING to lose, she had everything to gain. On the other hand, I feel like the guy had relatively little to gain and EVERYTHING to lose. So I feel like it was just completely selfish of Diana to essentially force him into boxing her.



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-23 00:48:06 :
Link to this Comment: 8383

Diana's ambition to be a boxer may not have as much to do with race or economic status as with how she was treated by her family and by her peers. After all, many of the girls with backgrounds similar to hers were very feminine and non-aggressive in the movie, serving as a marked contrast to Diana's outward displays of rage. As in many movies that show strong women, as well as for the sake of Hollywood flair, there was a love interest to show the heterosexuality of the otherwise very unfeminine Diana. Maybe it was just to improve the story-line however; it would have been a bit boring without the boy. But I also think he was very much embedded in the plot, so I won't say that his character was tacked on last minute just to show the Diana could be unfeminine and strong and still be into guys. We are so quick to criticize a movie for making a strong women on the screen have to be heterosexual to "apologize" for being so masculine, and we immediately attribute it to a retro need of men's approval of women to affirm the normalcy of a situation. At the risk of sounding corny, there were real feelings between them of awkwardness and hesitation in trusting each other, and it was believable because they acted like real people would, without stupid Kate-Hudson-esque pseudo-feminism. It wasn't all that romantic, it was even painful to watch at times, so maybe we can believe that the love-interest was just another way to develop her character, and he was a device to show what she would do for the pursuit of her ambition in boxing, that is, beat him up and stunt his career despite the fact she loves him, not very selflessly heroic. Like she said at the end, she USED him, and that doesn't remind me of any fairy tale I can think of. Even when they were fighting and he was sitting on that bench and he saw a man walk by with braids like her, the movie shamelessly admits how masculine she appears, even to the guy who loves her, and he still loves her. How does that feminize her? He tells her he's looking for something else after his last girlfriend who he says is gorgeous and who appears very feminine, and then he kisses Diana. I just have to disagree that the film apologizes in any way for her masculinity by means of the boy in the story, if anything he serves to make the point that women don't have to show any feminine side just for the sake of men, women don't have to ever be photographed in a kitchen in her underwear right before winning an important competition, they can be awkward and muscular and outwardly masculine in front of a boy and he can still like her anyway. Whether that's real or not is another question, but I find it refreshing and I won't dis it.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-23 01:54:54 :
Link to this Comment: 8385

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?

Kusama leaves the apology very ambiguous. While Diana triumphs in the end as the ultimate "brute" in the ring, she is trumped by a pretty boy. Her aggression is also not made more acceptable by her position either; her brother grew up in the same environment, yet remained passive. Also, I agree with megan over Diana's heterosexuality; the final fight between Diana and Adrian would have been much less tense without the gender issue being compounded with the romantic issue. Because Kusama never really flat-out apologizes, the movie becomes more acceptable as reality. The ambiguities make the world a tougher, more believable place, much like reality.



Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-02-23 22:01:21 :
Link to this Comment: 8407

I don't really think that the film is too apologetic about her "roughness" because of her relationship within her family. She witnessed her mother being abused and committing suicide, and in return she becomes the aggressor in order to escape that type of life. If Kuzman had left it at that, it would have been apologetic. However, the scene where she attacks her father is the deciding scene. She realizes that what she is doing to him is not right and that nothing justifies these actions.

The one area where I think the director was too soft was the area of her femininity. I really liked how, no matter what she did, Diana was still a girl. However, I really don't think it needed to be emphasized purely through her relationship to her boyfriend. I guess this may just be part of me that is sick of movies that feature unnecessary love stories and who's main role for women is that of the love interest. Really, though, the only time she is at all feminine is when it is in relation to her man. I would have liked to see that come out in some other way because it just seemed to me that the director was overtly trying to dodge a sort of "butch" stereotype with Diana.



Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2004-02-24 00:08:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8420

I agree with much of what Jenna said. While I do think there was some "apologizing" going on -- she's agressive, so of course she's from a violent, poverty-stricken minority background -- I also think that the issue of her femininity was nicely dealt with. She's a woman, and can be a _straight_ woman in a very masculine environment. Likewise, she can be a _butch_ straight woman. Contrary to thinking that the heterosexual aspect takes away from the girl-power, I think it adds to the overall message that women can do anything, be anything, and fit any roles we want to fit.


girlfight two
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-24 15:04:24 :
Link to this Comment: 8458

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 think that there are a lot of films where females are aggressive in other senses than physical, but in these they are still assured as heterosexual. I think it goes past the idea that aggression is a masculine attribute; any sort of ambition is a masculine attribute. When you get into a fight, or do anything that you put aggression into, I think that you have the ambition to win whatever it is. So not only can I not think of a film where there is a woman who is aggressive and not assured to be heterosexual, I can't even think of a film where there is a woman who is ambitious and not assured to be heterosexual.

