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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 09:57:19 :
Link to this Comment: 12284

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?


The lack of women coaches; females in a sports eco
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-01-29 01:50:32 :
Link to this Comment: 12297

I was thinking today about Amy's response to my comment within our group about the lack of female coaches; how males are given more coaching experiences, and therefore even when a female athlete or female teams become more of a priority, they want to hire more upper-echelon coaches, all of whom are men. It seems like a vicious cycle, the steps of which were discussed last night so I won't bore you with them now. I just wonder why women aren't given the same opportunities. Something struck me this morning; Victorian (so-named for Queen Victoria of England) ideals for femininity were - and are - so pronounced and restricting, yet Queen Victoria herself was not held up to many of these ideals. She held more power than any other woman in her country, and possibly in Europe at the time, and she lived up to these ideals only in regards to her appearance; she was a forceful ruler who was so brash as to propose marriage to Phillip instead of wait for him to ask her. She could have done so much to alleviate the role of women in that time period, but instead the film gives the impression that she enforced these restrictions upon other women. Maybe I'm not getting the story straight, but it seems to me that her first and primary abuse of power was that she didn't do what she could have to help other women. Another point was made in last night's film that struck me, one that I've heard debated in my philosophy classes; that is the distinctions and prejudices which one encounters by race rather than by gender. The African-American Congresswoman said "I have been discriminated against because I am black, but not nearly as much as I have been because I am a woman", or something to that effect. I thought that was really intersting.



Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-01-30 19:49:03 :
Link to this Comment: 12345

Reading those questions, the first thing that comes to my mind is Radclyffe Hall's novel "The Well of Loneliness." Specifically, her heroine Stephen's early years. Stephen was chastised for riding her hunter, Raftery, as a man instead of a woman (ie. in breeches and NOT sidesaddle). I've always wondered where this tradition came from. Logically, it seems to me that (if anyone has to do it at all) *men* should be the ones who have to ride sidesaddle. What were the inventors of the female-sidesaddle tradition thinking? For a long time I'd assumed that maybe it was because riding "male-style" in a skirt would be (oh no!) indecent. But Thursday's discussion makes me think that maybe the tradition has something to do with the belief that the, er, anatomical placement of such physical activity (here, the jarring effect of male-style riding) would screw up women's reproductive systems. Which just further highlights (like Laura pointed out) the whole Victorian tradition of "cushy childbearing inactive mommies." (Speaking of that---how in the heck did the Victorians come out of a culture that once revered the severe, cold, and uncompromisingly commanding Elizabeth I, in all her touted virginity?)
Incidentally, equestrian sports are today among the most gender-blind. Great jockeys (especially in steeplechase) can be either male or female (though strict flat thoroughbred racing jockeys still tend to be male). And men and women compete on equal terms in many types of equestrian competition. Weirdly enough, in flat thoroughbred racing, there is still a slight gender bias against female *horses.* They're not barred from competition, but it's rare to see one win a Big Race. For example, only 20 something fillies have raced in the Belmont, and only 2 or 3 actually won it.


Dare to Compete
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-01-31 20:10:21 :
Link to this Comment: 12402

Some of the barriers that still face women in sports include a perceived lack of a need for equality by men. Last year, I took a sociology course (Sociology 103: Society, Culture, and the Individual) that required me to give a survey to two individuals. Amoung race, socioeconomic status, and gender, they could differ in one category. My two people were of different genders and I interviewed them about Title IX. The woman received her college education from a basketball scholarship. By contrast, the man did not play sports in college. However, he did not think that it was acceptable that some men's sports teams were cut in an effort to establish women's teams. Another barrier is a lack of equal wages for playing professional sports. One last barrier is the idea that women should have the same "traditional" roles that they have always had in the past (raising children, cooking, cleaning) and that sports don't fit in with these roles.


Wk 2 Personal Best
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-02-03 13:23:00 :
Link to this Comment: 12479

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?


Week 1 Questions
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-02-03 18:19:41 :
Link to this Comment: 12496

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?

Sports have allowed for women to be seen more as equals to men because of their prowess on the field. Sports are one way in which society can see that women can do the same things as men just as well if not better (not to mention...without their uteruses falling out). At the same time, society is shaping the role of women in sports. For example, women began to get more equal treatment on the playing field when more rights for women were gained politically. To me, it seems as if sport and society reinforce one another in the way that women are perceived. The trend continues even today with women making more strides in sports as women continue to work to become recognized as true equals to men.

Women are still face sexism in sports today despite all the gains made. Because of their sex, women athletes and coaches are paid less than their counterparts, they sometimes have to play games with less strenous regulations than their male counterparts, and still must worry about what others will think of their appearance and sexuality. Women practicing sports that are especially physical and/or women who don't find it necessary to be dolled up at sporting events still have to deal with derogatory labels. I think these barriers continue to exist today because many men, and women who have internalized their supposed inferiorty, continue to not see women as men's equals. And I also believe that some men feel the need to protect their place in sports, many of which, such as professional baseball, were founded especially for men who felt the need to protect their masculinity and place in society as more women and immigrants came to economical importance in society (U.S. that is).


It better post this time!
Name: Brittany P
Date: //2005-02-05 19:17:15 :
Link to this Comment: 12542

Question: 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?

Sadly, I'm not so sure the climate has changed much at all. In "Personal Best," while supposedly "everyone knew" that the two female protagonists were having a relationship, it was barely mentioned in conversation---essentially taboo. No one ever said the words lesbian, lover, etc; the only two mentions of their relationship were the sleazy old coach calling them "girlfriends" and the women's conversation in the car. And even then, it wasn't a "relationship"---they were friends who just happened to sleep together occasionally, despite the obvious fact that their bond was much deeper than that.
We still have vestiges of this attitude, I think. It's tough for women (but even more for men!) to "come out" as homosexual in sports and a) be taken seriously and b) not be viewed as some sort of sexual predator (Boy Scout troop leader scandals, anyone?) The movie falls into what I think is a stereotype that athletes are so physical that they're just having sex all over the place. I think the film's persistant sexuality is an attempt to "normalize" Chris and Tori's lesbian relationship. Sort of like saying, "Well, they're atheletes: they're horny all the time, so of course they're gonna end up sleeping together---on their first night in the same house, no less! But hey, it's ok. It's just a fling. Once boys show up, Chris gets her act together and settles down into a *normal* partnership." It's frustrating, to say the least. The movie reduces what looked like a serious, loving, complex lesbian relationship to a friends-who-screw deal.


Second response
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-02-08 06:30:07 :
Link to this Comment: 12647

Sports have made women more confident in other areas of life and made it more probable for them to do the professions that have been previously held almost exclusively by men. Some examples are doctors, lawyers, and clergy. It doesn't mean that women are automatically treated as equals, but they are making progress in that direction.


Week 2 first post
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-02-08 06:41:39 :
Link to this Comment: 12648

The film makes homosexuality appear undesirable (and therefore unacceptable). I'm not sure that the climate has changed much. It is still viewed as "abnormal" to not be heterosexual. The same norms that are used to judge sexuality in sports also exist in society. Currently, it is acceptable to file a lawsuit for sexual discrimination. In terms of religion, Islam and Catholicism have no tolerance for homosexuals. Though a decision has yet to be made in some of the protestant churches, they will be determined over the course of the next few years.


