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Women Sport and Film - Spring 2005 Forum

Women Sport and Film - Spring 2005 Forum


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Week 1 Dare To Compete
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-01-28 09:56:22 :
Link to this Comment: 12283

1. Trace the connections of how sport has an influence on the role of women in society
and how social norms have influenced the role of women in sport.

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they
still exist?



Name: Dustin
Date: //2005-01-30 23:51:10 :
Link to this Comment: 12370

1. Trace the connections of how sport has an influence on the role of women in society
and how social norms have influenced the role of women in sport.

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they
still exist?


2. The major barriers affecting women in sport all center around one big stumbling block: money. Women's sports get less promotion, less participation, pretty much less of everything because of money. For whatever reason people don't seem to like to watch women's sports. Part of it is less promotion, but I think a big part of it is this country's overly puritanical views. Women are still viewed as these delicate little virginal things but in actuality, I know many men more delicate than the majority of the women I know. That could be because I'm a Mawrtyr but Shh! Not only that, but after the feminist movement, there's been this post-feminist backlash. While I'm all about women being beautiful and sexy, I really don't see how shaming women into conforming to a societal norm really achieves that end. And what about those women who want to send their kindred back to slaving over the stove? As far as I can see, society isn't ready for women's sports. It needs to be and I don't know how it can be achieved. Any thoughts?


My first Comment
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-02-01 23:31:09 :
Link to this Comment: 12426

1. Trace the connections of how sport has an influence on the role of women in society and how social norms have influenced the role of women in sport.

See, I wouldn't think of it as sports influencing society. Rather, I'd think of it as society influencing sports. Sports allegedly imitate life struggle after all, right?

So if a women is treated a certain way in the world of sports, this would, to me, illustrate how a women might be treated in real life. For example, it seems like every trait that is desirable in sports is a trait that was (and possibly still is) undesirable in women. However, if a man expressed all of these traits, he would be the perfect man. He'd be aggressive, tough, persistent, strong, perhaps not violent, but definitely not with the whole taking mercy thing, etc.

Blah, I'm having trouble expressing this in the proper words. So one more try: in baseball, a guy's expected to play hard, take no prisoners, out do the other guys, gloat about his win, etc, etc. But, at least in my home town, a woman couldn't even play baseball. I think that says a lot about our gender roles.

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they still exist?

Okay, I love 'Dare to Compete.' I think this class should show it every year. But at the end of the documentary, they made it sound like women have finally achieved equality in sports, and I don’t think that’s anywhere close to true. Yes, we have achieved a lot, and I think it’s good to stress the positive. But I wish the documentary would have acknowledged that we have so much further to go.

I think the relation between women and sex in sports is a major problem. Now, I'm not saying a woman shouldn't be a sexual creature; however, I’m so tired of women and sex being so closely intertwined. The pictures of those two Olympic volleyball players were splashed all over the Internet. I particularly remember the one of them hugging: the woman with her back to the camera had her bikini bottom riding up so a good portion of her backside was visible. Now, I have no problem with the human body. This woman was toned and a great player and a beautiful person. But those pictures weren’t meant to celebrate her as an athlete or as a strong, amazing woman who could achieve so much. Those pictures were meant to celebrate those darn bikinis. (And I found this picture on Yahoo!).

I keeping thinking about that Brandi Chastain thing. We talked a bit about this incident in class. I think it's so, so important to note that this was not a sexualized/sexual/whatever experience in any sense of the word. Male soccer players often rip off their shirts and twirl them over their heads after scoring a goal. It's a way to just express the sheer joy in winning. Chastain imitated this; she did something to show what pure elation she felt when she helped to win the game. And suddenly, the media was like, "OOO! Sex!" People took this beautiful moment of joy and victory and success and turned it into a sexualized thing. I mean, look at this. How can you take this beautiful moment and turn it into "Tsk, tsk, tsk, we can see skin, how naughty" moment. Look at her muscles. Look at her face. She’s so happy. It’s a beautiful moment.

I could go on, but this thing’s over a page now. So I think I should stop.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-02-02 02:12:21 :
Link to this Comment: 12430

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they still exist?

A lot of what Dustin said is a big thing. Funding is awful, but honestly, people's views are worse. The class discussion illuminated one of the most important for me; there's no "right way" to look at women in sports. Is it okay to see them as beautiful? Should they not be striving to be beautiful? Should they be forced to?

It doesn't feel like a double standard, so much as a double-edged sword. People will never all be happy. The woman who wants to wear makeup will be judged for feeling she needs to look like that; the woman who doesn't will be called names for not keeping up appearances. And these are all external judgments.

I mean, I guess the question for me becomes, is it even possible to lower the barriers that force women in sports to conform to societal standards? When we as society allow them to move away from one standard, another comes to light, and there is always a perceived better or worse.

Is it even possible to look completely neutrally? We're products of our time and our environment, and a calculatedly neutral eye is still calculated.



Name: Kat Macdon
Date: //2005-02-02 12:26:38 :
Link to this Comment: 12434

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they still exist?

I'm going to have to go with some of what's been said previously: nobody knows _how_ to see these women. Should we see them as beautiful? Should we see them as sort of men-with-breasts? Should we ignore all aspects of their physicality completely? (Can you tell what affected _me_ during class?)

It's even difficult to just say, "Look, women doing sports," because then there's still the implication (for someone, at least) that the "women" part of that sentence is the exception to the overall "sports" lifestyle.

The fact that there seems to be more contention _amongst women themselves_ than between men and women is, I think, the biggest hurdle to overcome. Until we feel comfortable with something -- anything -- our chances of finding equality with men are, I think, not too likely.



Name: Kat
Date: //2005-02-02 12:36:51 :
Link to this Comment: 12435

And go me for completely ripping off Amy's post. Gah. *facepalm*

Sarah said:

"See, I wouldn't think of it as sports influencing society. Rather, I'd think of it as society influencing sports. Sports allegedly imitate life struggle after all, right?"

On the other hand, I think there is something to be said for the actions of one person (from a minority of thinkers) affecting the majority of thinkers through a sports action. Like, for instance, those women who snuck into the Boston marathon. Certainly they were not proponents of mainstream opinions. But through their actions, they affected the future of women in sports and, as all of us with functional, non-dropping uteri feverently wish, perhaps the future of women in mainstream opinion and thought.


Dare to Comment
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-02-02 17:04:50 :
Link to this Comment: 12437

1. Trace the connections of how sport has an influence on the role of women in society and how social norms have influenced the role of women in sport.
Women have been controlled by males, fathers or husbands, who wanted to keep women in their place. I thought it was amazing when they mentioned the baby carriage was considered subversive, but it makes perfect sense. It allows women freedom.
Participating in sports creates strong bonds with other women, it is outside the house, it encourages aggression, and worst of all it causes pride. As men lost control of women, women participated in sports more. And as women participate in sports, it becomes harder for them to let themselves be controlled. Men going off to war must have helped to encourage this.

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they still exist?
I think a huge barrier is the existence of the words “masculine” and feminine” because or the hindrance they put on discussion. One cannot say a woman who id being aggressive and strong is being feminine. In sports, it seems as though women are insulted by being called either. If she is “feminine” it probably means she is not being a “real athlete” and if she is being “masculine” she has stepped outside her gender. I would love to say that being able to make a good goal could be just as much a part of being feminine as making a good dinner, but the word prohibits that. Until we can discuss women playing sports without using the word feminine to mean weak, a delicate body-type, submissive and the word masculine to mean strong, s muscular body-type, and aggressive, the issue will have to be discussed judging men and women by different standards



Name: Widget (Ca
Date: //2005-02-03 08:22:09 :
Link to this Comment: 12464

2. What are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they still exist?

Money, as was mentioned, is still a big problem. Women don't get paid as much as men, tickets to women's games don't cost as much as tickets to men's games and so on. And that ties in to the fact that society seems to place more value on males in sports. People don't seem to mind women being involved in sports, but watching doesn't interest them. Maybe it's because women don't generate the coverage that men do (because there's less money in women's sports) and so fewer people get pulled into the hype about it. And so it generates less money and so round the cycle goes...

I think the only way to really push women into a sports forefront is to have someone with the means put funding towards getting them what they need, getting them primetime media coverage, etc. They need the funds to push them towards the forefront and generate the interest that will keep the ball rolling. Otherwise whatever change comes will be very gradual, if it happens at all.

In relation to Sasha's comments about women going off to war helping break men's grip on domination: Yes and no. I think yes, because we never forgot what we could and did do; no because it didn't do anything right away -- in the 50's there that a sort of backlash where keeping women at home was really important again.

And this is getting long, so I'm going to stop.


WK 2 Personal Best
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-02-03 13:22:33 :
Link to this Comment: 12478

Sexual orientation has historically been a touchstone issue in sport. What message does the film give and has the climate changed in the past 23 years? Today, what is the message when sexual orientation and sport is discussed and what link does it have in the role sports plays in our society?


Reply
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-02-03 15:59:24 :
Link to this Comment: 12487

A lot of people mentioned the money issue, and I think that's really important when it comes to women and their role in sports.

As I mentioned to my group last week, there's a Professional Women's Softball League. For some strange reason, they have a team in Akron, Ohio (this old city really near my home town). I used to see the Racers there a lot, but a few years ago, the league just couldn't support itself and it collapsed. They're back now (as of last summer, I believe), but they're still struggling. They've cut down the number of teams on the league, and they play in this old baseball diamond that's gorgeous, but doesn't seat a lot of people - yet not all the seats get filled. Most of the women have to other jobs on top of this league. My old pitching coach, Carla Brookbank, was a pitcher, but she also has to work as a nurse. This woman was an amazing player and she should have had hundreds of fans watching her and supporting her. She shouldn't have needed a job on top of her playing. But she didn't have a choice.