As far as the first issue of Women's Sports Illustrated goes... I have no clue.



Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2004-02-24 17:12:08 :
Link to this Comment: 8462

Hideously enough, the only examples I can think of for agressive women in films (who are not identified one way or the other in terms of sexuality) are bullies. Like, for instance, the art-bullies in _She's All That_. Likewise, there are many agressive girls in cartoons aimed at younger audiences, who are not only bullies but may be seen as being too young for the sexuality question to even come up.

Why can't agressive, non-sexually-defined women be anything other than petty villians? Creepy.

As for Women Sports Illustrated... uh...



Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-02-24 22:19:54 :
Link to this Comment: 8474

I agree with Kat, you usually only see aggressive women as "bad guys." I've been trying to think of an aggressive protagonist and i can't really think of one. Of course, i was talking to my father today and asked him if he could remember one and he just said, "of course, Barbarella." I guess that's the other thing. Most agressive women in film are not only physically imposing, but sexually as well. They take up an aspect of "maleness" when they become agressive.

and about the sport's illustrated thing, i have no idea. I usually avoid that magazine unless i'm in a dentist's office and there's nothing else to read.


Girlfight
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-25 00:58:12 :
Link to this Comment: 8481

In response to the first posting:

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 that the film did a better job at challenging gender stereotypes than reinforcing them. The characters that compliment and contrast Diana are entirely poor and Latino, and there are a plethora of varying behaviors and personality types. I think that assuming that her race and economic circumstances are intended to make her more acceptable as an aggressive female ignores the other poor Latina women in the film who are not aggressive. I think it was Dustin who pointed out that Diana's brother (who shares even more similar circumstances with her in addition to being poor and Latino) is neither aggressive, or a good boxer. This contrast is also challenging to gender stereotypes, especially because he is an artist, an interest that can be genderized (in a very simplistic sense) as female. I think that they are used rather as a tool to express that she fights not just in the ring, but in the hallways, in the principal's office, in her apartment, and with the daily trials of growing up.

As far as her heterosexual relationship is concerned I think that if anything her relationship challenged stereotypes in more ways than one. The fact that she while not androgynous had a degree of gender ambiguity, and never quite participated in any "heterosexual behaviors" until she showed an interest in the male character all indicate that she is either challenging the definitions of a heterosexual woman, or is having a heterosexual relationship with an undefined sexuality. Both of which are challenging to gender stereotypes.

Also, the fact that her love interest challenged notions of male heterosexual identity, and challenged notions of Puerto Rican male macho, especially that associated with an athlete, challenged gender stereotypes greatly. One scene that comes to mind is when they are ordering food, and Diana orders a double bacon cheeseburger with extra bacon and fries and he orders a salad and water. Also when he is describing the emptiness that he experiences with the girl that is only interested in being with him for his image. Diana herself addresses these notions when she says that to "most guys" that would be a perfect relationship. The complexities of his character in contrast with the complexities of Diana's make a nice compliment for the challenging of gender stereotypes, and the fact that they are a couple only further heightens this compliment. In fact it can be said that the scene where they fight, and he is dealing with feelings of not wanting to fight Diana, and seeing it as a no-win situation, he can be seen as fighting for the ideals and against the stereotypes that his character represents in the film. Likewise when Diana is fighting, in the championship scene, to gain recognition as a fighter not as a "female fighter," and to box with the male lead as an equal given the respect of an athlete and a peer, she can be seen as fighting for the ideals and against the stereotypes that she represents.


Girlfight, post 2
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-25 17:27:26 :
Link to this Comment: 8494

<<>>
I thought for a while, and the best example I could come up with for proposal is "Courage Under Fire." Granted, it is debatable who the film's protagonist is – it's more the male investigator than the investigated female captain, but she still figures in a prominent and positive way and is unabashedly aggressive. Like Diana in Girlfight, the "Courage" character is, in effect, under ridicule for entering an all-male realm (here, the military). In "Courage," the woman is explicitly investigated in the plot; in "Girlfight," the documentary-like style (unsteady camera shots, nearly spastic cutting) lends itself to the feeling of examination. The underlying theme in these portrayals (even possibly positive portrayals) of aggressive women – or any woman defying gender norms – is that she deserves the camera's scrutiny.