Week 2 second response
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-02-10 14:14:51 :
Link to this Comment: 12749

RE Brittany: She made a good point in indicating that basically homosexuality is acknowledged in Personal Best, but that no one ever accepts it. I agree that the situation has changed little since the film came out.



Name: Kate M
Date: //2005-02-10 15:44:56 :
Link to this Comment: 12755

I thought "personal best" did a good job in showing how two women in a relationship might discuss their situation considering the enormous societal pressures or stigmas they have surrounding them. Just because the movie didn;t have the women engaged in long , drawn-out serendipitious conversations about their sexuality did not mean it was necessarily a dishonest portrayal how they would talk about it. (We are disappointed that what they talk about is not what they should talk about, and i think that is a bit unfair) As a group, i think our class tends to assume that for a movie about two women in a relationship to be good,it has to havce them engaged in politically corrrect dialogue about what such a thing means. Well, I think that tends to be something that comes out of the East Coast, maybe, because there are only a few homosexuals I know out West who will admit to their sexual orientation. They cannot talk about these things in certain environments, and they don;t seem to particularly want to either. Or they joke about their identities, but again, that is not the same as accepting who they are. Maybe these women didn't accept themselves as lesbians.Perhaps we should also consider the time and place of this movie. Were dialogues about homosexuality in the early eighties the same as the one we are currently engaged in. AIDS was once referred to as GRID ( gay related immune deficiency--i think) which is why I think we should not assume that society was very informed about the homosexual life. What the more important question to me is, how did people involved in homosexual relationships view themselves then?



Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-02-10 15:51:06 :
Link to this Comment: 12756

Eh, and here's my post from last week-- I couldn't figure out wher to put it ...

>Hi, my name is Kate Makofske and I'll be graduating in 3 months. I liked>the movie that we watched the other day because it merged sports andsociety in a way I had not previously acknowledged. As I said in class,the sports movement, if I may call it that, was very closely linked to thewomen's movement. Recognizing that the physical health of womenwas as important to women's happiness as for mens' seems to have>been quite the revolutionary step, though it seems silly now that there should have been such a controversy.You might say that the reason a woman was not allowed to ride a bikewas for her own health ( as the older argument suggests it would harm her reproductive abilities) , but when you really think about it, this was not so much to protect women as to protect her function in a society. If women were not expected to have children, then their role in society wasthreatened to a degree.



my thoughts on Personal Best
Name: Emma Pfeif
Date: //2005-02-10 16:50:25 :
Link to this Comment: 12759

What I was struck by in "Personal Best" was (and this was discussed at length in class) the treatment of the two lesbians' relationship. The word "girlfriend" is only used once, a third party (the coach) utters it, and he says it in a negative, sarcastic way. Meanwhile we are subjected to numerous erotic images, most of them geared toward heterosexual males. The lead characters' sex scene at the beginning of the film is one of the only scenes where it is made explicit that the two are "more than just friends," and it looked a bit like soft porn.

From this time period, however, when the sexual revolution was just getting started, one couldn't have expected much better. I'd guess that within the gay community at the time of this film's release the reaction was a little mixed, and "take what you get" than actual thankfulness or belief that this meant they were accepted.

It's also interesting to note that in many sports in which men participate, the men are stereotyped as more likely to be gay, while the heterosexuality of the women is almost never questioned. Case in point--figure skating. Or gymnastics, if you prefer summer pasttimes. In fact, in some circles of the weightlifting community gay men probably predominate.


response to brittany's post
Name: Emma Pfeif
Date: //2005-02-10 17:08:45 :
Link to this Comment: 12762

>>"Well, they're atheletes: they're horny all the time, so of course they're gonna end up sleeping together---on their first night in the same house, no less! But hey, it's ok. It's just a fling. Once boys show up, Chris gets her act together and settles down into a *normal* partnership." It's frustrating, to say the least. The movie reduces what looked like a serious, loving, complex lesbian relationship to a friends-who-screw deal.

I completely agree, and feel like Brittany's comment better articulates what I was trying to say in my first post. The movie was probably a watershed in 1982 when it premiered, but one would like to think society has moved on since then. I'm not sure society's view of lesbians has really changed, though--witness Tatu. Perhaps it's naive of me to condemn Personal Best for striving to show two women in a relationship that, while somewhat constrained by the mini-society of women's sports that forms the backdrop of the film, is still fairly accepted. "Everyone knew" that they were in a relationship, but if they experienced prejudice over it, we don't see it in the movie.

On the other hand, I remain concerned that the movie's interest in Tori drops off precipitously once Chris starts dating the water polo player of her dreams. Some of this, of course, we can attribute to the fact that Chris is the protagonist and Tori, whether intentionally or not, causes Chris serious physical pain. The lack of attention to Tori does leave you wondering, though. It reminded me a little of the final chapters of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn where Huck, who has developed quite a friendly relationship with the black slave Jim in the course of the novel, promptly forgets him as soon as they are back in "sivilization." The bottom line, I guess, is that the prejudices run deeper than you think.



Name: Brittany P
Date: //2005-02-10 22:27:26 :
Link to this Comment: 12770

To respond to Kate's comment: "What the more important question to me is, how did people involved in homosexual relationships view themselves then?"

I've been thinking, and I'm starting to wonder if Tori and Chris saw themselves in a "relationship." What bugged me most wasn't the absence of the words "lesbian," "girlfriend," or "lover," but the absence of more traditional "couple interaction." They never seemed to brush against each other, hold each other's hands, call each other "hon" or "babe" or anything that even remotely suggested further-than-friend intimacy. Or intimacy at all. I call my friends by nicknames/petnames. But Tori and Chris didn't seem to, unless (I only vaguely recall this), Tori called Chris "kid" at the beginning of the movie. From the way the film was shot, they seemed to care about eachother deeply, and I would venture romantically. But they seemed afraid to admit their own intimacy, even during scenes when they were alone. It's like they brought the stigma the world imposed on their type of relationship home with them... did they mentally block out the possibility of categorizing themselves as in a "romantic relationship" because society couldn't comfortably accept such a thing at the time?


Week 3 Hero For Daisy
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-02-11 09:51:18 :
Link to this Comment: 12776

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?


Hero for Daisy first response
Name: Emma
Date: //2005-02-11 19:19:52 :
Link to this Comment: 12804

I think that the understanding of how women should act has been changing steadily and gradually over time. Changes how society in general viewed women parallel the rise of women's sports documented in Dare to Compete--the success of the suffrage movement, Rosie the Riviter, and the 50s housewife all found a reflection in how women in sports were seen. Within the social revolution of the 60s and 70s, Title IX was an important but natural outgrowth of how society was changing.

Women competing in sports definitely break the mold of the 1900s, say, or even the 1950s, but I'm not sure they break today's mold. The U.S. women's soccer team of the 1990s was one of the most celebrated teams to represent our country ever, and the women of that team were, as it's frequently put, the Title IX generation.

We didn't get this way for nothing, though. Women such as Chris Ernst who demand more parity from society than it is willing to offer them at that moment are the reason that women today are that much closer to parity. The brave protest she and her teammates staged for equal facilities to the men went a long way toward getting Title IX enforced--and if Title IX had never been enforced, we would be talking about what it represented very differently today.