But it's all about money. And while it's amazing that the league exists at all, they should have more support.



Name: Lauren
Date: //2005-02-03 16:01:19 :
Link to this Comment: 12488

1) Despite numerous barriers that still exist, I think most of us would agree that over the past few decades, women have become more and more accepted in the world of sports. I feel this progress has ultimately been beneficial to women’s role in society. Female athletes flout the age old stereotype that women are by nature both weak and passive. Female athletes are often portrayed as strong, and perhaps even heroic figures.

2). But, as I mentioned earlier, barriers are still numerous. Obviously, female professional athletes do not make as much money, and do not receive as much media coverage as their male counterparts. This is undoubtedly the result of a complex relationship between the media and society. But more importantly , and this is an issue that has received much attention in the forum, is that female athletes are usually considered either unfeminine, or sex-objects. Ideally, there should be no need for such judgments; “athlete” and “woman” should be considered just two facets of a complex whole.


Leading the way
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-02-03 16:31:20 :
Link to this Comment: 12492

I think that what Kat said, I think there is something to be said for the actions of one person (from a minority of thinkers) affecting the majority of thinkers through a sports action. is right on target, and should be taken as a challenge. The way to change things is to make them change. If they tell you you can't do it, do it any way ( and get as many cameras pointed at you as you can while you do it.) Of course this is idealistic. It isn't always possible. But many would have said rights we have now were impossible to gain, that there was no way women could earn the right to vote since they could not vote on the issue etc. So, maybe we can't see the way, but just because we can't doesn't mean it isn't there. It was impossible for women to join the marathon, because it was against the rules. And as Sarah said, the struggle is definetly still required, we aren't there yet. We think people should watch women's sports. Why does Bryn Mawr have an event to feed people and get together to watch the Superbowl, but we don't get together to watch women's teams?


It's about power.
Name: astern@bry
Date: //2005-02-03 18:37:33 :
Link to this Comment: 12497

Basically? I thnk that we're all agreed on this. I mean, like, it boils down to one thing: power. Money is power. Influence is power. Strength is power. Leaving us to wonder: why do we not have the power?

Sarah mentioned a professional women's sports team near her. I'm from right near New York City. I'm trying to think of professional women's sports team near me, and I'm failing. I'm trying to think of a time women's sports were acknowledged as much as men's were, and I'm failing. Because recognition is power.

We're talking about needing external funding to create women's athletics. Why should it be external? Because there's a glass ceiling, and men have more money. And money is power.

Which is to say... how can we revamp women's position in sports, without revamping women's position in the world as a whole?



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-02-03 18:38:50 :
Link to this Comment: 12498

...I totally confused email address and name.

I am AWESOME.



Name: Dustin
Date: //2005-02-03 22:59:37 :
Link to this Comment: 12502

Week 1 Dare to compete I like Sasha's comments on language. However much I'd like a linguistic shift, though, I think that society as a whole is stuck in a big rut, especially about women and queer issues. For example, The Babe was a woman who was too strong to be perceived as a woman. Because of this, it's not fair that she be labled a woman under those conditions. There needs to be good androgyny words. The problem is, she had to get married (to a man she later divorced because he turned out to be gay) in order to remain a woman. The sad part about this is that it would probably still happen today because she looked too male to be acceptable.


From 1982
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-02-06 23:14:04 :
Link to this Comment: 12585

Sexual orientation has historically been a touchstone issue in sport. What message does the film give and has the climate changed in the past 23 years? Today, what is the message when sexual orientation and sport is discussed and what link does it have in the role sports plays in our society? It seems that the message given by Personal Best was highly equivocal. On the one hand, it did not exactly punish either woman for being gay, but on the other, it didn’t call them gay (or bisexual, or questioning) But of course that brings up the labeling issue. Labeling the women as “lesbians” would have removed the title of athlete, student, woman, etc etc etc (Although-slightly off topic, this was supposed to be at college right? Did either one ever go to class? Or was it not college, in which case what was the setting/ages.) The sexuality in the film seemed to be excessively present while avoiding sex scenes. I think the movie was reflecting the cultural issue of women being allowed to be gay sexually, because it fulfills a male fantasy. This is emphasized by one of the women sleeping with a man, thus allowing for the fetish yet indicating that these women are still available to men. I think many changes in the past 23 years were apparent, most cultural, but few dealing with sexuality. It was shocking now to see the way the athletes would treat their bodies, and that drugs and alcohol were so accepted. Clothing, especially for men, seems to have changed quite a bit. But sports and sexuality seemed to be no different than today. The assumption that two women athletes cannot just be friends, but are obviously gay was reinforced by the truth in the movie. Today more high-profile women may be openly gay, including in sports, but I don’t think they are more accepted. It is very easy to find evidence that if anything gays are less accepted now, in the current Bush era. Women athletes got more recognition and status in the film than are common now. This is rather disheartening.


a defense of Personal Best
Name: Lauren Z
Date: //2005-02-06 14:10:55 :
Link to this Comment: 12557

I thought that the movie did a good job of not stereotyping lesbians. At least in my opinion, Chris and Tory both seemed like realistic characters. I find this admirable in a film from 1982. I gathered from discussion that many of us felt that the female body was exploited in the film. In addition, many commented that the issue of lesbianism was shoved under the rug, because Tory and Chris scarcely acknowledged that they were in a relationship. I would argue that Personal Best treated both male and female nudity casually. I would agree that lesbianism wasn't discussed very freely, and I would attribute this to the societal taboos regarding homosexuality. But in another sense, I consider this commendable, again because the central female characters were not clichés. The movie wasn't just about the fact that they were lesbians, but that they were two women who were motivated by both their feelings for one another, as well as their competitive spirit.

As far as today's society is concerned, lesbianism is undoubtedly discussed more freely. I'd consider that an improvement. However, I can't think of any examples in which lesbian characters are portrayed as genuinely, and also as casually (for better or for worse). And of course, homosexual athletes (especially males) still face discrimination. In this respect, progress since 1982 has been slight.


Re: Personal Best
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-02-08 22:04:30 :
Link to this Comment: 12700

Sexual orientation has historically been a touchstone issue in sport. What message does the film give and has the climate changed in the past 23 years? Today, what is the message when sexual orientation and sport is discussed and what link does it have in the role sports plays in our society?

Because of a queer theory class I took last semester, I had a lot of trouble looking at the film and the conclusion of Tory and Chris's relationship and not thinking, "Oh, look, they're punishing the queer character!" After "breaking up" (if we can even use that phrase since it's hard to say if they even started going out in the first place) with Tory, Chris found the Perfect Guy. When she was downtrodden at that final meet, he's the one who inspired her to win. Tory didn't get that guy because she's the "real lesbian." And, yes, while she did make it to the Olympics, she also finished the movie alone and needing someone else to help win that race for her. Also, she was barely in the final bit of the film at all.

In my queer theory class, we talked about this idea that the queer character often needs to be punished. (The article that Coach Campbell read mentioned something along these lines). We read some books in my class where the queer character died in the end, so I guess Tory can be glad she even survived. Of course, I could totally be giving the film too much credit, and it's quite possible that this never occured to them. But, still, it's hard to get it out of my mind. Too many English classes, I guess.

It's hard to say what has changed in 23 years. So few sports movies show a main queer character. A queer person can be a lesser character (like in 'Bend it Like Beckham'), but I can't think of any LGBT protagonist in a sports movie off the top of my head. I think there's been this backlash. Since there's a stereotype that athletic, sporty women are lesbians, there's this need in movies to make all athletes straight. And, hey, I totally support showing tough, atheletic, straight women in movies. But we can't deny the fact that gay people play sports, too. (Imagine that! *end sarcasm*)


Personal Best
Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-02-08 22:49:08 :
Link to this Comment: 12701

Sexual orientation has historically been a touchstone issue in sport. What message does the film give and has the climate changed in the past 23 years? Today, what is the message when sexual orientation and sport is discussed and what link does it have in the role sports plays in our society?

To me, this film gives the same message that the Budweiser twins give, albeit within the context of sport; in this respect, virtually no progress has been made in the past 23 years. The film defines a lesbian (without even mentioning the word...what a cool trick that is...) as a woman who has sex with/wants to have sex with women. Like the Budweiser twins, this implication convinces the audience that homosexuality is a shallow kind of hormonal phase (girls like Chris mess around with girls until they meet The Guy while girls like Tory miraculously disappear). (Sorry Sasha, I don't mean to steal all your ideas.) Thus, the film is telling us that leasbians are for entertainment (especially of men) only.

Now, within the greater context of society, that means that men can have all the wet dreams they want about women in sports doing whatever it is they think girls do together without actually acknowleging things like reality (relationships, feelings, actual sex ect.). This leads to women in sport who are actually lesbians (and guess what, I can only think of maybe five at the moment...one of them is Martina and another one is a mountain biker whose name I can't remember) being silenced because they don't meet the expectations had for lesbians in the public sense, especially if they aren't butch or unattractive (as stereotype seems to indicate that all lesbians are).



Name: Widget (Ca
Date: //2005-02-09 03:15:10 :
Link to this Comment: 12704

Sexual orientation has historically been a touchstone issue in sport. What message does the film give and has the climate changed in the past 23 years? Today, what is the message when sexual orientation and sport is discussed and what link does it have in the role sports plays in our society?

I think the film and society today both say that while a woman who plays sports is not necessarily lesbian, she's far more likely to be lesbian than a woman who does not play sports. It seems to me that the movie also suggested that sexual love between two women isn't as genuine as heterosexual love. The word "lesbian" isn't mentioned, nor do Chris and Tory talk about having a relationship. And the fact that one of the women ends up with a guy makes it seem to me that the movie is saying that lesbians don't really love women, they're just messing around.