Sarah Martin said: <<>>

I think, too, this stereotype comes across especially clearly in the film due to Kusama's film-making style. Between the intense sound effects (from detailed background noises to a forceful score) and the dimly lit, somewhat grainy photography, the audience is plunged into Diana's world.



Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-25 17:28:38 :
Link to this Comment: 8495

woah, i don't know why it took out the quotes on me... the first quote was supposed to be:

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?

The next one was:

Kusama might be challenging the stereotype of gender but I think the movie is shows a socio-economic stereotype. What do you picture when you think of a girl growing up in the projects? I think it is stereotypical to go "well, since she is Hispanic and lived in poverty all her life she must be a tough cookie with an abusive father."


Bend It Like Beckham, post 2
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-25 17:45:10 :
Link to this Comment: 8497

"Why does sport heighten the conversation re: gender and orientation for women and not for men? Are there other places in society this happens?"
The sports world is still, despite Title IX, male dominated. The values associated with athletes – aggressiveness, competitive drive, physical strength – are generally limited to men (accurately or not). When men play sports, then, they are already entering into a male field. Just by virtue of BEING an athlete, they are proving their maleness. Athletic women, on the other hand, are entering into a field that conflicts with their gender expectations. They must assure others of their underlying femininity (eg, why the female baseball teams of WWII had to play in short skirts), and also prove their heterosexuality (eg, why it was necessary for Diana in "Girlfight" to be explicitly straight).

Sadly enough, this happens eeeeeverywhere in society, everywhere that's male-dominated – so that's by definition everything visible / in the public sphere, if you will. This is well exemplified in politics: female candidates have to answer questions about who's tending to their children while they're campaigning (they have to assure voters that they still care about family and children).


catching up... initial forum question, post 2
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-25 18:52:39 :
Link to this Comment: 8500

"Great comments by all-- it-- the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". I'd 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??"

The primary aspect of an athlete, I think, is having a strong connection with one's body. This is what all sports have in common, competitive or not – from wrestling to golf to dance to ping-pong, all require a strong relationship with and awareness of physicality. This positive relationship is something that most women are traditionally denied – from women's smaller gait and restrained posture to physically constraining feminine clothing such as high-heeled shoes, the gender role for women requires that they all think and act negatively in relation to their bodies.

Film, generally, wants to glamourize women and portray them at the peak of femininity. This presents a paradox, then, for films wishing to portray an athletic woman. Perhaps this is why strong examples of athletic women in film may be difficult to come by.



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-02-25 19:29:26 :
Link to this Comment: 8502

Um, that second mighty ducks movie had a girl who didn't like any of the guys on the team, and she was agressive. To make a point however, she was a minor character, so she didnt need a love interest for the sake of the movie, let me repeat, for the sake of the movie, not merely for the sake of feminizing her character. This is Hollywood, not Lets-make-women-look-weak-wood. The formula of a "plot" and a "love-interest" are integral to just about every maintream movie out there since the beginning of movie-making. It's like a rule. Also, just because a girl might like a guy, I still don't see how that has to automatically compromise her ambitions or make her appear weaker. We don't think that way when we see a male main character fall in love with a girl, if anything, that's the point in the movie where the main character starts having everything working out for him.

And yeah, I don't know what we are supposed to know about the Women's Sports Illustrated question.


Aggression
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-02-26 01:59:37 :
Link to this Comment: 8516

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)?

Not to be flippant, but all of the films that come to mind with an "aggressive" protagonist and no assurance that she is straight are gay and gay themed films. For example: Boys Don't Cry, Relax it's just sex, Chocolate Babies, etc.

I think that the tension between gender and overt expressions of sexuality occur in films that are censoring or sensitive for whatever reason. Also, I think that the notion of aggression is relative, and as far as gay identity is concerned, aggression can have little to do with gender identity. If the question is specifically in reference to aggression with respect to athleticism, then Love and Basketball comes to mind, and perhaps the character Kit from A League of Their Own.

I tried googling the magazine cover, and the furthest issue back was in '99, and had an image of Chamique Holdsclaw on the cover from when she still played for Tennessee.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-02-26 02:07:46 :
Link to this Comment: 8517

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)?