Daisy
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-02-16 15:51:54 :
Link to this Comment: 12931

My apologies, ladies, for not having responded sooner - I had to leave town on Friday and have been shuffled between 4 jobs and classes ever since I got back.

I really liked the movie "Hero for Daisy" and the extreme steps that the Yale Crew team went to to get equal treatment and facilities. We can certainly see the influence which their actions have had universities in the rest of the country, but just look at what they had to do to get some attention - stripping in the office of one of the heads of athletics, and inviting a journalist and a cameraman along with them. Would they have been so successful if they hadn't had someone along to spin the right kind of publicity for them? Would the story have been picked up all over the country and therefore had so much influence? Where is the real power here, with the women or still in the system?


Week 3 post
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-02-16 16:24:45 :
Link to this Comment: 12933

In "Dare to Compete", we certainly see evidence that women's sports have the opportunity to change the accepted assumption. We now know that athletic activities do not impact a woman's ability to reproduce. We also know that women can run and swim long distances. In "Personal Best", homosexuality in sports (as well as life in general)was unaccepted and undiscussed. Now, it is still not accepted, but it is discussed. In "A Hero for Daisy", we see that hard work pays off and that a little deviant behavior is useful on occation.



Name: Brittany P
Date: //2005-02-16 22:48:58 :
Link to this Comment: 12950

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 this question centers around the term "opportunity." By themselves---rather, with no "exterior" action taken---I think that it would be difficult for women athletes to get the equality they deserve. The films we've seen so far imply that, for women to truly be recognized as contenders (and funded as such!), they have to use the crutch of publicity. For example, in the first film, it took a "Battle of the Sexes" tennis match for a good portion of America to even recognize that women athletes were just as serious about their sports as men. And in Hero for Daisy, it took rampant nakedness. Or rather, it took rampant naked publicity.

I think that's the key factor here. For women, equal treatment requires an appeal to the greater public via some sort of external medium---news, etc. Otherwise no one notices, and sadly, no one seems to care. For example, I'd file the coach's treatment of Chris in Personal Best as "sexual harrassment." But no one in the movie mentioned it after it occurred. Why? Did the filmmakers automatically assume that the audience would brush it off? Or did they think that the audience accepted that no one in the movie would take it to the press? Or a lawyer? For that matter, what did Chris think of it? Was she not skeeved out enough to do anything about it, or did she simply accept it as something she "had to deal with"?


Personal Best
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-02-17 01:53:37 :
Link to this Comment: 12954

The film gives the message that sexuality goes hand in hand with sport and physical exertion. Many of the activities that the atheletes are shown performing have sexual undertones (grunting, moans, close up shots of the body). The movie also seems to imply that homosexuality is just a temporary thing...that in the end heterosexuality wins out. The film shows the relationship between a man and woman as the logical, pratical, agreeable conclusion. The climate does not seem to have changed much because society still has the same views on homosexuality. Today sexual orientation comes up more when female athletes are being discussed. Women have to fight to prove that they are heterosexuals or be assailed for being lesbians. Sports work to reinforce the masculinity of male athletes despite the homoeroticism often found in the realm of sport. Sports, therefore, work to reinforce the 'traditional' roles of men and women. Men are applauded for hard work and athleticism and it works to reinforce their masculinity while women are chided for being physical and athletic...for threatening the role and masculinity of men.


Week 3 Qs
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-02-17 02:04:43 :
Link to this Comment: 12955


I believe that women's sports do provide the opportunity to enact change in society, because as is often pointed out, sport not only reflects what is going on in society but often causes change in society. Sports tend to grip many people of different backgrounds and provide a common ground. Advances made in sport are therefore seen by many and if it is successful people begin to question whether it would be so difficult to make the same strides in broader society. This is seen in the three movies where women show that they are capable of performing daunting physical tasks, like their male counterparts, without harming their bodies. Women have shown, in real life as well in the movies, that they can be as good as if not better than their male counterparts (Billie Jean winning the 'Battle of the Sexes' match, Chris pressing more than her water polo boyfriend). I think women athletes today continue to challenge stereotypes about women. One, the idea that you cannot be a female athlete AND sexy, is challenged by female athletes as can be seen by those women who pose in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and the women who are praised both for their talents on the field and their attractive physique (sorry Anna Kournikova).


League of Their own
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-02-18 14:41:05 :
Link to this Comment: 13000

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



Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-02-21 19:58:48 :
Link to this Comment: 13074


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 don't think the interpersonal story of Dottie and Kit's sibling rivalry detracts from the film's feminist message at all. In fact, I think it helps the film from becoming too blatantly preachy. If it were only about the Peaches' struggle to gain national acceptance as a "serious team," the movie would get real old real fast. The fact that there's some other human dynamic makes it easier to identify with the characters. In fact, I think that's essential: if people in the audience, especially men, couldn't "identify" with the struggles the girls faced (quite apart from their battle for acceptance!), they wouldn't develop any sympathy for their plight. An unsympathetic audience is much less likely to take the movie's greater themes seriously. There needs to be that personal bond between viewer and character to act as a bridge that can transmit the gravity of the film's broader subject matter.

As for the matter of the film's being nostalgic, again, I think it helps the film's message. Generally nostalgia evokes a yearn to a return to "the good old days." Filing women's baseball as part of the "good old days" of the 1950's automatically places it on the same level as more traditional American nostalgia: soda bars, suburban bliss, etc. By doing so it casually insinuates that women's baseball, like men's baseball, is as American as apple pie---and that it was sad to see it go. That's the only point of the film I would've emphasized more: the fact that the women's baseball league eventually did fail, and how disheartening this must have been to all the women involved.


a league of their own
Name: Emma
Date: //2005-02-24 10:21:23 :
Link to this Comment: 13206

I agree with Brittany--while I can see that A League of their Own, in the way it frames its story, disregards more serious issues in favor of a personal story, I don't feel that this is necessarily such a bad thing. As she said, allowing us to identify with the characters broadens the movie's appeal and thus increases the likelihood that more people will see this movie, and think about it.

Going back to the class discussions, I felt like there the movie was critized for not focussing enough on the issues we've seen more thoroughly developed in other movies, particularly how race and sexual orientation relate to women's sports. While I thought it was interesting that the climax of the film occurs when the most stereotypically "butch" character on the team, the girl so homely that the charm school director brushes past her without offering any advice, gets married, I didn't really see this as a negative. In fact, I thought it was oddly liberating to see a movie so free of certain stereotypes, and it was interesting in the class discussions that several people suggested that the close relationship between the two New York girls could have been sexual as well.

I think the one downside of the sexual revolution has been the loss of innocence it has wrought upon such relationships. Furthermore, I felt that the class members who were outspoken in claiming "I know there's a closeted lesbian somewhere in this movie" were actually taking part in extending the stereotype that female athletes are often gay. Because you can't have a women's baseball team with only straight girls--everyone knows that.