This has always sort of struck a nerve with me -- guys don't seem to have a problem with lesbians because, as Lauren mentioned, it fulfills a male fantasy. But they frequently have a lot of problems with gays; it's as if two men together threatens their own sexuality. In men's sports especially, being openly gay is risky -- I know two guys who won't come out publically because they're afraid they won't get drafted. Sadly, I don't think the 23 years between the movie's release and now have made a great difference here.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-02-09 09:01:02 :
Link to this Comment: 12705

I'm almost uncomfortable to choose here. Because, on the one hand, there's a LOT to be critical of in this film. Like, everything everyone's said? Completely and totally true.

So, so as not to repeat what they said, I'm going to throw in something else.

At least they MADE this film.

Is it flawed? Oh, totally. I'm uncomfortable by the way that a she's, in many ways, "cured" of her deviant sexual desires, or whatever. But at the same time, twenty-three years ago, someone decided to make a film. And they said "Hey, maybe some women like other women. Maybe some women think chicks are hot. And maybe some of those women are amazing athletes as well, and we can look at them be ATHLETES." I mean, sexiest scene in the movie? Arm wrestling. No question.

Looking at it now, especially in the AfterEllen context, yeah, I see the problems, and they make me uncomfortable. I don't like everything that's said about female FRIENDSHIP, even more so than female sexual/romantic relationships. But a film like this can't do everything in one shot. They have twenty-three years to work up to, you know, Willow and Sharon and possibly one of the Desperate Housewives. If this came out today, I'd be taken aback. To put it in context, it broke ground, and I can really respect it for that.


Playing the Devil
Name: Kat
Date: //2005-02-09 17:01:59 :
Link to this Comment: 12715

...because I take vitriol with my tea:

What message does the film give and has the climate changed in the past 23 years? Today, what is the message when sexual orientation and sport is discussed and what link does it have in the role sports plays in our society?

I'd like to consider what message the film gave when it was produced. As others have mentioned, dude, it had girls screwing each other and then finding other things to do. On the other hand, these women were unashamedly Atheletes, and even when they were widely known to be "particular friends" (ah, nun language!) in their community, everyone was okay with it. And better yet, the film showed that. The problems that rose because of their relationship weren't because they were two women -- it was because they were two competitors. That strikes me as a really awesome, non-issuey message.

And to be fair, there's something to be said for not dwelling on labels. I mean, there are people on this campus who don't want to label themselves as lesbians -- or haven't even considered it, not out of fear or repression, but because it simply doesn't seem relevant to their lives -- and yet who seem to "fit" our definition of what a lesbian is. Does that make them lesbians? Whose right is it to place the label? Back in the day, relationships that we look at now and say, "Yep, that there is teh gay," were considered a regular socio-cultural practice that may not have had anything at all to do with sexual orientation (dude. greek society. teacher and student. yeah). Is it fair to judge the past by our own standards? Whose to say we're right either? If anything has changed to the negative in the last 23 years, it's that we're sitting here saying that because nobody labelled themselves as queer, then Personal Best is not a valid queer text.

The problem with labels is that, ultimately, they're constricting. The fact that we have words now is awfully nice, but the application of them is perhaps too zealous. It may be preventing us from seeing outside the modern delineated lines of types of love to recognize Chris and Tory's relationship for what it was -- and how they defined it.


Reply to Personal Best
Name: Sarah Halt
Date: //2005-02-09 18:03:14 :
Link to this Comment: 12717

On one hand, I'd agree with Kat's argument against labels. Yet, at the same time, I think they can be necessary (as long as we acknowledge their restrictions). By giving something a label, by calling it by name, you are admitting that it exists. And since the world's so quick to silence queer issues, I think sometimes labels and words become necessary to combat this. No, I wouldn't want to be known as just a lesbian. But by saying I am one, along with saying I'm a student, daughter, etc, I am refusing to let people ignore the fact that a lesbian can be many things and can exist and can have voice.

I think Personal Best is a completely valid lesbian text despite it's inability to call gay, well, gay. But, at the same time, I admit I want a movie that says, "Look, this lady's a lesbian. But that's not all she is. She's athletic, she's talented, she's a daughter, she's a lover, she's etc, etc." I'd want the same for any movie about a straight girl. Or bi girl. Or a girl who defined herself differently.

And you know, while we're on this topic, the "a group said Babe looked like she was in drag" came up on another board. So I thought I'd address this. When we talked about it in class, I was pretty sure our whole group agreed that Babe looked happy in her skin when she was younger. And we all agreed this was a beautiful thing; how wonderful to see a woman look so happy to be herself! But when she changed to meet societal norms, something felt off -- like she was not happy in her own skin. And this was sad. I thought this was what our group agreed on, and it made me sad and frustrated that our comments were misintepreted. Of course, maybe Babe was completely happy to change. We can't put words in her mouth. But this is how our group saw things, as I understood. So, anyway, yeah. Addressed.


On backlash...
Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-02-09 19:28:13 :
Link to this Comment: 12721

I think there's been this backlash. Since there's a stereotype that athletic, sporty women are lesbians, there's this need in movies to make all athletes straight. This is a backlash I saw in real life too. I played softball in high school on the Varsity level. Now I'd known about the softball stereotype (big tough dykes play softball...) but my team, even in comparison to the other teams in our league, was absurdly femme. I know not all femmes are absurd, but suffice it to say our pitcher's nickname was "Princess" until the assistant coach made us change it and it became "Sparkle." And when another team mocked her nickname and spit on their hands for the final handshake, it was nearly unanimously voted that we smear our hands with body glitter next time we played them. And, aside from one other girl who was actually more tomboyish than me, every player would show up for practice in a full face of makeup. Trying a little hard? Maybe it was just a coincidence, but I think they knew the stigma and wanted to break free of it. They would talk about the more tomboyish teams on the bus disparagingly and all that.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-02-10 10:46:41 :
Link to this Comment: 12743

I've got to agree with Kat on the labels thing. Actually, I agree with Sarah too.

Dammit.

See, on the one hand, I do think that the film didn't really need to give everything a label. I mean, like, I don't think it would have improved the text to call it a Lesbian Drama. It was a Drama which happened to contain girls who liked each other Like That. And... okay. Cool.

On the other, I think their refusal to use any word here was harmful. I think that the fact that they were never "girlfriends" or "together" or (*shudder*) "lovers" is obscene; they don't need to be labeled LESBIAN or DYKE in brightly painted letters for it to be acknowledged that they are together in some type of romantisexual context.

So. Basically, I am conflicted. Yes.



Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-02-10 17:05:37 :
Link to this Comment: 12761

Sarah said that I think Personal Best is a completely valid lesbian text despite it's inability to call gay, well, gay. But, at the same time, I admit I want a movie that says, "Look, this lady's a lesbian. But that's not all she is. She's athletic, she's talented, she's a daughter, she's a lover, she's etc, etc." I'd want the same for any movie about a straight girl. Or bi girl. Or a girl who defined herself differently. Maybe Personal Best was trying to do that by not labeling them lesbians. They were saying, "see, look at all these things these women are," but things have changed in 23 years and that message doesn't come through anymore. Or maybe it was trying but failed in the first place. How do you handle it? Talk about it too much, then lesbians aren't people, don't mention it all, then people aren't lesbians. Where's the point where this can work, in film, sports, life?



Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-02-10 17:29:00 :
Link to this Comment: 12764

Warning: Uninformed opinions ahead (ie: I haven't seen the movie Personal Best yet)

I can understand why someone wouldn't want to say, "Yes, this is my girlfriend/lover" in normal contexts, not just films, because I've been there. They might want people to watch it who wouldn't if they said the L-word (lesbian or lover, take your pick). They might not want to get it banned. Or, like Sarah said, maybe they were trying for the effect that these are people, and if you think about them, they're defenitely together, and in a romantic way, but it doesn't come out and slap you with it. It doesn't shove it in your face. You just come to the realization that they're lovers, as well as atheletes and people. Because sometimes labells seem, at least to me, like they are saying "I'm a LESBIAN [or whatever] and if you don't like it then you're a bigotted, ignorant [expletive]." Then again, there is the problem that others have mentioned of not labelling and having it ignored. The whole, if we don't say it maybe it'll go away thing.

I'm not sure how to balance between the two sides of shove-it-in-your-face labels, and brush-it-under-the-rug non-labelling. I think this is sort of what Sasha was saying. And I don't know how to do it, with homosexuality, women, or atheletes.


Week 3 Hero For Daisy
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-02-11 09:50:47 :
Link to this Comment: 12775

Challenging the assumption of how women should act--- do women's sports - high school, college, professional, recreational have an opportunity to change the accepted assumption? In the three movies we have watched, what evidence is there and how do you see it reflected today?


Chris Ernst
Name: Lauren
Date: //2005-02-13 16:14:54 :
Link to this Comment: 12837

Hero for Daisy is about a woman who was able to use athletics to challenge assumptions about women. She and the other members of the Yale Rowing team showed that women are capable of being powerful and athletic. Their demand for equal facilities showed that women are a force with which to be reckoned. By choosing a career as a plumber (with a Yale degree!) Chris continued to challenge assumptions about women.


One question: So, who is Daisy?



Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-02-13 17:35:22 :
Link to this Comment: 12848

Challenging the assumption of how women should act--- do women's sports - high school, college, professional, recreational have an opportunity to change the accepted assumption?

I would say 'of course', but that might be flippant. In today's world, women are supposed to be equal. It's supposed to be impolite to say that a person can't do this or can't do that because she's a woman. It's gotten so that even if there is scientific data that a man is better at X than a woman (let's say X=push-ups), the hue and cry is raised when someone says it.* That's going a bit too far, I think, but that's not my point. My point is that women are supposed to be equally able to do anything: politics, business, math, law, athletics, as well as teaching, being mothers, or keeping house.