The only movie I can think of with an agressive non-feminine protagonist is "Bound." Except, it doesn't count because we are smacked in the head with the fact that she is a lesbian. So really, I think I'm running dry on this one. Maybe it's because I don't really watch sports movies or because society will not accept a character that isn't feminine and may not be heterosexual. This is probably the result of fear in our still-male-dominated society. Once women infringe on this last bit of territory, they'll have nothing left to call their own beyond their bodies. And in the age of sex changes, the body is not as concrete as we'd like to imagine.

As for the cover? I don't know.


Love and Basketball
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2004-02-27 09:21:05 :
Link to this Comment: 8541

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 week, second response
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-29 13:05:25 :
Link to this Comment: 8558

...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 think that we talked about this in class, saying that we all have some key characteristics associated with athletics, but I have a hard time thinking of myself as an athlete because I just don't do anything physical. If athlete wasn't defined by something physical I'd be an athlete in academics perhaps, or someone could be an athlete in organizations, and things like that. As far as the movies go, they are all true athletes, because they have the characteristics that we all share but they apply them to physical endeavors (and their lives as a whole).


love and basketball
Name: Megan
Date: //2004-02-29 13:11:16 :
Link to this Comment: 8559

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 are similar films in that they are portraying these empowered women succeeding in sport. In girlfight I think that Diana had a lot more to overcome, with her family situation and the sport of boxing being so masculine. Love and Basketball addressed more the way that sport affected Monica's life, but the only real conflict that was concerning her sport was the fact that she had to deal with her mom's submissiveness and not follow in her path, even though her mom was trying to get her to. They were both heterosexual women, so they could still be feminine and attractive in that way. I think it's interesting we haven't seen a film with a homosexual female athlete. Are there any? (Besides the documentary.)


Love and Basketball
Name:
Date: //2004-02-29 18:50:29 :
Link to this Comment: 8563

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, I mean both of the main characters in these movies had to struggle to be accepted as a whole person, athlete included, in their personal lives. Whereas Diana had to struggle to be allowed to even compete in the sport of boxing, Monica had no problems with being ABLE to play basketball, she just had problems in her personal life related to it. I think Love and Basketball sent a really good message though, because it portrayed women's basketball as such a norm. There wasn't anything weird or abnormal about it. Monica played basketball in high school, scouts came to their games, then she played professionally in Europe, then even in the United States, too! It was ASSUMED in the movie that women playing basketball was an okay thing to do. I think that's nice, because in Girl Fight, Diana had to struggle to be accepted as a boxer. Monica only had to struggle with her big-headed boyfriend who couldn't accept the fact that her career was on the rise while his wasn't looking as good as he'd hoped.


Previous Comment
Name: Sarah Kim
Date: //2004-02-29 18:51:03 :
Link to this Comment: 8564

Whoops, sorry, I forgot to put my name and email address on the last comment.


Love and Basketball, post 1
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-02-29 22:04:32 :
Link to this Comment: 8567

One big distinction between the two characters is that Diana is entering a co-ed sport, while Monica is playing on an all-woman team. This has far-ranging implications for the film's themes as well. Diana is making a statement about women's role in male-defined society. She is also playing by herself: she is isolated in a masculine-dominated environment. Monica, however, is playing on a team with other girls, competing against other girls, and being cheered on by a mixed gender audience. Her struggle is more with her love life. She is accepted as a basketball player, but not as a potential partner by her boyfriend (although this has less to do with her being a basketball player, in my opinion, and more to do with her being independent and him being an egotistical jerk...)



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2004-03-01 00:19:07 :
Link to this Comment: 8576

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 are stories of a woman playing and succeeding in a traditionally male sport. Both of these women are heterosexual and non-white; maybe they're telling us that to play hardest you have to fight to play. Both had a kind of stigma on their character as well. Diana was the was the rough outcast and Monica was the tomboy. Neither did what was expected of them in the traditional female sense until the reaffirmation of the hetersexuality came up; ie, they had sex with a boy after prettying up to go out with him.

The differences are that Diana had a rougher life, while Monica obviously came from a family with a good income. Diana had much grander social adversity than monica; monica was just a tomboy, Diana was a rabble-rousing project's resident in a failing public school with an abusive father. Monica's life was much more sugar-coated as well. We are assured of her success while Diana is just left with possibilities.



Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-03-01 14:42:06 :
Link to this Comment: 8587

i think both diana and monica are similare becuase niether is willing to compromise. No matter what happens in their everyday lives (and especially in their love lives), sport seems like a place of return for them that always remains the same. also, they are both overly aggressive in the beginning because they want to play as "one of the guys." in the end they have to figure out where they stand between sport and their own femininity.

honestly, as far as differences go, it's mostly in background and attitude. diana has had a rougher life and is a harder person for it. if she had had a background like monica's i'm sure she wouldn't be as unwilling to compromise and as willing to get into fights.


