Women Sport and Film - Fall 2005 Papers Forum on Serendip

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Full Name:  Marissa Patterson
Username:  mpatters@brynmawr.edu
Title:  Chick flicks and Women's sports films: Is there a formula?
Date:  2005-12-02 16:24:22
Message Id:  17273
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

Student Papers

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There are many essential characteristics of "chick flicks" and women's sports films that are displayed in the movies we watched in class. Many of these qualities are common to both films, while some can characterize only one type of movie. These characteristics embody the genre, and each is rarely ever absent from a movie of that classification. Most times, if these aspects do not appear to be portrayed in a movie, it is simply because they are hidden in a way, transformed slightly into a similar feature. A few vital characteristics of chick flicks are a romantic story involving a woman who has some sort of character flaw that makes her less desirable to most men and a man who can see past this characteristic, but who has some personality trait of his own that she is able to relax over the course of the film. It is often only after changes in some way (she may or may not change as well) that they can be together at the end of the movie. There also must be some sort of emotional component. The viewer must feel empathy for the characters and want them to ultimately be together in the end. Most times there is also a feeling of identification with the female lead by the female viewer, a sense of seeing herself in the character on the screen. Usually, in the middle of the film there is some sort of dramatic conflict that tears the two main characters apart, something that often stems from internal characteristics of one or both people that causes a rift to grow between them. It is only after they grow and change that they can ultimately be together. In all chick flicks, however, there is a happy ending that brings the man and woman together, apparently together forever.

Women sports films share many of these characteristics. Most times the main female athlete is a member of a team that is an underdog, in a situation where they are not expected to succeed. The woman has some sort of internal conflict between her love of the game she plays and some sort of interpersonal relationship, be it with her family or with a member of the opposite sex. The star of a women's sports film is always a very good player. Often this talent is innate and develops while they are young. These stories always end happily, though it is not always because the team wins. Many times these climactic endings occur at the big championship game. Often times the woman finds some sort of balance between sports and family, settling that conflict between the two. Frequently the girl ends up playing the sport they love with a supportive family and a loving spouse.

Bridget Jones' Diary, the first chick flick we watched, embodies all of the qualities of that genre. Bridget is annoying and desperate and her male partner Mark is uptight and formal. The watcher of the film views all of the crazy stunts Bridget goes through, such as her embarrassing interview as the fire house and her disastrous birthday dinner and feels sorry for her as a character. The viewer hopes to see Bridget happy in the end, because that will show that no matter what you do wrong, love will prevail in the end. The dramatic conflict in the middle of the film is provoked by Mark's formality and inability to open up along with Bridget's inability to see past the lies she has been told and the misconceptions she previously has. It is only after they both become aware of these personality traits that they can ultimately come together at the end of the movie in a swirl of snowflakes and love.

The next chick flick we watched, Pretty Woman, echoed many of these same themes. While Vivian is not as flawed personality wise, she is a prostitute, a career that leads the viewer to make some negative assumptions about her background and personality choices. Edward is, again, uptight and formal, a strict business. The reasons to feel close to Vivian in this film are very similar to those felt towards Bridget. Vivian displays many traits that make you laugh at her naivety and lack of sophistication. Conflict ensues when a friend of Edward presumes that since Vivian is a prostitute, she must be willing to sleep with anyone. Also Edward's ideas of setting Vivian up in a townhouse, like his own personal prostitute, stems from his inability to open himself up to others. Again, the two characters have revelations and change, able to come together and accept each other and their flaws, with a dramatic scene on a balcony with romantic music and roses.