This isn't to say that it works that way. A strong, athletic woman is still questioned with regards to her sexuality: in effect saying that she can't be a "proper" woman if she does such a "male" thing as build muscle and play sports. A women in business is carefully watched, and if she fails, the assumption is either that the company is a group of misogynist men who fired her for her lack of a Y chromosome, or a vague feeling that she shouldn't have been doing it anyway, because women don't do that sort of thing. It is only later that even our class came to the conclusion that perhaps she was fired for her lack of business acumen. Whatever the reasons, clearly women are not yet equal.

I wonder if it doesn't have something to do with the "women don't do that sort of thing" part. And not necessarily in a "women should not be doing that sort of thing", but just that it doesn't happen. The first person I met outside of my custom's group, who is now a good friend of mine, had a tattoo on her chest, and was wearing a shirt that displayed it. And I almost didn't hear what she said to me, because I was thinking, "Wow. She has a tattoo. I haven't ever seen a woman with a tattoo before." It was odd, and I wasn't sure I approved, but in that way of unfamiliarity, not necessarily "This is EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVIL!" way. But anyway, I wonder if unfamiliarity is some of the discomfort with women in, shall we say, non-traditional roles, and many of the women we see in these films simply are the ones who stand up and say, "hey! I'm here and not doing what's traditional!"

I don't know who Daisy is either, besides the princess in Super Mario Bros...

*-By the example of push-ups, I mean that in general, it is proven as far as I know, that men have an advantage, because their natural balance of testosterone encourages growth of those muscles. This doesn't mean that there aren't women who can do more push-ups than many man, or that there aren't men who can't do push-ups.


Comment for 'Hero For Daisy'
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-02-16 19:21:01 :
Link to this Comment: 12942

Challenging the assumption of how women should act--- do women's sports - high school, college, professional, recreational have an opportunity to change the accepted assumption? In the three movies we have watched, what evidence is there and how do you see it reflected today?

I think women sports can change this accepted assumption. I went to an all girls' high school. When we first talked about the inequalities my classmates have faced at their respecitve schools - girls' teams that didn't have money for uniforms, girls playing without a field, etc - I was flabbergasted. For all my complaints against my high school, their ability to equip women and support the many roles they can play is not one of them. I always had a uniform to wear, a field to play on, and the knowledge that I could play any sport I wanted to. I was also encouraged to excel in science, which is usually a male dominated field. In fact, I felt a little ostracized for pursuing writing and English. My school wanted sciences.

Anyway, I'm not saying that all women high schools and colleges and their sports programs are the only thing that would help change the assumptions that people have about women. I think it certainly helped - if I have a child, she'll be going to a private, all girls' school.

In the movies we watched, we certainly saw women excel in their sports. And by doing well, they often earned respect. Of course, sometimes they faced mockery or wrong assumptions, but I think in general they earned respect. Of course, movies sugar-coat things and don't show all issues. But the movies tried to.


Hero for Daisy
Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-02-16 21:48:15 :
Link to this Comment: 12948

Challenging the assumption of how women should act--- do women's sports - high school, college, professional, recreational have an opportunity to change the accepted assumption? In the three movies we have watched, what evidence is there and how do you see it reflected today? Well, when Title IX was first upheld and in the first generation benefitted, America went "OooooOOOooooo...." (as if in awe or wonderment). But now, especially now with distractions like politics and terrorism, it seems as if even male sports (especially the NHL, bless their poor little canceled souls) have lost their place in the center of the national stage. So I'd have to say, there is a forum, but is anyone (besides us) really paying attention? Sure the volleyball players got a lot of attention for showing skin, but what did they realy get to say besides "We're not wearing these tiny, tiny outfits to please you, really. It's the sand. You wouldn't believe what it does to your...nevermind." Even that kind of had to be inferred from the viewers. I think that a woman with far more influence, sad as it may be, is Lynndie England. She's notorious for abusing prisoners and having lots of illegal sex on the job, yet she's front and center (or was just a bit ago). Really, just look at all the most famous/vocol women lately. Not a lot of athletes, I can tell you. In the movies, it was all pretty dandy because it was back in the day when sports meant something. I mean, when they were a higher priority. Even in A Hero For Daisy, the most recent film, the forum was different. Female athletes had more voice, even if it was just passively appearing in movies rather than engaging in actual verbal conversation.


Reply for Hero For Daisy
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-02-17 03:24:11 :
Link to this Comment: 12959

Well, looking at Dustin's post...

I think negative publicity attracts more attention than positive. Lyndie England got all that attention because she's a woman doing pretty nasty things. Chastain got attention because people flipped over the shirt incident. It's like women athletes (and perhaps male, too) can't succeed unless they do something sensational or naughty. Lemme think of the sports heroes I've heard about the most over these past few years ... Kobe Bryant (rape accusation), Allen Iverson (that shooting incident with his friend), OJ (the infamous wife killer), Dennis Rodman (for general ... weirdness and potty mouth, etc), Reggie White (because he died and he had a big homophobia thing), the guy who rubbed his butt on the goal post during a recent football game, Michael Phelps (the swimmer who just got pulled over for a DUI)...

I guess I should be glad these are all males remembered for being sensational or illegal or whatever. At least women get off the hook a bit, you know? But, anyway, male or female, I think this is a big problem. There's this real need from the public for bad guys and women -- for people who act like jerks or act irresponsibly. The public loves that. Why can't we have some female athelete (and male, too!) who succeed and do well and get credit for that? I mean, sure, it happens. But it doesn't seem to happen as much as for that bad stuff. Eh, I blame society.


responding to Hero for Daisy
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-02-17 15:49:17 :
Link to this Comment: 12977

Challenging the assumption of how women should act--- do women's sports - high school, college, professional, recreational have an opportunity to change the accepted assumption? In the three movies we have watched, what evidence is there and how do you see it reflected today

Women's sports can change accepted assumptions, as we saw in the 2 documentaries...but there's two big caveats that come with that. One is that they can change them for the worst two, as in the case of the oft-mentioned women's volleyball players. The other is that for sports to change things people have to notice it exists. The team in Hero for Daisy wasn't noticed for winning. They were noticed when they protested naked. I guess it comes back to the same concern we were talking about before about watching women's spirts. When the names of female athletes are household names, and are used as role-models, it is very clear how they can change things. They show young girls they can try, that these things aren't just for men. This includes interests that aren't sports as well.
If the movies we've watched show one things it is that if women in sports speak out they can be heard. And that sends a good message to anyone who is opressed. You just need to be sure you've got their attention.

It would be nice if women could somethimes do this in ways that didn't involve nudity.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-02-17 15:50:59 :
Link to this Comment: 12978

Dustin's comment about sports leaving the forefront totally struck a nerve with me.

It's funny. I saw- of all things- Dr. Phil the other night. And it had on all these parents of people who were ruining their kids' lives, essentially, by using their fan-power or whatever. So the first family? Barry Manilow fans who named their kid Barry. Second family? Had their 22-month-old learning Spanish. (Dude, I don't know; I just watch the show. Or, don't, normally, but it was on after Veronica Mars!) The third family... exposed their kid to sports.

And it surprised me, on a base level, that we've gotten to the point, as a society, where wanting your kid to be an athlete is considered as strange as wanting your child to be, well, Barry Manilow.

I just tried to name local-ish women's sports teams, and I couldn't. I mean, I am notoriously bad at ANY sports names (I tend to cap out at "Yankees, Mets, Giants, Knicks, Rangers, Devils"- three guesses where I'm from.), but that's six right there, and I could only think of one women's sports team, and I'm not even sure I'm right. Are they even still playing? I feel I should know all of these things, but if no one's watching them, no one's sharing them, no one's broadcasting them, then no assumptions CAN be challenged; they're barely acknowledged.

I'm trying to think of famous women who I've seen in media coverage lately. Female athletes? Female ANYTHING. And, sadly, I... reallly can't. It's almost as bad with fictional characters. (I could go into my rant on how strong, powerful female characters are inevitably either denounced as masculine or as boring. But this is not fandom, so I will refrain.) A lot of times, though, progress is two steps backwards and three steps forward.

I don't know. The films we've seen in class, overall, have made me hopeful, but I don't know how much real-life type things I've seen have substantiated that.


re:Daisy
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-02-17 15:59:58 :
Link to this Comment: 12979

As for what Lauren brought up:
One question: So, who is Daisy?

According to the New York Times Article on the film:
Creating images of strong women was the primary motivation behind Mazzio's[the filmmaker] decision to make the film.
In 1998, two weeks overdue with her daughter, Daisy, Mazzio was channel-surfing at home and happened upon a Victoria's Secret commercial.
The images of smiling, banal, blond and leggy women striking sexual poses to sell products was more than she could take.
"What is our daughter going to see?" she recalls asking her husband.
"There's nothing out there for Daisy.''


I think that's pretty wonderful. The old issue of people complaining it doesn't it exist...she wanted a strong hero for her daughter, so she did something about it. I want to be as cool as that when I grow up


optimism
Name: Lauren Zim
Date: //2005-02-17 18:26:13 :
Link to this Comment: 12984

Wow Sasha! Thanks for answering my question. We've done a fair amount of complaining on the forum, but I think that Hero for Daisy, as Sasha pointed out, has given us reason to be optimistic.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-02-17 18:57:33 :
Link to this Comment: 12989

Ooh, Sasha, that's most excellent.


Kind of a tangental question that arises for me from the original question: It's probably fair to assume that in some way women in sports, and women's sports, can challenge assumptions as they exist. But is it fair for us to place these women into the place of Assumption Changer or Role Model just because they're involved in athletics? I mean, are we enforcing the idea that they NEED to be politically proactive in order to be good at sports?

I don't know where I'm going with this, actually, because I do believe that, yes, it's the prerogative of people in any form of power, even the limited amount of media exposure from BEING a professional athlete to do this. But should we expect it from them?