Week 1 post 2
Name: heather pr
Date: //2004-03-01 14:46:24 :
Link to this Comment: 8588

I think the idea of being an athlete is one that really changes depending on the person. I would never say i'm an athlete. i don't play sports, but i do work out. i'm active, but it does not play a large role in my life. looking at this question from this point in the course, i wonder how many women in these films would consider themselves athletes. probably all, but i guess i'm really thinking in terms of diana. do you think she'd consider *herself* as an athlete? that would be an interesting though considering her role in the movie and her idea towards sports in general which we never really get to see. She's an individual athlete, but how does the actual title fit in to who we are and how we view ourselves?



Name: Jenna Rosa
Date: //2004-03-01 15:51:56 :
Link to this Comment: 8592

Diana and Monica differed because Diana didn't have much of a woman-figure in her life and so found her way through her pent up agression, a desire to be able to defend herself and just be really good at something. Monica on the other hand had two very feminine women in her life, her mother and sister, and she saw how her mother was often very passive with her father, and her sister was more concerned about her looks and boys than any greater goals. So for Monica, pursuing basketball was a goal that didnt involve men, and that, as well as her desire to play, was what made her different from her mother and sister, and this is why they couldnt understand her. The guy she was in love with also couldn't understand her for these reasons, because he like many men, are used to girls who will be passive and will be willing to follow a man as he pursues his own goals despite the sacrifices she may have to make for herself.


Remember the Titans, post 2
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-03-01 16:09:35 :
Link to this Comment: 8593

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?

Rachel Robbins said: I think that while sports and athletics may be successful in overcoming many barriers that may prevail in other aspects of society, they may also lend a hand in creating them. The type of thought that establishes a mutually exclusive, oppositional binary approach to thinking about things is very much the type of thought behind competitive sport and the thought behind nationalism and xenophobia.

I think this is a great point. It leads me to question the sort of mentality behind team sports. As much as Titans may purport a "leveling" sort of effect, I think this portrayal overlooks sports' role in a competition-focused society. Also, I think this is another reason why its difficult for women to break into sports. This "win/lose" framework conflicts with conventional feminine values. To allow women into this mentality is to comprimise the strictly dimorphic gender spheres that society cherishes. (Which is another reason why women should be encouraged in sports.)

As many good qualities as team sports may purport, I question the value of winning above all else. In this way, team sports are quite different from theatre groups and other non-competitive organizations. Theatre particularly, though it has the effect of unifying those involved into a cohesive working group, is focused not on competition, but on creation. There are no winners and losers, not even good and bad results, only the creation of experiences. If, then, artistic groups and other groups that are not goal-oriented, or winning-oriented, provide the same sort of comradery as team sports, the competitive element of sports is not necessarily its most valuable part, or at least, the aspect that leads to commonality and unification.


Love and Basketball
Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2004-03-01 19:46:59 :
Link to this Comment: 8601

Leaving aside the fact that they are both of them women: neither of them conform to traditional ideals of beauty (or at least, not for extended periods of time), both of them have a parent telling them not to play (her father for Diana, her mother for Monica), and both play in competitive sports. Character-wise, I think they're both driven, but I think Diana's drive is a slightly healthier one -- or rather, interacts with her life in a healthier fashion. Diana seems to recognize the difference between boxing and relationships, and why they need to be separate and equal, whereas it takes a while for Monica to come to that conclusion (which is why it's the major theme of the film).


love and basketball, post 2
Name: Jessie Pay
Date: //2004-03-03 20:07:35 :
Link to this Comment: 8664

Sarah: I think Love and Basketball sent a really good message though, because it portrayed women's basketball as such a norm.

I agree, that Monica was playing in a sport that has become much more mainstream/acceptable for women to play, and that definitely made an impact on the film. One thing that annoyed me about the film, though, was the difference in how men's and women's basketball was portrayed. The men's games were depicted in all their glory, with the cheering fans and the music and snazzy athletic stunts (like Quincy jumping to the hoop before he . When it switched to the women's games, however, it generally showed the practice sessions. There were no fans, just a screaming coach. There was no music, just squeaking sneakers and excitable voices. Instead of showcasing strength and agility, like in the male games, the women's practices featured shots of women tugging at each others shirts and shorts, cat-fight like. Granted, this depiction is probably accurate to mainstream views about men's versus women's basketball, but it's still obnoxious and not empowering.