Name:
Date: //2005-03-02 01:26:50 :
Link to this Comment: 13337

I think that,first and foremost,A League of their Own is a Hollywood film. It is about making money, I think, more than exacting a kind of feminist goodwill onto those who view it. With that in mind, it seems this movie would risk a good deal as an upbeat chick flick with a nice Madonna song if it tried to place an uncomfortable theme into its storyline. The story of the two sisters seemed more like a distraction to me. It was tacked on because the movie did not have much substance, and because Geena Davis is pretty and they probably wanted to have longer camera shots of her face as she responded to things the little sister said.
Simply telling a rendition of the story of the women's baseball league is not a bold or a necessarily interesting thing to do, and I don't think the creators of this film had feminist intentions. I think we take them too seriously. Also, I wonder how historically accurate this rendition was, and actually thought the brief historical footage we watched about the women's team in our first class was more interesting. Usually I loved "based-on-a-true-story" films, but this one was just too obvious about pulling on heartstrings.


A League of their Own
Name: Catherine
Date: //2005-03-02 01:28:01 :
Link to this Comment: 13338

Sorry message above is mine--Catherine Makofske


Week 5 Pumping Iron II
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-03-02 20:38:40 :
Link to this Comment: 13357

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?


Dare to compete - comment 2
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-12 16:05:01 :
Link to this Comment: 13459

Yes yes I know I'm way behind schedule with this comment, but my computer's been broken and I've been sick and ... well anyway, here I go with my responses to the "dare to compete" comments.

First of all, with reference to the question that was asked, how the Victorians managed to progress from Elizabethan England. I think a lot of it is breaking through little by little from repression to open sexuality for women and men, and then Victoria trying to establish a "return to moral ground" by setting a bunch of boundaries again. There's this whole line of thought in gender relations which states that men look, and women are looked at. This can be seen in the most fundamental, most elementary aspect of daily life; wardrobe. If you see paintings or watch movies set in Elizabethan England ("Elizabeth", for example, or "Shakespeare In Love"), you can see the distinctions. Men are bundled up to the neck in cloth and lace, while women wear dresses which hint to or directly show their cleavage, and then lead down to show tiny wastes and fully-formed hips (good for child-bearing). Why? Because women are there to be looked at, and hence should always appear to be pretty and neat, while men are there not for sporting glance, but to watch. This can also be seen in Victorian wardrobes; extra padding at the rear, corsets for the torso, all to give hints of a curvy, full-figured body. It can be seen today, too; if a girl walks down the street in a short skirt and a tube top, she'll get whistled and cat-called. When she turns around and faces the people whistling to her or cat-calling her, she's confrontational and/or crazy. There's actually a whole scene about this from 'Sex and the City' where Miranda is cat-called by construction workers as she returns her rented videos - watch it sometime, it's highly amusing.


Week 2, 'Personal Best' - comment 1
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-12 16:19:49 :
Link to this Comment: 13460

Question: 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?



Before I read other people's responses to the film and the question, I thought I'd better put down my own thoughts. I just finished watching the movie in the library, and while it certainly was interesting, it wasn't as good as I'd been led to believe it would be. But hey, that's just me.

I couldn't quite tell if this film was dealing with the issue of lesbianism in sports the way it wanted to, the way it thought society would want it to, or the way the issue would really be handled within the athletic community. I mean, after all, it is kind of convenient that Chris does end up with a boy and not with a girl at the end of the film. I don't know if any of you are familiar with the story of "Rent", the Broadway play, but it's based on Puccini's Opera "La Boheme". In it, there's a flirty girl named Musetta who leaves Marcus for a richer man, then comes back, leaves him again, and comes back again. In "Rent", this character is reincarnated in Maureen, who dumps Roger for a woman, a black lawyer named Joanne, and then, unable to control her flirtations, gets dumped by Joanne; they get back together, break up again, et cetera. When he was writing the play, Jonathon Larson wanted Maureen to eventually get back together with Roger, but was advised against it because it just wouldn't make sense; he was essentially told that "she's either a lesbian or she's not." That's just one of the problems I had with this film. Tory, at least, knew who she was and what she wanted, whereas Chris was so uncomfortable with the idea of being a lesbian that she referred to Tory as her "friend", her "roommate." It was Tory who had to reminder her that they were friends who "occasionally f*** each other."

The subject is so taboo in the film that the word "lesbian" is never used, the word "girlfriend" used only occasionally. There are hetero-erotic subtones everywhere, particularly in reference to the Coach, with both the girls. He is everywhere within the film, controlling both their lives, albeit Chris lets him control it more than Tory does. He's drinking beer in the bleachers or on the dunes while the girls run their buts off. Chris looks around to see if he's watching them while she and Tory talk. The two of them kiss in public only once that I can remember. At parties, they break off and hang out with other people, mostly men. Just as the drinking and the pot-smoking is done behind closed doors and only with trusted parties, so is the lesbianism on the team shut away even tighter. The message is clear - lesbianism is baaaaaad.

Now that I'm done with my novel (sorry!), I'll be off.


Dare to Compete, 2nd comment
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-12 21:52:26 :
Link to this Comment: 13463


I thought our group raised some interesting questions in the first round of this discussion about the sexual scrutiny of females throughout history. When Brittany mentioned the public's admiration of Queen Elizabeth regarding her coldness, severity and her virginity I began to feel grateful for being born in this day and age. Why should any woman have to share this kind of thing with the public? What does Queen E's sexuality have to do with her as the queen? What does being a lesbian have to do with sports.
. I don't think that because the blonde ended up with a man it means that she was abandoning a part of her lesbian identity. I don;t think the relationship between the women was the key component to this movie either. The movie had more to do with the merge of private lives in a very public world such as the sports world, where everyone is always watching you, worrying about you as a physical entity. The relationship could have been as deep as a wading pool or something more serious and i don't think it would have made much difference to how people in the sports world would begin to view it.

The problem I think is still the objectification issue, and the obsession or fear of female sexuality. Anyway, I say it takes two to tango.


Personal Best-2nd response
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-12 22:10:14 :
Link to this Comment: 13464


So actually, this is the post for Dare to Compete because I got a bit mixed up and started talking about Personal Best in My Dare to Compete post.

I must admit though that I am finding it difficult to relate to these female athletes because I myself am not a competitive athlete (or even much of an athlete) and am struggling to feel for what these women are going through. I guess that is part of a larger problem in the society we were all raised in. Things actually do appear fair, but I suppose that is because I don't know a great deal about what it is like to be a female athlete. Isn't it about the love of sports and competition anyhow? Why do men or women need to become celebrities in the sports world and make more than the greatest writers or painters? If people are not watching the WNBA games, why should we expect them to? On one hand I think its wrong that male athletes make some of the most ridiculous salaries while their female counterparts do not. It would seem that there were a lot more opportunities for female supermodels though...I don;t say this to annoy our class. I only say it because to me being a famous basketball player and making 3 million dollars is just as superficial and just as important as modeling beautiful clothes. They're both industries, and they're both about making money. So i guess the depth of the conversation we're having and the issues being raised are a bit lsot on me. Maybe someone can enlighten ...


A League of their Own-2nd Post
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-12 22:24:09 :
Link to this Comment: 13465

Though I still very much dislike "A League of their Own," our class has posted some ideas about the movie which I had not considered before. Our class may be deeper than the movie too, but perhaps the creator of the film did have some subtle themes that he was attempting to portray about women's roles in the sports world.