I don't know. I may just be babbling.


optimism
Name: Lauren Zim
Date: //2005-02-17 22:05:07 :
Link to this Comment: 12992

Wow Sasha! Thanks for answering my question. We've done a fair amount of complaining on the forum, but I think that Hero for Daisy, as Sasha pointed out, has given us reason to be optimistic.


League Of Their Own
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-02-18 14:40:29 :
Link to this Comment: 12999

Much of our discussion, last night, about A League of Our Own focused on familial dynamics: the competition and love and jealousy and fondness that exist between two sisters, one of whom is more talented (or is she??) than another. This morning's follow-up question is about the ways in which the film's focus on the sibling relationship between Dottie and Kit contributes to (or reduces?) the usefulness of this movie in on-going query of this course: how do films about women in sports reflect and/or challenge social norms?


In other words, does the movie's enticing us into investment/identification w/ one or another of the sisters (and framing their story as an intensely nostalgic one) lead us away from engaging in the larger social issues (as defined not just by gender categories, but also race and class and sexual orientation...) of access to the public arena, public performance, public accomplishment and acknowledgement?....


Looking forward to hearing some more of your thinking on these matters--
and thanks for last night's enjoyable discussion--
Anne


Dottie and Kit
Name: Lauren
Date: //2005-02-18 21:32:52 :
Link to this Comment: 13009

I do not think that Kit and Dottie's relationship detracts from the larger social issues concerning women's role in sports. First of all, if the film were just about challenging cultural assumptions, it would not hold the interest of most movie-goers; the sibling rivarly aspect provides "human interest." But more to the point, I thought there was plenty of footage to keep the viewer reminded of the cultural restraints with which these women dealt. Consider the scene at the radio-station concerning the "masculization (sp?) of women," and the charm classes, and the short uniforms, and the discussion regarding that the women would have to return to the kitchen after the war. These issues, although not the central focus of the movie, were still unavoidable. And the main plot of the movie was framed with the league's induction into the the baseball hall of fame; clearly, director Marshall wanted to depict these women as pioneers.


Hero For Daisy reply
Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-02-23 00:10:28 :
Link to this Comment: 13150

I mean, are we enforcing the idea that they NEED to be politically proactive in order to be good at sports?

I don't really think that we should enforce it, but I think it would be very constructive to search for a female athlete who is capable and willing to at least lend a voice. Unfortunately, in the past these women just seemed to pop up when we needed them (or in the case of Billie Jean King, get drafted). I mean, Martina Navriltalova still speaks out on issues (especially queer ones, unless I'm mistaken), but she's of a different generation. She has reached the age where younger people won't want to listen to her because she's reached middle age. To be fair, not a lot of male athletes are nicely spoken either, nor do they seem to have any sort of political agenda. But realistically, male athletes don't need to be. I digress. I don't know what's up with womankind lately, but we don't seem to be very motivated right now. Maybe we've reached complacency? Maybe we don't feel threatened enough?


Comment for 'A League of Their Own'
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-03-02 17:12:13 :
Link to this Comment: 13348

Hmm ... that's a tough question. I don't think that the movie enticing us into investmenting our emotions with one or the other sisters detracts from other issues. I say this because I think the sisters were necessary to draw in the viewers. Whether you're a younger sister, older sister, or just a family member, you find someone to connect with in this movie. And anytime you're more involved in a movie, you're thinking more. I guess I would say it adds to the experience.

I mean, do I wish they could have gone more into the class and race issues? Yes. Do I wish they would have dealt with sexual orientation? Hell, yeah. But, at the same time, I realize the movie overextended itself by trying to touch on these different issues. And it seems like the director thought, "Hmm... well, I want to get something about the African American women who couldn't play in my movie. But I don't have time to develop it." And, yes, the lack of development in these areas is a fault of the movie, but I also feel like cutting the movie some slack. It's trying, I think, so I'm more willing to excuse it.

I feel that by adding the sisters, the viewer gets so swept up into their story that she'll not focus a lot about the things the movie was saying about race (that one time) or class or the "strange" women who play sports. I'm not saying this is a bad thing; rather, the reader notices what the movie is saying about that African American woman who threw the ball, puts that tidbit of information away in her mind, and goes on enjoying the play between the sisters. In this way, the director can gently nudge the viewer by saying, "Hey, look at this. Think about this. Just a bit. Now, look! Sisters!" It's very sneaky subtle. And I really do appreciate that the director tried, even if she couldn't address all issues.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-03-02 19:28:03 :
Link to this Comment: 13352

I don't think this movie would be NEARLY as useful were it not focusedon the sibling relationship. It's simply a marketing device; people are much less likely to pay their $10 to see a movie about women athletes than they are about a family drama.

The fact that this is a movie about women who love each other (familially as well as friendship-wise; the homoeroticism is debatable, and I will save that for fanfic), and I think it's a mistake to assume that that could reduce this movie's usefulness. Personally, I'm not an athlete, and I don't have any siblings, but I could see parts of myself in Dottie, and many more parts of myself in Kit--because they allowed her to not just be an athlete, but to be human.

I think a lot of the films we've watched have focused on the athletic ability of the women, which is amazing, but it's the personal insight and that made me think "this woman is like me".


Week 5 Pumping Iron II
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-03-02 20:37:45 :
Link to this Comment: 13356

This movie pushes us to think about our definition of femininity and who 'owns' that definition, oneself- or others. Is it possible to be a woman, be strong, push the boundaries of sport---and feminine?


Reply for 'A League of Their Own'
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-03-03 02:12:42 :
Link to this Comment: 13372

I like Amy's comment about the movie allowing us to see the characters as not just atheletes, but as humans. Fictional movies to this in a way that documentaries sometimes can't. I don't want to insult the power of 'A Hero for Daisy' (as I found it an excellent cinematic experience), but I think it's also necessary to have movies like 'A League of Their Own.'

Both movies work in different ways. 'Hero' calls to our need to ... uh, take to the streets and demand equal rights? And 'League' sorta does this. It makes us want to cry and say, "Hey, that's not fair! Kit deserves to keep playing and find a life of her own."

Sorry if this makes no sense. It's late, I'm tired, and I'm kinda loopy.


Dottie and Kit
Name: Lauren Z
Date: //2005-03-03 11:41:50 :
Link to this Comment: 13378

I agree with Amy and Sarah's comments that the relationship between Dottie and Kit makes the story seem more real to us, and brings the issues home for us in a way that a documentary cannot. I will also add that the contrast between the two sisters also contains a deeper message regarding the identity of female athlets. Dottie represents a woman torn between her love of the game, and her apperciation for home and family life: an identity for women that we might perhaps today consider "old-fashioned." Kit, on the other hand, represents a woman we might deem more "progressive," who believed she could have both family life, and "career." This sisters rivarly, I feel, helped to illuminate these tensions.


This used to be their playground
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-03-03 18:00:17 :
Link to this Comment: 13390

In regards to the nostalgic framing in A League of Their Own, I think it was almost necessary to make the political message strong. We talked about this in the class discussion. Without the framing we would come out of the movie disheartened, because we can all know that women's baseball did in the end fail and get shut down. Using the context of the women being put in the Hall of Fame gives optimism that we can acheive recognition and lends a sense of success to the whole venture.


Not a hero for daisy
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-03-03 18:03:03 :
Link to this Comment: 13391

Lauren said "Dottie represents a woman torn between her love of the game, and her apperciation for home and family life: an identity for women that we might perhaps today consider "old-fashioned." Kit, on the other hand, represents a woman we might deem more "progressive," who believed she could have both family life, and "career.""

Which leads me to wonder another thing we were discussing in class. It is true we are given both of these women to identify with. However, Dottie is clearly the protagonist. What does it mean that she is the one we are given as the "hero" of a film about women playing sports, rather than the sioster who puts sports first?



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-03-03 18:21:04 :
Link to this Comment: 13392

In other words, does the movie's enticing us into investment/identification w/ one or another of the sisters (and framing their story as an intensely nostalgic one) lead us away from engaging in the larger social issues (as defined not just by gender categories, but also race and class and sexual orientation...) of access to the public arena, public performance, public accomplishment and acknowledgement?....


I think that showing both sisters gives a nice view of society as a whole. Having Dottie narrating shows society's norm with Kit, a supporting character showing a less common societal role. Now having the "normal" character narrate would color the story, but I think it's important to the film as a whole because that way the audience will have an easier time getting into the piece. After all, Dottie was still one of the "others" (in terms of the women's league) while she was a player, so we still had the view of the minority. However, it is important to note that Dottie and Kit were white middle America, and thus silencing other minorities.



Name: Amy
Date: //2005-03-03 18:37:08 :
Link to this Comment: 13393

1. Dustin.

For closing the boarrd italics, you are my new hero, and will be celebrated with an official dance.

2. Sasha.

"It is true we are given both of these women to identify with. However, Dottie is clearly the protagonist. What does it mean that she is the one we are given as the "hero" of a film about women playing sports, rather than the sister who puts sports first?"

I think that's a good call. I mean, in terms of the women athletes. And it's been bothering me a little bit since we saw it; I felt uncomfortable, sometimes, trying to empathize with Dotti, who was so far from the feminist ideal that I wanted to feel. She did everything, and was wonderful, but there was always that aspect of regret from her- that "This is good until I can give the place rightly to the boys". And societally, that's all... canonically sound. But as a modern-day feminist, it makes me squirmy.

However, I can buy it assimple film marketing. By framing it from Dotti's POV, we have someone accepting of both change and history. And that's important, in terms of mass market appeal.

The mass audience sucks, but I'm glad that at least we got SOMETHING, you know?



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-03-03 22:01:43 :
Link to this Comment: 13397

It's trying, I think, so I'm more willing to excuse it.