Name: Jessie
Date: //2004-03-03 20:10:20 :
Link to this Comment: 8665

oops, "before he busted his knee" or something to that effect.


Week 2 post 2
Name: Heather Pr
Date: //2004-03-04 08:36:27 :
Link to this Comment: 8668

I think that sport is going to bring up questions of gender and sexuality for at least another generation or two. Right now, for my generation of title 9 babies, it's not really sport that brings up these issues. It's more about how she acts off the field that makes people assume things. In fact, most of my guy friends see the athletic woman as sort of a sexual ideal. When askes to pick out the hottest girl in the sports illustrated swimsuit addition, most of them picked out either the girl in the one piece or the girl in the sports bra. This of course does not speak for all men, but i know that a lot of guys think these types of women are more natural and definately not as high maitnance. Sexual orientation and sport (to me at least) is more a question that our mothers worry about, not us. you will never here a comment like "wow, she must be a lesbian, i mean, she plays *soccer*!" no. it just sounds ridiculous! besides, may it was to soften it, but Jules' mother was a flake.


Love and Basketball
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-03-04 18:43:46 :
Link to this Comment: 8687

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?

The 2 films are similar in their expression of female autonomy and volition. They purport that women can be athletic, strong, and independent in their decisions and "exercise" their own beliefs in their decisions to be athletes (despite the views of family or peers).

The 2 characters are similar in their desire to be equal in competition to some sort of male counterpart, thereby legitimizing their position in a historically male field. They also set up the female-male counterpart as a love interest, and as a means of comparing the differences between the treatment and success of women versus men in the sport.

The roles stand for female autonomy, and athleticism. Because there was more character development in Girl Fight, it was easier to recognize Dianna's struggles with the traditional role of women, and her transformation into an athlete and her falling in love. With Monica, her story and struggles were weakened with a thinly written script and a heavy use of cliché, yet her struggles were "making the team," and "getting her man." She represents the challenge of balancing professional athleticism and family/ personal life, and ultimately says that women can be professional athletes and wives, mothers, etc.

The two films are different in the amount of the characters life that was included in the stories. "Love and Basketball" included more years, and therefore issues and conflicts. The two films differ in their treatment of the main character's reaction to their boyfriends. It seemed that when Dianna found out that the male character had betrayed her loyalty, her reaction to being hurt was anger and aggression. Her overall outward attitude was that she didn't need him, and was content to not have him in her life. When Monica discovered that her boyfriend was messing around with the more (traditionally) feminine girl, her reaction to being hurt was not aggression. In fact, she took and overall very passive role in dealing with her love and hurt over her relationship. It took her 10 years to finally see him again, and once his fiancé shows up, she practically runs out of the room. Then she musters up the courage to knock on the window if his parents house in the same way that she had done over 10 years before, and sheepishly gambles his love on a game of rough house (where they once again windup with their shirts off). Ultimately I wound up having more respect for Dianna, possibly because there was more character development, and a stronger screen play for Girl Fight than there was for Love and Basketball.

They use the medium of sport to illustrate that women can be competitive, athletic, and independent.


Love and basketball 2
Name: Rachel Rob
Date: //2004-03-05 00:49:36 :
Link to this Comment: 8696

An interesting point that Megan mentioned is the relation that Monica had with her mother. I think that both Monica's mother in her traditional house wife role, and Dianna's mother in the conditions of her life and of her death were motivating factors in the reasons why both women were persistent in their atheism and maintained the fight.

For Monica, her drive was mainly in protest against what she viewed as her mother's submissive role in raising her, and in her mother's lack of understanding of the reasons why Monica was a "ballplayer."

For Dianna the fight is not against her mother, but rather is for her mother. Specifically in the scene where Dianna confronts her father, and fights with him over the way that he treated her mother. (as an aside, it was ironic that he would be concerned about the bruise on her eye being from the guy that she was hanging around, after he would beat his wife until she would take her own life) So, for Dianna, the fight in her, and the drive to work hard and to succeed was not representational of a fight against the past and against traditional roles of women as it might be for Monica, but rather was a fight for surviving and maintaining as an adolescent in the face of so many struggles. As her brother said when she first went to the gym and bare knuckled the fighter, "we were sparring." The physical practice in the ring was in preparation for and in response to the fight in her life as a result of loyalty, and for survival.