Most striking to me was the simple idea of taking women away from their families, husbands, and overall social expectations-- and placing them into a sport world which may at the time have seemed like a completely trivial thing for them to be involved in. I think what the movie did do successfully, even if it was a bit sappy, was show that the an effect of taking women out of their traditional family lives, created to some unintended stirrings in the blood . Allowing women to be physically separated from their domestic worlds even for all the wrong reasons (such as exploting them, making money off of them, making them into beauty queens etc) , had the unintended effect of liberating them to a degree. Once they were exposed to a different kind of life, they may have found it difficult to return to the way things had traditionally been, and this enables some new thinking on women's roles in society...if only temporarily by the women.


Pumping Iron--1st Post
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-12 22:32:29 :
Link to this Comment: 13466


Well, what a movie. There is one scene that sticks out in my mind from this movie...and that was during one of the shower scenes when a woman was speaking about the judgement others past on her in the non -body building community. You can tell from this scene that the female body-builders think their bodies are beautiful and that they want to be seen as developing and enjoying the "muscles most people don't even know they have."

I found the whole body-building thing, for both men and women, a bit disturbing. I couldn;t really consider it a sport, and after we discussed some of the dietary habits of men and women in these competitions, I felt a bit disgusted by the whole cocept of pushing one's body to these extremes. Obviously there was some real nastiness in that movie towards female body-builders, which I think is wrong not only because it is mean-spirited but because to me, there is nothing less natural about females building their bodies up in such a way then there is for men.


Hero for Daisy-1st response
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-12 22:57:40 :
Link to this Comment: 13467


In A Hero for Daisy, as well as in Dare to Compete and Personal Best, the dilemma seems to boil down to preceptions about women's sexual roles and how society connects them to the sports world. It seems obvious that the two would have nothing to do with each but our society, atleast as expressed in these three films, has not realized that yet.

Kelsey pointed out some of these things and I will also say that in Dare to Compete a major issue for sports spectators and society in general was the sexual orientation of female athletes. Personal Best elaborated on some of this hysteria by portraying the women's relationship through the sports world, and showing the social effects it had on both of them. Daisy was interesting to me because it sort of did the reverse. It is almost as though the student athletes realized how sex-obsessed those who criticize or neglect female athletes are and they exploited it by stripping down. By showing themselves as sexually as they could, i think they proved a point that the administration was worried about something more than just the technical expenditures of improved facilities for the crew team.


Week 2, comments 2
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-13 12:44:44 :
Link to this Comment: 13469

So I've now read everyone's comments from Week 2 and feel now that my first comments were repetitive of what everyone else was saying, to put it mildly - we all seem to have noticed the same things about the lack of certain words ("lesbian", "girlfriend", et cetera) and the presence of what someone called "soft porn" geared towards heterosexual males. So now I think I'll talk about something that no one mentioned but what I think ties greatly into the first week's film; the coach of the women's track team. He has this whole scene reminiscent of Marlon Brando's "I could have been a contender" speech from 'On The Waterfront': he talks about his lost chances for fame as a men's coach for football or whatever. He's a women's track coach. "Do you know what that means? Jack s***," he says in the film. I think this kind of gets back to "Dare To Compete" and how we noticed that there were few or no female coaches for female athletes. Why is it that even in this film, where two of his athletes were going to the Olympics, that womens' athletics are still not being taken seriously? Let's leave the lesbianism aside for a bit and just talk about women athletes; their sexuality has no place in the public forum or in sports anyway (but that is an entirely different debate). Why is it that the coach regrets not being a men's coach? Would he be easier on male athletes than he is on the girls in the film? Would he have been less of a "sadistic son of a b****" if he had just gotten the chance to be a men's coach? Would he have been able to send athletes to the Olympics if he had been a men's coach? And the thing is, if he could have just kept his hormones under control he would have been the ideal coach, such as the African-American coach was (I didn't catch his name in the film, but I hope you all know who I'm talking about). He clearly cared about his athletes, tried to keep their drinking and drug use to a minimum, was hard on them to make them tough but there for them when needed, ... like I said, would he have been as great a coach if he had been coaching men? Would he have had the same kind of success?


Week 3 comments 2; athleticism and sexuality
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-13 13:01:39 :
Link to this Comment: 13470

I was reading Krystal's comments from weeks 2 and 3 about how sexuality and athleticism go hand-in-hand. I think, perhaps, on a very personal level, that is true; both have to do with one's relationship not only with one's own body, but with other bodies as well. Think of the sex scene at the beginning of "Personal Best", and then with the grunts and moans that come with the physical exhertion (sp?) of working out in the gym and the breathing patterns of a rower. But this doesn't at all mean that one's sexuality should be known or discussed by the general public. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for open sexuality, for being sexual and for being comfortable with being sexual, but I don't think that my sex life - or anyone else's, for that matter - should be discussed by people who know little about me. This doesn't just go for athletes - this goes for anyone in the "entertainment" field; actors, singers, and athletes. One's sexuality is one's own private affair, and until you walk naked into my bedroom, I don't feel obligated to tell you anything about my sexual preferences or history. I think this is something that our society today takes for granted; I can't go to a corner store and buy a pack of gum without being bombarded by magazine covers advertising who's sleeping with whom this week. Sex and athletics may go together within one's own body, but letting it become public knowledge is something else. This is part of what got to me in "Personal Best", is that the coach talked about Tori and Chris' sexuality when Tori and Chris could barely discuss it themselves. Even their teammates, who implicitly knew, never directly said anything, and that's okay; you don't have to talk about other people's sex lives, in fact I'm not sure that you SHOULD talk about other people's sex lives at all; the important thing is for YOU to be able to talk about YOUR sex life, YOUR sexuality. Nothing else really matters.

I think this also ties into "Pumping Iron", with Bev being "sexual" and Rachel being "sexy." Even Chris Ernst seemed to own her own sexuality more than Rachel from 'Pumping Iron' or Chris from 'Personal Best'.


Week 4 Comments 1
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-13 13:23:34 :
Link to this Comment: 13471

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?




What I liked about "League of Their Own" is how it looks at what is acceptable for women to do. This is something I've been thinking about a lot in reference to the other films in the course, and in reference to a Feminist Ethics class I took where we talked about "women's work"; what is acceptable for women to do to earn a living or as a job, and what is unnacceptable. I think we talked about this before, when we talked about the female CEO who was fired a few weeks back. Think of Dottie and Kit at the beginning of the film, on the farm milking cows and Dottie waiting for her husband to come back from the war, seemingly perfectly content with the house-wife life, and Kit dreaming of something else, of getting off the farm. Dottie is the normal one, the contented one, while Kit is seen as over-anxious, childish and even a little pushy. Dottie happily sets the table for dinner and Kit does so poutingly at best. There's a deeper message here; one that says that it's okay for girls to milk the cows and clean the stables and cook the meals, but it's not okay for them to be professional athletes and to be paid the same amount and/or given the same freedoms as a male athlete. This can be seen even in the uniforms the women are given; no baseball league would dream of making men wear shorts that short while playing. Also the classes they have to take; make-up, hair, posture, manners, et cetera; no men would be forced to learn to chew with their mouths closed, not spit tobacco, or balance books on their heads while walking up stairs. But these are things that women should know how to do anyway, so it's okay to make them jump through these hoops.


Week 5 Pumping Iron - comment 1
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-13 13:51:56 :
Link to this Comment: 13473

"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?"