While the idealist in me is having fits, I agree with Sarah. It would be worse if these issues (race, sexual orientation, ect) were ignored. With them in, the audience knows there's more to the story and maybe the more motivated ones will look up the African American women who played some good baseball. Without them people will just think that Dottie and Kit were all there was to baseball. Of course, telling everyone's full story would have resulted in an epic...even I wouldn't like that and I love a League of Their Own.


Pumping Iron II
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-03-16 13:49:28 :
Link to this Comment: 13547

This movie pushes us to think about our definition of femininity and who 'owns' that definition, oneself- or others. Is it possible to be a woman, be strong, push the boundaries of sport---and feminine?

Words are such tricky things. Some friends were recently having an argument on Livejournal. One girl was talking about how she has her own private language that other people don't understand sometimes, where words mean different things. They also talked about speaking Fangirl, or Slash. A friend of mine saw this and felt angered because he beleieves we all speak one language, English. (By all, he meant everyone being discusssed not everyone in the world)

I am more of the former opinion, and that is coloring my reading of this question now. What is feminine? It's all context, group, speaker, place, time.
Which is a bit of a cop out answer.
However, I think we'd all agree that the meaning has changed over time, that it may be different here then elsewhere.
I'd like to think it is possible to be strong and feminine. I think it used to be impossible to be considered both.

But times change. That this movie exists at all, that women's bodybuilding does, is a sign of that. And Secret has changed it's mottto from "Strong enough for a man, made for a woman." to "Strong enough for a woman."
Maybe we are getting somewhere. And even though it wasn't the most muscular girl who won, she was considered. So maybe it can change so that mbodybuilding means the same thing for men and women. The room to grow is there, the boundaries are being pushed. I wonder of female body building exists now, and what women are winning?
Sorry if this is too rambly.


Comment for "Pumping Iron II"
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-03-17 17:34:00 :
Link to this Comment: 13601

This movie pushes us to think about our definition of femininity and who 'owns' that definition, oneself- or others. Is it possible to be a woman, be strong, push the boundaries of sport---and feminine?

At the risk of sounding flippant, I'm going to say of course. But, of course, there are many different ways for someone to be feminine, and I want to avoid saying "skirts + make up = feminine!!!!11" And if a woman wants to define herself as feminine, there are so many other surrounding details that have to go her way. Say we're talking about a woman in a certain sport. Those who produce/pay for/whatever the sport have to stay out of her business so she can define herself this way. Those who play the sport with her can't try to control what she calls herself.

And you know, it all seems to come down to who's in charge. Ideally, the woman who wants to say she's strong and powerful and athletic should be able to define herself however she darn well pleases. But, unfortunately, this isn't the case in most situations. Brandi Chastain rips off her shirt and the incident is labelled "sexual and scandalous." Misty May and Kerri Walsh wear what the officials tell them in their volleyball game and the photographers get as many pictures as they can of half-revealed butts. (Seriously people - I googled their names and, like, the fourth picture I got was this one: this. This picture is not meant to capture a beautiful moment in women's sports. It's meant to show that butt).

Anyway, I was watching one of those dumb "Best Bodies" shows on VH1 or MTV during Spring Break, and they were praising that Olympic swimmer who's now a model. Her name's Amanda Beard. And the announcer guy said something about her being great because she may be an athlete, but she's retained some really feminine qualities. (And if you're interested in seeing what these qualities might be, you can google it).

In summary, I'm guess I'm saying it'd be great if a woman could define herself and people'd go along with it and we'd all be happy. But that's not going to happen anytime soon, especially since hot and sexy sells. And I'm not saying a woman can't be hot and strong and athletic and butch and feminine or whatever. I'm just irritated with that stupid TV show that made this woman the idea woman because she not only swims but she's also got big breasts. And that's what she's primarily judged on. The breasts.

Bah. Humanity.

(I'm not going to spell/grammar check this. I'm sorry, but I've got a midterm to study for).


Pumping Iron II
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-17 17:41:13 :
Link to this Comment: 13602

This movie surprised me at many turns, especially the judges. First, they seem not to want to let... I am so bad with names. I will now use horribly derivitive nicknames. Apologies. Muscular Woman, they did not seem to want to encourage Muscular woman's type of body-building, saying things like they needed to maintain a feminine figure, that muscles weren't all the competition was about. But then, not only was it the female judge who was most against Muscular Woman, but the elderly judge who had been reminding the others of the feminine ideal, seemed upset and disappointed by the scores Muscular Woman recieved.



Body building has always seemed like an odd sport to me. It has elements of a beauty contest, in that winning or losing is based on judges' evaluations of your apperance, but it also has elements of a sport; you have to work hard to get muscles like that, even if you are taking steroids. And I never saw bodybuilders, men or women, as ideals of beauty. I did not doubt that they were very, very strong or very good at what they did, but that much bulging muscle never appealed to me (and still doesn't) in either sex. But what is the point of body building? Is it to be beautiful? Is it to build muscle to the utmost? Is it to achieve the "perfect" human body? I'm a Classicist: the Greek male nudes are the standard examples of the "perfect" human body. Muscle and form, stregth and grace, neither beauty nor strength there for itself, but for its blending in the human form. Thus, were I the judge of the body building contest, Muscular Woman would not have won either, not because she was not "feminine" enough, but because the ideal body for a human with two X chromosomes does not have the triangular torso that the male one does.



That said, and I may have forgotten why I was saying it, the judges had not defined (and for all I know still haven't done so) what exactly was the ideal. Was it the most muscle possible? Was it the most muscle while still maintaining feminine lines (hourglass rather than triangle)? Or was it a beauty contest with muscles, or something else? _That_ seemed to be the problem, that they did not clearly define what was being sought. Muscular Woman was confident, strong, graceful, and happy. She had done what men in their competition do, but since that seems to not be what the judges were looking for, though they didn't say it, she did not win.



What is femininity? Perhaps it is, or should be, purely the possession of a womb and a uterus. Traits like strength, sensitivity, confidence, and grace perhaps should not be attatched to a gender or a sex, but to that ideal human being, who can be either male or female, and to whom the terms masculinity and femininity are meaningless.


Reply for "Pumping Iron II"
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-03-17 17:50:03 :
Link to this Comment: 13603

Hi. I'm going to reply to myself now. Because I'm just that self-absorbed.

I started to think about what I said, and I realized that I'm getting very worked up about how the women are used, and I think we can't forget that men get used just as badly. I mean, yeah, breasts are what sell for women, but men can be objectified just as much. And so I want to add on to what I said above and point out that it's not fair that men can't define themselves as easily as they should either. I personally think they have a bit of an easier time because the world's patriarchal, but I admit I don't have the experience of being a man and I shouldn't talk for them. No matter how much I'd like to.

So that show that Dustin's since told me was on VH1? It was just as bad for men as for women. I mean, you can go onto VH1 and look (here's a link), and the men are just as objectified as the women.

Side note - if you look up Bev Francis, you'll see a change. After the show, she grew out her hair and worked to build up the area around her hips so she'd look "more like a woman." Link. If she's happy with herself, then bless her, and if winning means that much to her that she'll compromise like that, bless her for that, too. It can still make me sad, however. She's still super buff, though, so that's good, I guess.

...sorry for my link-madness. What can I say? I love to provide links. Links, links, links, links...

Okay, I'll stop now.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-03-17 17:51:22 :
Link to this Comment: 13604

This movie pushes us to think about our definition of femininity and who 'owns' that definition, oneself- or others. Is it possible to be a woman, be strong, push the boundaries of sport---and feminine?


Yes it is possible, however pushing the boundaries too far, as Bev Francis found out, is not nearly as acceptable. The problem is that society's idea femininity is Anna Kournikova, as opposed to even the Williams sisters. The williams sisters, for instance, have never appeared in Playboy or any other girly mags, probably because they are too muscular. The trouble is, society still defines femininity in a very traditional way, ie what the patriarchy wants in a woman.


But there is still hope. I was waching a show over break on VH1 called "100 Most Wanted Bodies" and it was of both ment an women, though mostly women. What was inetersting was that more and more women seem to feel it's acceptable to show some muscle.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-03-17 17:57:16 :
Link to this Comment: 13605

In response to Sasha, female body building is still going, though it's not terribly lucrative. I saw a documentary on it a while ago and there are now weight classes. There can be lightweight competition where the women all look like Rachel, midweight, where they look like Bev, and Heavyweight, where I think they start to look a little scary. Unfortunately steroids and other kinds of performance enhancers have really changed the sport, which is why women are so much bigger now.



Name: Lauren Z
Date: //2005-03-17 18:51:15 :
Link to this Comment: 13609

Ideally, I'd like to think that each of us can present ourselves however we choose--whether as a muscular body-builder, or a petite ballerina, or whatever--and that whatever we choose can still be considered "feminine" because we're all women. Yet, I know this isn't really the case. I was talking to my aunt about this film over break. She commented that she couldn't stand the sight of female body builders, something about seeing that many muscles on woman repulsed her. I'm sorry to say that I understand how she feels. As much as I admire the strength and dedication of the female body builders from the film, I still find their appearance unsettling I understand that this is because society has shaped my conception of what a woman is "supposed" to look like. So, as much as I like to think that each of us can define femininity our own way, I know that society still does much to shape our views.


Week 6 Rocks With Wings
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-03-18 09:13:55 :
Link to this Comment: 13618

This documentary explored the relationship between sports, culture and class. What do you imagine happened to the girls on the team--from now until then? How does this film culminate the W.S and F class?


Comment for Rocks With Wings
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-03-18 12:03:26 :
Link to this Comment: 13624

This documentary explored the relationship between sports, culture and class. What do you imagine happened to the girls on the team--from now until then? How does this film culminate the W.S and F class?