Something's Gotta Give is rather different from the first two chick flicks. In this film, it is the woman, Erica, who is more neurotic and structured (and of an older age than many romantic leads), and the man, Harry, who is a fun loving immature ladies man. It is these traits, however, that ultimately lead to a break up, when Harry is not ready to settle down, especially with an "older" woman. However, Harry's heart attacks and Erica's sweet and caring nature lead the viewer to hope for something good to come about in their lives. Harry eventually understand that he does love Erica and no longer desires to be so fancy free, and proclaims his love in the most romantic ending of all, in Paris, with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

The women's sports films we watched in class embody the traits of the genre in a very similar way. A League of Their Own focuses on Dottie, an incredible baseball player in a playing in an era when the common belief was that girls could not play sports. She is married with a husband off at war, and is torn between the sport she loves, the husband she loves, and the sister in the same league, who she also loves. She does not know which relationship should be the most important to her, eventually choosing to go back to her husband and (debatably) deciding to purposefully lose the dramatic and climactic championship game to display her love for her family. While she does not end up playing baseball as a career in any way, the audience is content because they feel that she has done what makes her most happy: giving her sister the chance to succeed and returned home to take care of her injured husband.

In Bend it like Beckham Jess is in a similar conflict. She is a gifted soccer player and desires to play that sport and travel to America for college. However her ties to her family and her culture drive her to want to remain in America so that she can keep those she loves happy and not hurt them. Luckily for her, her family ends up learning to appreciate and accept her athletic abilities and the choices she makes related to this. Like many women's sports films, Jess also experiences a romantic attraction to her coach Joe, a relationship that is portrayed as a lesser storyline than the sports part, a method which is very common to women's sports films. Again the film contains the big championship game, which they win (of course) due to the actions of the lead character.

Finally, in Love and Basketball, the female lead Monica displays a lifelong love of basketball, playing through childhood, high school, college, and into the pros. There is the expected big championship game, and other dramatic sports related moments. However, this film focuses more equally on the relationship between those other ties that draw Monica away from her sport, however. Her family, while they accept the choices she makes, wish that she acted more feminine and ladylike. Also, she is involved in a romantic off again on again relationship with her next door neighbor Quincy, the boy she grew up playing basketball with. In a relationship sense these characters are much like those in a chick flick. They have internal personality traits that they must overcome and grow from before they can be together permanently at the end of the movie. This movie expands into an epilogue, showing the final resolution of the relationships in the show. Monica ends up married with a young daughter, yet she becomes a member of the WNBA and continues playing the sport she loves.

The films we watched in this class display a wide range of storylines and characters, but in the end they each follow a prescribed set of characteristics necessary for their genres. However, the directors and writers often do a good job of not making the films seem formulaic and boring. Very often, though the average viewer knows what is going to happen in the end, that the sports team will win the game, the guy and the girl will fall in love and get together, and everyone will live happily ever after. It is this predictability, this guarantee of happy ever after, that draws much of the crowd to view these movies. It takes them to a place where everything will be ok in the end and encourages them to hope for the best, because their lives will always work out ok.

Full Name:  Kate Callahan
Username:  kcallaha@brynmawr.edu
Title:  "Hardball"- The Women's Sports Chick Flick of the Future
Date:  2005-12-06 18:24:20
Message Id:  17327
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

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Christine (Chris) O'Malley spent her whole childhood wanting to be the first woman to play for Major League Baseball. In the early twenty first century, she spent her days on the recreation fields of a big city, playing baseball against boys who were a whole lot less interested in the sport than she was. She spends a lot of time in crappy positions while boys who are far worse players get the better ones, but she perseveres, often saving said boys butts when they miss a catch. When she moves to the suburbs for high school however, she is told that girls are not allowed to play baseball: only softball; and that she cannot try out for the baseball team. Chris tries to be open minded about softball, and even goes to try outs her freshman year, but what she really wants is to play baseball, and so she never joins the ailing high school softball team. Chris becomes a hardcore academic instead and gets accepted to an elite women's college: Bryn Mawr.

A month and a half before leaving for school, Chris is romantically rejected by a close guy friend, Eric, and she feels like she has nothing behind her to hold onto: she can only move on as she starts college. She promises herself she won't get involved in love again, as it is a pain and a distraction from her school work. Chris is feminine, mature, and strong, but scared out of her mind as she goes into her freshman year.