I gotta say, I just loved Bev in this movie. Don't get me wrong, Carla was good too, but Bev was fantastic. She didn't try to dress up for working out like the other women, who were wearing their perfect lipliner and their perfect eyeshadow to go to the gym; no one looks like that in a gym unless they're trying too hard. Even the most feminine girl I know here on campus looks more like the boys from my high school football team when she's working out. And the thing about Bev was, she WAS there to try to change the ideas that people had about women's body-building. She wasn't petite (nor was Carla particularly petite either), she wasn't trying to be sexy the way that Rachel or even the other girl with the stripper-boyfriend was (did you see the bottom piece of her outfit with the frills? Pretty suggestive to me); Bev was just there to show the American female bodybuilders that tehre was more to women's body-building than the Rachels of the sport. And she had fun! When she did her bit, she was smiling and having a good time just being sexual. Carla wasn't particularly sexual in her time on the state. And with regards to Rachel, I think Carla's mom or aunt or whoever it was hit the nail on the head when she said, "I know exactly who she's playing to." I admit, I didn't think of Bev's body as particularly feminine; it wasn't as sleek as Rachel's nor as curvy as Carla's, but it was the most finely-tuned body there, and either that's what body-building is about or it's not. And more than that, Bev (and Carla too) seemed to own her sexuality more than the other contenders. I've talked about this already so I won't go on ad nauseum about it, but I just thought I'd add in my two cents.


Week 4 League of Their Own - Comment 2
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-13 14:09:30 :
Link to this Comment: 13474

I was reading Kate's first comment, where she said that "League of Their Own" is a Hollywood film more than anything else, and about making money more than about promoting feminism. I don't really agree with this assessment. First of all, the story was written by women, and the film was both produced and directed by a woman, by Penny Marshall. Not many people realize exactly how few big-time female producers and directors there are; to give you an idea, Sofia Coppola, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 2004 for "Lost in Translation", was only the third woman (and the first American woman) ever to be nominated for "Best Director". Ever. At five nominees a year for more than 75 years, you can quickly see that the number of female directors is miniscule next to the number of men. It takes WARS for a female director to get a large-scale job, let alone with headliners like Tom Hanks, let alone with a decently-sized budget and wide publicity and release. This film is a tribute to how hard women struggle arguably more so behind the scenes of the film than was is actually seen on camera.

But again, that's just my opinion.

I want to get back to the role of women's work, which Kate also talks about in her second postings for this film. One of the things which I took away from seeing this movie again was the one player who had to take her son with her on the bus because her husband simply didn't want to take care of him, said it wasn't his job; she was the mother, she should take care of the kid. Now I think the film also said that this woman's husband was unemployed at the time, so picture this; you're out on tour with your team and your husband is at home watching TV and drinking beer while you're earning the income, and he thinks it's your responsibility to take care of the kid? This is one thing I am very grateful for; in the 1990's and in the first decade of this millenium, most women who work while their husbands sit at home doing nothing would laugh their butts off if Hubby said that it was your job to take care of the kid as well. A woman is supposed to be able to keep the house neat and the kids in line AND raise money, while the man in the case of this film is literally not expected to do any work at all. Ridiculous.


Week 5 "Pumping Iron" - comment 2
Name: Laura Silv
Date: //2005-03-13 14:17:29 :
Link to this Comment: 13475

I liked what Kate said about body-building not necessarily being a sport; and while I'm sure the women in the film would disagree, I want to play with that for a while. I mean, we don't consider modelling a "sport", and the dietary habits of the women in that film, not to mention the similarly impossible standards which they placed on their bodies reminded a lot of us (if I recall correctly) of the modelling industry. Eating nothing but chicken for two weeks is simply not healthy, I think we can all agree on that. On the other hand, I admire these women - Bev in particular - for the discipline which they enforce on themselves. To be able to bring yourself from a 185-lbs lifter to a 140-lbs. body-builder in a short amount of time is impressive. But still, health should be paramount, and I'm not convinced that any of the women in that film were "healthy."


Pumping Iron--post 2
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-16 18:03:19 :
Link to this Comment: 13552


I hadn't thought about all of the make-up wearing and fashion trends that the female body-builders (or the majority of them) seemed to buy into. I guess that just emphasizes the idea that they're doing this activity for something besides physical health. Competition is clearly apart of it, appearance, and strength. I have always associated sports with physical perfection --the ability to "train" one's body so that it might break records, set scores in competition with other bodies, exert itself at a certain rate. All of this is so calculated! Is this how the body is meant to be used? We have transformed it into a competitive tool, and it may be very strong and all, but have we lost part of ourselves in the process? Just something to consider...



Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-17 03:40:53 :
Link to this Comment: 13572

Though I've often related sports to a kind of show or form of entertainment in this forum, I am a also a bit saddened by that fact. When I reconsider "A Hero for Daisy" to some of the other movies we've seen throughout this semester, i feel it is more in line with "Dare to compete," where the characters were heroes. They were real people, whichi is perhaps why sports can cause so much emotional reaction. The women in Daisy had a real statement to make, just as the women fighting for their integration into the sports world in Dare to Compete did. So it seems that the sports world is divided, and ofcourse one might make a good argument for the fact that they do and must overlap. But those two worlds --one of commerce and perrformance, the other gearing towards sociology and physical rigor--do not complement each other, do they? There is an intellectual, compelling side to sports and their is a side that is completely superficial. No wonder there are so many athletes who are criticized for being a lesbian or a female or a male...etc. There are so many labels because people simply do not agree on what the purpose of competitive sports is. Is it about business or entertainment? Competition or recreation? Men or women?


Above posting is Hero for Daisy-Response Two
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-17 03:43:03 :
Link to this Comment: 13573

Above comment is Hero for Daisy--Response Two


Week 6 Rocks With Wings
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: //2005-03-18 09:14:29 :
Link to this Comment: 13619

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?


Rocks with Wings, Post 1
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-20 00:03:25 :
Link to this Comment: 13651


I think Rocks with Wings is an important example of what sports can do for women, and the community that surrounds them, when the combination of two traditionally segregated entites is enabled.

Unlike other films we watched, the women in this film were neither objectified by their interests/lifestyles nor was the sport they played portrayed as infiltrated by their presence in it. This is an important distinction because the movie really showed how a group of women were not only empowered by their athleticism but were able to serve their community by it. We haven't watched a film that has viewed women's athleticism in quite this way before, and that has recorded the positive impact they had to their community. I think this was part of what the course was trying to say, and the film speaks for itself.

I imagine these women are doing well. They may not be involved with sports any more, but I think their struggle and the way they impacted their community must have had a benevolent effect on their lives and posterity.


Rock With Wings, 1st post
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-03-20 18:31:17 :
Link to this Comment: 13680

I like this film the best of all the ones that we've watched. This is because it does not depict women either as being inferior or as being sexual objects. It is true that they were a force of change (like all the other movies), but this was accomplished in a markedly different way than in the other movies. By this I mean that instead of altering the existing system by creating a disruption (like "A Hero for Daisy") or being puppets for men (as in both "A League of Their Own" and "Pumping Iron II"), these women are building themselves up and bringing everyone together without destroying anything except for their own misguided perceptions about what they are capable of achieving. I would expect that the girls on the team would be able to further push the boundaries for what they can do, except that it will be in other areas of their life also (ie. academics, socioeconomic status, etc.). This film was an excellent culmination of the Women Sport and Film class because it depicting women as being great and without being hindered by men. Though society is continuing to change in reference to gender role expectations, women have not yet reached a point of equality with men. Okay. I think I've gone on for far too long.