Okay, I'll admit it: I IMDB'd and googled this to see if I could out any information about the girls. Unfortunately, I was only able to find reviews of the movie (although it's possible I wasn't looking hard enough). I'd like to hope that some of the girls got out like they wished and found success in life. I hope the ones who wanted to stay found success in that, too. I'd be willing to bet that Cheryl got whatever she wanted; she went after what she wanted.

I think we had a pretty good discussion last night about how this film culiminates the class. I'd like to disagree with the comment made last night that this documentary wasn't about women. It was about women. But it wasn't about the women's struggle, it was about an Native American athlete's struggle. And it was really refreshing to see a movie where it's not assumed that the girls would fail because they were girls; it was assumed they'd fail because of their ethnic background. And, of course, the girls proved everyone wrong. That was really cool.

In this vein, that "team mom" annoyed the heck out of me because it seemed to me that she wanted to make it about them succeeding or failing as women, not as athletes. It's like she wanted to give less attention to their sports prowess. I'll be the first to admit that the Coach Jerry had things he could change in his teachings, and he could be harsh. But I liked it that he taught the girls as athletes, not as girls.

I know this is a controversial thing: how do we teach women in sports? Believe me, I know. I went to an all girls' high school, and there were always arguments that Coach A treated the girls like boys and that's bad or Coach B treated the girls too sweetly and like girls and that's bad. I know it's a big debatable subject. I personally go with the coach who treats me like an athlete, even if that means he or she can be harsh. Sports can be harsh, though. They can be about aggression and being tough. I like them that way.

Of course, I played soccer. So that could be my issue. That can be a mean game.

Anyway, that's what this film focused on, I think: approaching sports as athletes, not just as women. And that was really great for our culmination.


replying to replies on pumping iron II
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-03-19 16:57:27 :
Link to this Comment: 13644

So Catherine said that Perhaps it is, or should be, purely the possession of a womb and a uterus

My dad and I were talking the other night, and I was telling him about the movies we watched for class and what the class was about. And we got on the subject of gender definitions...mostly people who don't fall under "male" or "female" or there it just isn't as cut and dry for some reason. And he made a comment about defining these things physically.
My grandmother had to have both breasts and her uterus removed due to cancer. Was she no longer a woman? I think most of us would say that of course she was still a woman.

My point is, it is really hard to define things, and using anatomy is not the easy way out.

The world is too complicated sometimes. or rather, it is too complicated for the black and white terms we try to give it.



Name: Carol
Date: //2005-03-21 01:47:09 :
Link to this Comment: 13729

This documentary explored the relationship between sports, culture and class. What do you imagine happened to the girls on the team--from now until then? How does this film culminate the W.S and F class?

I imagine that some went on to college, some stayed on the reservation. I agree with Catherine's statement that Cheryl would have gone after what she wanted. She does seem like that kind of person.

As to how the film culminates the class: the fact that the girl's athletic ability was questioned not because they were girls is one of the big things. I really like how the girls weren't compared to the boys: they were athletes in their own right and weren't qualified by being compared to guys. This film brings everything together: culture, race, class and sets it in a female context


Dare to Compete Response
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-21 09:48:04 :
Link to this Comment: 13738

It's back-response time! Concerning the first week, Dare to Compete, and Kat's post way back when, which said,

"The fact that there seems to be more contention _amongst women themselves_ than between men and women is, I think, the biggest hurdle to overcome. Until we feel comfortable with something -- anything -- our chances of finding equality with men are, I think, not too likely."

I wonder if there is an equivalent comparison to be found among men? Perhaps male cheerleaders or gymnasts, or stay-at-home dads? If there was, perhaps we could ask some and see how they and other men deal with it to get some ideas. Or maybe the very idea that this isn't just a problem among women would be constructive.

I worry, though, that it may be part of the same problem; that such men stretch and challenge "accepted" gender roles, and are met with hostility and contempt. Thus it seems that the only realistic way to start is for individual women (and men too) to become comfortable with themselves, and then they can start changing the minds of others. Maybe.


Week 1 second response
Name:
Date: //2005-03-21 10:02:38 :
Link to this Comment: 13739

more back-posting...


"what are some of the barriers that still challenge women in sport and why do they still exist?"


As Sarah said, twice I think, there is the automatic equation by the media of female skin=sex. And so it is that even in non-sport contexts, a man can walk around half-naked (shorts but nothing else on) and that's fine, but should a woman even be in a sports bra without a shirt out in public, that's indecent. Conversely, and perversely, in certain sports events (the volley ball comes to mind...) outfits are chosen purely on the grounds of showing skin. These are not unrelated. The showing of female skin is still equated with sex, in a way that has little to no parallel with men. And that is a barrier. If women are still to some extent sex objects, they can not be role models in as much as they are objects. As to why they still exist, it probably has something to do with centuries of repressing sexual urges or something like that...


Rocks with Wings
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-21 10:10:04 :
Link to this Comment: 13741

I agree with Carol that, unlike the other films, these women were not being challenged because they were girls and not boys. Their challenge was really about race and racial stereotypes, and that made me think. Well, suppose women and society as a whole can get over this whole "men are better than women" thing and they have equal time in the news, in funding, the whole ideal nine yards. What then? Life won't be perfect, because there will probably still be racial tension (unless of course by the time society has grown out of its gender stereotyping it has also grown out of racial stereotyping), and perhaps so on. I wonder if it is something inseperable from our society to define an Other within our midst. Not that I don't think we should try to be rid of stereotypes like the ones we've discussed in class, but it sometimes is depressing to think that even if it's not one thing (gender) it is another (race).

That said, it was a great movie. The way the whole room was cheering for the team at the end, despite the fact that we all knew it had been filmed years ago; that was great.


reply to replies about Daisy
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-21 11:43:18 :
Link to this Comment: 13749

[sorry about all the back-posts, ladies.]


Something Amy said about parents who were seen as crazy for trying to expose their kids to sports. I don't know any of the facts about this, so I'll speculate a bit about the possibly related phenomenon of the "soccer mom" instead. It's not quite our subject, since the soccer mom doesn't actually play the sport, but she is the suburban mom with the minivan who takes her kid(s) to all their sports things, is a rabid fan for the team, rabidly fundraises, and tends to drive like a maniac.

Where did this stereotype come from? Besides the occassionally imbalanced individual out there? I've encountered more imbalanced dads at sports events (not mine, but my sister's. Easier to observe when you're not playing the game), the ones who tell their child that they have to do better than that or else. They won't get into college, won't get the scholarship, will be a general failure, or - worst of all to me- the parent will be disappointed in the child. This kind of guilt trip sends up red flags all over me, but anyway, back to the phenomenon: why is a parent who is supportive of her/his child's sport endevours negetively stereotyped? I wonder if it has something to do with it being the mother doing the cheering (in the stereotype, at least), not the father. In which case it is part of our class to wonder why it is somehow wrong for the woman to support her child in sports, whichever gender the child is, and not for the father.


Personal Best response
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-21 14:07:00 :
Link to this Comment: 13760

Amy asked during week 1 discussion "how can we revamp women's position in sports, without revamping women's position in the world as a whole?". I think that maybe Personal Best was trying to do that.


I know that they didn't mention that Tori and Chris were in a lesbian relationship. They never even mentioned that they were going out, or anything like that. And then she found happiness with a man, who was the one who actually got her on track, unlike her unhappy lesbian one. So that's obviously not good, but I feel like it wasn't bad because it was lesbian. The relationship, that is. It seems to me that, as long as the guy was still a runner and training along with Chris (that's the younger one, right?), the same relationship and same relationship problems could have happened. You wouldn't have had the male-female thing with the coach going on, but still. So maybe this was exploring a relationship that was lesbian and had problems, but nevertheless didn't rock the boat too much, since Chris got involved with a guy and Tori won, having taken the (male) coach's advice.


Now, shouldn't we be trying to revamp women's position in the world? Probably. But perhaps this is taking it bit by bit. 1982 was a long time ago. I wasn't born yet.


Response to A League of Their Own
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-21 16:02:43 :
Link to this Comment: 13785

As was said a lot, the movie did not deal with many issues seriously, such as homoeroticsm or the fact that black women could not play. But I think it did deal a lot with the conflicting concerns of society, represented by Dottie and her husband, and Kit, who had nothing else. I am tempted to conclude that if Kit had been married to someone from their hometown, she wouldn't have either wanted or been able to pressure Dottie into going. As she said, there was _nothing_ for her there, and so getting out was of utmost importance.


I also wonder about Dottie's attatchment to the game. Kit says she loved it as much as Kit did, but Kit would have killed to be as good as Dottie. It could be projection and jealousy. Thus, I wonder about the ambiguity in Dottie, who seemed to enjoy playing, and have a killer instinct, but who quit when her husband came back so that she could raise a family.


response to responses for Pumping Iron II
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-21 16:08:28 :
Link to this Comment: 13786

Sasha has a good point about anatomy not being the baseline. I suppose in the case of your grandmother, the criteria would be that she at one point did have the uterus (I realize that uterus and womb are the same. Obviously my brain wasn't on), but that brings up the issue of transgendered people, especially those who have gone through the surgery and hormone treatments. I suppose we could bring the line down to the chromosomes, but that will probably change too.


I guess my point was that Bev was still a woman, though she had "male" characteristics like the triangular muscle structure. But I think I've lost my point.


league of their own comment #2
Name:
Date: //2005-03-21 16:17:13 :
Link to this Comment: 13789

In response to Amy's comments about how it's awful that they gave us the traditional, conservative viewpoint to identify with, I think that I can see the logic. It's not only the norm of the time, so we get a sense of historical perspective (always good to keep in mind), but I think it might be to do a little reactionary thing too. We aren't in the majority, we who think that no woman needs a man if she doesn't want one, who think that any woman can do what men can do, and especially that women can and should be honored in sports as much as their male counterparts. This movie is aimed at the majority, and thus comes at it from sort of their view, to make _them_, as well as us, think. If you offend the people you're trying to convince, they won't listen and won't be convinced. Thus, I think it was perhaps a wise move.


That said, it would be nice if more people were convinced faster...


Rocks with Wings, second response
Name:
Date: //2005-03-21 16:24:37 :
Link to this Comment: 13792

This is the last, ladies. Sorry about the uninterrupted string at the end here!


Sarah talked about the team mom and coaching girls as girls or athletes. Now, I don't quite know: I wasn't on a team in high school or college, music and books were more my thing, along with video games. But I found myself wishing that Jerry and the older coach who was kinda like a father could have gotten along, because they seemed like they could have balanced each other perfectly. Jerry was strict and harsh, he expected their best and that was how he was going to get it; but the other guy was concerned about their well-being as people too. I think that girls on a team should be coached as athletes, btu the coach can't forget that they're people too, and young, immature ones in high school, at that.


That said, it would have been nice if the team mom could have been someone with some... any... knowledge of sports. For what she was, I think she handled the situation as best she could, though, and helped JErry see what was going wrong. For that, she was good.


Re: Personal Best
Name: Kat
Date: //2005-03-21 18:08:13 :
Link to this Comment: 13806

Playing catch-up? Me?

The issue of labels became really very all-encompassing in our discussion of Personal Best -- and then Dustin gave that awesome anecdote concerning her softball team.

My final paper ended up talking about the problem of femme sports and femmes in sports. For all that it must have been way annoying (or embarrassing, or any number of other negative things) to have such a completely... well, girly team, on the other hand, I feel like props have to be given to such unabashed femme-ness. In a sport where women are apparently more respected by behaving like men, the girls on Dustin's team said 'hell with that' and wrote their own rules. I have to say, that there's pretty cool.

What would've been even cooler is if they were okay with other teams making their own gender choices.


Re: Hero for Daisy
Name: Kat
Date: //2005-03-21 18:18:38 :
Link to this Comment: 13807

The question was whether women playing in school sports could change the idea of women in sports in general.

Here's my sad belief: If there's no one there to see them do it, then no, I don't think it'll matter in the end.

It's awfully nice to have the chance to change things -- it is, after all, a heap more than was available in the past -- but change requires more than just a catalyst. If attention isn't paid to those women in sports -- and as atheletes, not as sex objects -- then I don't think a positive change can occur.

Maybe I'm being pessimistic; I'm not one for gradually wearing away at dominant beliefs when hacksaws or, better, plastic explosives, would work a whole lot faster. Forget gently letting society know that women can play sports and do it well -- let's blow something up. They can watch us sprint faster than the fire.


second of Hero for Daisy
Name: Kat
Date: //2005-03-21 18:35:20 :
Link to this Comment: 13809

So Catherine mentioned in her post the issue of men and women's talents in things, and how everyone should be able to do everything. Sarah talked, right afterward, about her school -- and incidentally, its view on the sciences vs the humanities.

Here's the thing: The sexes are better at different things. Men are, for the most part, going to be able to do more chin-ups. Women, for the most part, do better at communicating with others. It's in our chemistries, in our evolution. It's just the way it is.

But. Just because one sex is better at something than the other doesn't mean that one sex should be stapled forever with that talent -- or that one talent should be more desirable than another. Girls should be just as highly encouraged toward the humanities as with science -- forget that extra incentives garbage (my school, for instance, gave special scholarships to girls who excelled in chemistry. nada for the people who could outwrite the rest of their class). What do incentives do? Show that science (what is generally accepted as a "male" talent) is more desirable than english (a "female" talent) -- which sounds awfully like men being more important than women. And what about the humanities? The things that women are naturally talented at are shown to be worth less than the talents of men, and should be discouraged. It's a devil's snare.

Basically: Women and men are better at different things. Everything should be encouraged. Everyone should have the opportunity to cross the tracks and be talented cross-gender-wise. Whee.


Reply for 'Rocks with Wings'
Name: Sarah
Date: //2005-03-24 00:12:43 :
Link to this Comment: 13952

In response to what Catherine said, yeah, I think the male coaches should have tried to get along. I think they should have talked to each other and not fought in front of the girls. They were acting like children.

However, I still can't support that woman. She seemed to be acting like a teenager, encouraging everyone to fight, and treating the girls like babies. And Jerry at least admitted he went about things wrong, tried to change, and tried to show the girls he believed they should learn to be more aggressive. That woman just kept asserting she was right, onto the bitter end. I mean, yeah, Jerry needed to hear that the girls felt the same oppression he did, but I wished it would have come from someone other than that overgrown teenager.



Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-03-24 21:06:55 :
Link to this Comment: 13993

This documentary explored the relationship between sports, culture and class. What do you imagine happened to the girls on the team--from now until then? How does this film culminate the W.S and F class?

I imagine, depressingly enough, that most of those girls were done with sport after high school and stayed on the reservation. It's not that I think they should stay on the reservation, but I think that that is the reality of places like Shiprock. Most of those families are probably very typical reservation families economically, which means that they are just getting by. Thus, the movie is kind of highlighting the golden years of these females as athletes.

This film is a great culmination for the course because it is the first and only film that ignored the gender of the team. It wasn't about a good girls basketball team, it was about the best basketball team in the area.


reply to sarah
Name: Dustin Rau
Date: //2005-03-24 21:16:39 :
Link to this Comment: 13994

I know this is a controversial thing: how do we teach women in sports?

I think that if you teach the girls from a young age without babying them or sugarcoating criticism, I think that as long as the coach is actually teaching them something they can be as strict as they want as long as they aren't outwardly mean.

The best coach I had was the most strict ( he was an assistant softball coach ) and he yelled at us all the time. You just had to learn to bow to authority as as soon as we figured that out, our team improved exponentially. The head coach at the time was the opposite. She tried to be our friend and talk about sex and boys and things like that. I learned nothing from herl.


pumping iron ii
Name: Amy
Date: //2005-03-30 14:54:29 :
Link to this Comment: 14163

Crap; I realized I forgot to do my last comments here. I lose at life.

Question:
Is it possible to be a woman, be strong, push the boundaries of sport---and feminine?


I think it's possible to. I think several of the women in this film did. I think several movies- including those which we saw in class- did. But I don't know that this movie, or these women, did so any more than any others.

I mean. Basically. I think a lot of the points raised by Pumping Iron II were inherently feminist, and raised interesting points about being female. But I started wondering about how we ARE defining feminine that we're doing this. Is femininity visual? Is it in behavior? Or is it in being human?

Too many questions. Not enough answers. And I don't think the movie so much supplies answers, as gives questions.

Although I guess that's kind of the point.


still pumping iron
Name: Amy
Date: //2005-03-30 15:00:44 :
Link to this Comment: 14164

I read everyone's comments, and... wow. Because I'd think I'd latch on, but there's always a what-if. There's always that "this is true, BUT" or "what about this example?" Which is awesome, and true, and also really frustrates me, because I end up wondering if the problem is not in any definition of femininity, but in the desire to DEFINE femininity. If the subject in question self-identifies as female, and acts the way that her personal identity and senses say she should, isn't she by definition acting, in her own way, uniquely feminine?

...I may be overthinking this.


finally, rocks with wings response
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-04-02 22:43:31 :
Link to this Comment: 14222

hope this isn't too late This documentary explored the relationship between sports, culture and class. What do you imagine happened to the girls on the team--from now until then? How does this film culminate the W.S and F class? I think there seemed to be a division on the team, not a clearl line but more of a blurry, swirrly one, between the girls who were going to go after what they wanted and the girls that would hold back. Only one gil was willing to stand up to the coach. A few seemed totally unable to deal with the criticism (even given that Jerry was overharsh) I feel like the girls who were fighting for the ball on the court, pushing for what they wanted up, not giving up (I remember one girl said they didn't win because the other girtls were taller, and another said they would win the next year), those girls went on to do things. Winiing hopefully taught them that pushing for what you want is worth it. I think it's nice to culminate with a film that showed high school girls, and where the main issues were not really with gender, or, that was only a part of it.


last comment, replying to dustin
Name: Sasha
Date: //2005-04-02 22:46:51 :
Link to this Comment: 14223

Dustin said I imagine, depressingly enough, that most of those girls were done with sport after high school and stayed on the reservation. It's not that I think they should stay on the reservation, but I think that that is the reality of places like Shiprock. Most of those families are probably very typical reservation families economically, which means that they are just getting by. Thus, the movie is kind of highlighting the golden years of these females as athletes. Maybe stayiong on the reservation could be good. This movie showed the team on the reservation having the ability to do well. Maybe they could be oin the reservation but not be failures. Gioven that the movie also talked about the traditions, it would be nice to think maybe they saw that who they were was something tehy could be proud of, that the only hope was not from getting away. But if they wanted to, I'm betting those girls could get sports scholarships, and some must have. I hope.



Name: B
Date: //2005-04-27 11:45:38 :
Link to this Comment: 14888

No one has addressed one of the fundamental issues of this debate. Why did male sport become more dominant in the first place? I don't know if this question is in the scope of this discussion, but it at least warrants some thought.


The notion that male athletes are somehow removed from sexuality is also very flawed. There may be a higher incidence of female skin exploitation in sport, but there is still a huge amount of female appreciation of the male form within sport. Victoria Beckham used to have a poster of Ryan Giggs on her wall, and she knew admitted she knew little about soccer. This phenomenum is replicated pretty frequently. It is not a one way issue, it is not just men that eye up women.

There are also questions of empathy here also, regarding society's disposition toward male sports. Men generally empathise better with men, and women with women. Since the majority of those who pay to watch sport are men, the majority of those who get get paid to play sports are men. Admittedly, this can be seen as a slightly circular argument. However, there has to be a reason now why men are watching sport more than women, and I think that that argument is seperate from the participation one.