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?


Pumping Iron II
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-03-20 18:41:29 :
Link to this Comment: 13681

The movie clearly indicates that obviously men "own" the right to how femininity should be defined. However, other women contribute to it, too. Basically, the individual woman is the one who is being silenced for the right to express her femininty as she sees fit. I think that it is possible to be both strong and feminine, but the movie expressed a contrary view by indicating that it was not necessarily the strongest woman who would be chosen as the winner. I found that repulsive because it indicates that beauty--femininity, effectively--is more important.


Rocks with Wings-Post 2
Name: Kate Makof
Date: //2005-03-20 18:41:35 :
Link to this Comment: 13682

I concur. This film was about pushing boundaries, and women defining themselves as leaders in community as opposed to struggling for some sense of who they are in the competitive athletic world. I like that this film did not sexualize them and let thme be who they were. One of the most important thing about what the girls did as winning athletes, was boost the self-esteem of their own community and perhaps their culture as well. A great deal of this movie concerned the low self-esteem of Indian communities in America, communities that constantly been marginalized and treated as though they were not as capable of winning as their more privileged peers. I think this movie was very uplifting. The actions of the girls in it proved that there is more to sports than just the technical winning or losing. In this case it can be about emphasizing the strength and endurance of an entire community, regardless of status or circumstance.


A League of Their Own, 1st post
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-03-20 18:51:57 :
Link to this Comment: 13683

This film does focus a great deal on the personal story of the sisters a bit much. In doing this, it detracts from other issues (such as class or gender roles) that could have been developed more fully. As it was, we see one woman who was not lady-like and was almost not chosen as a response. We also see one woman who couldn't read. Of course, a movie can only accomplish a finite number of things, but that doesn't excuse the fact that some of the things it did show were not fleshed out expecially well.


A Hero for Daisy, post 2
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-03-21 16:10:06 :
Link to this Comment: 13787

I agree with Laura that a person's sexuality is that person's private affair that should not concern other people. I also don't want other people to talk about my sexuality. I know that when some of my classmates found out that I was going to attend Bryn Mawr, they started talking about my sexuality and attempted to reach conclusion that had no grounding in actual truth. However, if other people want to be open about their sexuality, I have no objection.


Pumping Iron II, post 2
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-03-21 16:16:48 :
Link to this Comment: 13788

I agree with Kate that part of the individual is lost in an attempt to train and get strong. However, it is also lost, as Laura indicates, by an attempt to be overly feminine and to play the role of pleasing the male judges.


Rock with Wings, 2nd post
Name: Kelsey Smi
Date: //2005-03-21 16:19:31 :
Link to this Comment: 13790

I agree with Kate that "Rock with Wings" is an example of what sports can do for women. I also agree that the women are probably doing well, even if they are not involved in sports.


Time to post everything at once!
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:44:47 :
Link to this Comment: 13818

Sorry I'm so lazy... anyway, here's Week 1, Part 2:


To add to what Krystal was saying, I think there is an underlying "male sentiment"---even if males themselves are aware of it---that they have to keep up appearances and strive to be stronger, faster, and better than women. I don't know why this should be; technically, I mean, men *are* stronger than we are. So why do so many men feel the need to validate themselves (are they validating their manhood, maybe?) through sports, and by barring women from participating in sports with them? I mean, what are they afraid of? That a woman will show them up? There's some sort of bio-cultural shame that's deeply-rooted in men from when they're born, I think. "I have to be stronger than women." You see it a lot at military academies. Women cadets are treated like crap; they have to prove their worth, prove that they're "as tough" as men. I think they have to do this, in part, because the men feel threatened---they feel this need to force the woman to demonstrate her limits so they can "size her up" and adjust their own insecure egos accordingly.


Week 3, Part 2
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:45:15 :
Link to this Comment: 13819

Week 3,2 (Hero for Daisy)

To reply to Laura's questions: "Would they have been so successful if they hadn't had someone along to spin the right kind of publicity for them? Would the story have been picked up all over the country and therefore had so much influence? Where is the real power here, with the women or still in the system?"

Like I said in my earlier post, the answers here are "no, no, and the system." The women in Hero for Daisy couldn't force change on their own. They needed the twin crutches of exhibitionism (oo, naked women!) and publicity (oo, naked women on TV!) to get anything done. If they'd worked *within* the system of the college, pressing for change through traditional means, I don't think they would've gotten anywhere. They needed a bigger bully behind them to defeat the bully they were facing. It's sad. These women *still* don't have enough power of self to be taken seriously. They have to push their case through a "more significant" (the press) or even "more wild" (like nakedness) form of protest before the system is willing to change for them. So in a sense, this is still a situation where the power remains firmly in the hands of the system; it was only the women's ingenuity in using the system against itself that wrought any change.


Week 4, 2
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:45:48 :
Link to this Comment: 13821

Week 4, 2 (League of Own)

I want to disagree with Catherine's earlier comment, that the story of the sisters is a distraction. I don't think it's distracting at all; in fact, I think that without this more humanist backstory, the greater struggle of the women to be accepted as athletes would seem shallow. To really root for someone, you have to care about them first. The burden of the filmmaker is to introduce protagonists that, despite their flaws, an audience will like enough to care about what happens to them. The sibling rivalry (familiar to many people, no doubt!) between Dottie and Kit built them up as characters, made them more than cardboard. Also, Geena Davis's prettiness is essential to the greater story of the girls' struggle to be taken seriously as athletes. They weren't just trained as players, remember, but as "young ladies"---balancing books on their heads, wearing makeup. At the beginning of the film, I'd argue they were even judged more on looks than on ability. Dottie's beauty highlighted the preferential (and blatantly unfair!) treatment shown to her, not for her awesome baseball skills, but for her feminine qualities. The movie had to show how baseball fans (and certain coaches) learned to appreciate the girls for more than their femininity: for themselves and their athletics. In the end, Dottie's beauty (or [the ugly girl--Marta?]'s unattractiveness) is unimportant; that's one of the lessons the film teaches.


Week 5, 1
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:46:17 :
Link to this Comment: 13822

Week 5, 1 Pumping Iron

Initial response: Eew. All right, I see nothing wrong with equality. If men and women want to submit their bodies to the kinds of (unnatural, it seems to me---anyone agree?) torture that "Pumping Iron" depicts, I think they should just view each other as equally crazy and be done with it. :)

Seriously, though. Yes, there is that old trope that "women aren't as strong as men." Yes, it's physically true. But the film is right in that it's the same thing, and should be viewed the same way, when both men and women decide they want to "push their bodies to the limit." So what if those limits are different? If it's the same level of exertion on both of their parts (and the film definitely suggested it was), then their activities are essentially equal. On the same level, women shouldn't be expected to maintain this false sense of "girlygirly femininity" when they're bodybuilding. Men don't manicure themselves before going to the gym; why should women have to look "hot" while they're sweating like pigs? Like men? No one judges guys on how they look while working out---it's such a gross double standard.


Week 5, 2
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:46:58 :
Link to this Comment: 13824

Week 5, 2 Pumping Iron

Have to agree with Laura here: Bev rules! Laura's post made me think about the ways the girls acted when they were exhibiting themselves, and then I realized the word I had used in that train of thought: "exhibit." I know this is a little extreme, but just in the way that Rachel acted, it seemed as though she were catering less to an athletic standard and more to an aesthetic one. Now I don't mean the typical "model" aesthetic: she *is* a bodybuilder, after all, so she's not gonna look like some sticky, anemic little Victoria Secret model. But like Laura said, she was "sleeker." Bev, on the other hand, worked and displayed her body like it was a body, not a sex object. In male bodybuilding competitions, men don't come on stage to be oogled at. (In fact, I---and I know a lot of people who agree--think super-huge muscles on guys are really gross.) But men don't care, do they? They build themselves up anyway, because they're not *there* for the aesthetics; they're here to say, "this is my body, and I have crafted it into a tool that can bench press 500 lbs." That was Bev. Her body was just a body, like a male bodybuilder's, a *tool* that she honed to perfection.


Week 6, 2
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:47:29 :
Link to this Comment: 13825

Week 6, 1 Rocks with Wings

Question: 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?

At the risk of being cheesy, "Rocks with Wings" rocked. It's been one of my favorite films this semester, and a great cap-off to the class. We started off with movies where women were completely ridiculed if they tried to be athletic (that first documentary comes to mind); where women's athletics were considered dangerous, unnatural, and unattractive. We moved on into films where women were athletes, but not really taken seriously; where they had to fight to be recognized as real contenders (Hero for Daisy and League of their Own). We then moved to a movie in which women were definitely viewed as athletes, but still felt pressure to conform to society's standards of "sexy"---where women, though athletes, were always "women first" (Pumping Iron, and a little in League of their Own). Finally, FINALLY, we get a film that's about a team of women athletes, competing just as athletes, and the fact that they are girls is never mentioned. "Rocks With Wings" is about people (not "women") who use their athletecism to help solidify and vitalize their community. It finally manages to look beyond the gender gap by failing even to acknowledge it. There were no segments on "how the girls related to their boyfriends" or "what the white girls thought of the Indian girls." Nothing! So refreshing! Just a focus on them, their sport, their struggles (no invocation of the fact that the coaches were male, even!), and their eventual triumph. Awesome.


Week 6, 2
Name: Brittany
Date: //2005-03-21 20:47:51 :
Link to this Comment: 13826

Week 6, 2 Rocks with Wings

Agreeing with Kate and Kelsey in that, while the girls on the bball team may no longer be playing sports, the impact that their time on the team had will last them a lifetime. It did what all good sports experiences should do: teach them to believe in themselves, work together, face defeat bravely, and never, ever give up. The fact that the film interspersed so much cultural information alongside the bball story (especially the running thread--haha, thread, get it?--about the "spirit line") made these "lessons" even more poignant. The girls are living in a community where they're going to need every scrap of self-confidence, self-reliance, and hardiness that they can get. Playing basketball helped them develop these qualities. I don't know where any of them are now, but wherever they are, I'll bet they're prospering---and continuing to push the limits of what they can do.


League of their Own
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-03-22 00:14:22 :
Link to this Comment: 13847

I think that by luring the viewer in through investment/identification with one of the sisters that the movie gets people interested enough to watch the movie and learn about some of the larger issues. Although some of the heavier issues (race, class, sexual orientation issues) are sugar coated, the movie does hint at some of them. For example, the movie shows that black women were not allowed to play in the league but that many black women were talented enough. Also, although sexual orientations other than heterosexuality are not really addressed in the movie and class backgrounds is only touched on a bit, the movie can be the impetus that leads people to further research the Women’s League and it’s history and contribution to the history of baseball in general. Also Dottie and Kit offer viewers a chance to see to of the major lifestyles that the women ballplayers had. One lifestyle is one as a married housewife interested in raising a family more than anything else. The other lifestyle, that of Kit, is more dedicated to staying involved in the game before perhaps going on to raise a family. The many other women highlighted in the film also serve to offer some insights into the lives of women ballplayers. I think the film is successful in that it is entertaining and may lead viewers to want to delve deeper into the history of women’s baseball.


Dare to Compete
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-03-22 00:25:05 :
Link to this Comment: 13848

I think that it is becoming more and more possible for women to push the boundaries of sports and what is defined as feminine. I believe that this goes along with the general, albeit slow trend, in society of women steadily receiving more rights and recognition for what they can do. While I think that women can be strong and feminine I think that a lot of their ‘femininity’ relies on how pretty they are. I feel that many of the women who are accepted for their strength and prowess on the playing field still fall in the generally accepted mainstream image of female beauty. I feel that women who are strong and talented in sports yet not as ‘attractive’ as some of their peers receive recognition for their athleticism but that there is reservation in necessarily seeing them as feminine…at least the societal definition of femininity. I think in order for more women to be strong, push the boundaries of sport, and remain feminine that the very definition of femininity needs to be amended. Right now femininity is owned by others and not by ourselves (oneself). This needs to change in order for more female athletes to be seen as feminine athletes…if this is even important to them. In my opinion, it seems that sport is more of a way for (insecure?) men to exert their masculinity than for women to prove that they are women…


Week 1 Response to Group
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-03-22 00:35:59 :
Link to this Comment: 13850


I think that the Victorian ideals for women that many of you guys brought up are interesting. I think that some of the problems you had with Victorian ideals (the fact that Queen Victoria herself didn’t abide by these ideals) just reflects the very dualistic nature of society in general which goes on to be reflected in particular spheres, such as sports. There are so many examples of duality in sports. For example, the idea that sports helps the self esteem of the athletes. This is actually questionable with many sports, especially those that are team sports, where pressure, abuse, and deviance are all accepted as part of the process necessary to be tough and victorious. And as to the ever present question of why women aren’t given as much equal opportunity as men…I think it all comes back to the fact that sports remains, in the minds of many, a sphere where boys learn to be men and men exert their masculinity. Having women have power in this sphere would threaten the whole system.


Week 2 Response to Group
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-03-22 01:17:56 :
Link to this Comment: 13851

While I still think that “Personal Best” seemed to hint at homosexuality being a temporary experimental type of thing before heterosexuality wins out…I think Brittany’s post was very interesting…the assumptions that we place on Chris and Tori and how their relationships should be. They never came out as saying they had a monogamous and serious relationship so why should others think of their relationship that way? The idea that the repetitive body shots and the sensual nature of the shots so as to make it normal and the oversexed athlete normative was also very interesting to me. I hadn’t thought of it that way.


Week 3 Response to Group
Name: Krystal Ma
Date: //2005-03-22 01:40:03 :
Link to this Comment: 13852

I think that the idea that a cause has to be likable to the general public in order for it to get attention and be addressed is interesting. It makes sense, though, that this would be the case. Although sociologists and students, for example, may know the important role that sport plays in society, the mainstream might not. Most people may have to have it pointed out, thrown directly in their faces, to see how decisions that are made in the world of sport are key to decisions and forward progress that can be made in society at large. Also I don’t think it’s just women’s causes that need to be given public light before being addresses…I think its any minorities’ agendas…any groups that may threaten the mainstream and ‘traditional’ values and/or norms.