Enter hotshot softball player Beth Solo, a home school kid from Montana who aspires to be an athlete, but whose academic skills land her at Bryn Mawr. Beth is beautiful and feminine naturally, but her hair is cropped to a boy-short length, and she wears sports bras and baggy men's clothing to hide her shape. Chris and Beth meet up on their first day of orientation as their customs people have everyone introduce themselves. As they go around, all Chris can think, is how pretty and cool the girl from Montana is, and for a moment, she pictures herself kissing the girl, but she shakes it off and pretends it didn't happen. In denial about her daydream, Chris can only think that she really wants to be Beth's friend and get to know her.

Unfortunately, Beth wants nothing to do with her. Throughout orientation every time Chris tries to strike up a conversation, or enter one that Beth is already involved in, Beth quickly forces her out of it. At some point, Beth mentions to their hall that she loves softball, and asks if anyone will play with her. While the rest of the girls look at her like she's insane, Chris volunteers immediately, only to be rebuffed again. In fact, Beth doesn't even speak to Chris until the end of the week, when Chris steps in to stop her own roommate from teasing Beth, whose arachnophobia has sent her into an asthma attack.

Slowly but surely, Beth and Chris are forced into the same situations, and find they have a lot in common. They bond over obscure science fiction and fantasy, and start watching Doctor Who every night. By the time spring rolls around, they are best friends, and Chris finds she is completely in love with Beth. It is only then that they find out that there is no softball team at Bryn Mawr, and Haverford's team won't let them join. They vow to start a team next year, and practice in gym class throughout the spring. As it turns out, playing with Beth is intense. She throws a softball harder than most boys Chris knows throw a baseball, and a softball is much harder to throw. Chris is impressed, and thinks that maybe softball isn't quite as wimpy as she thought. Beth helps her improve her throwing, and Chris just enjoys the time they spend together playing.

Meanwhile, Eric has gone off to Haverford, and is not fairing very well in social interactions. He spends all his time writing the newspaper, and finally realizes that the only friend he still talks to is Chris. He suddenly realizes that he has really liked her all along- he just doesn't know how to go about expressing it. In addition, he sees the friendship between her and Beth and is extremely jealous.

In the fall, Chris and Beth go to start a softball team, only to find that the school does not have the funds to pay a coach. Beth is disheartened, but Chris thinks on it and decides to give up on playing to become a volunteer coach for the team. She knows that Beth wants to play, and she wants to make her happy. Further, what she really wants is to play baseball, and since this is softball, she decides it isn't a big sacrifice. She and Beth still practice together for fun, and since she hasn't been serious about sports in years, that's all that really matters to her.

The two manage to put together a team in time to enter the local college division in the spring. Beth is the star pitcher, and the other players are pretty good too, but no one knows how things will go without a professional coach. All of Chris' coaching experience comes from helping her dad as a child, and she finds that the decisions she has to make about who plays when and where are harder than she thought they would be. Still, the team starts the season and play pretty well. The Haverford softball team, however, is angry about the new rivals, and vows to crush the Bryn Mawr team to show once and for all why Bryn Mawr girls weren't allowed to play on their own.

In the meantime, Eric comes to every game, cheering them on, and trying to get Chris's attention. She, however, is no long interested, and wonders endlessly how to handle her massive crush on her best friend, particularly now that she is also her coach. The other girls on the team, however, notice the infatuation, and many encourage Chris to tell Beth how she feels.

At last the Haverford game arrives. The stands are full, and the air is tense. The two teams are scoreless going into the 7th inning, and Beth has just pitched a fastball when suddenly the batter hits the ball in a line drive back at her. She doesn't have time to duck, and although she catches the ball, its force drives her glove into her chest and knocks her over. Chris calls a time out and asks if she's okay. Beth is too out of breath to speak, but she nods, so Chris leaves her in. After another pitch or two however, it is clear that she is having a very severe asthma attack. Chris calls another time out and pulls Beth, putting in a pitcher with far less skill. Beth returns to the bench furious, and uses her inhaler. Bryn Mawr wins the game, but Beth can't understand why Chris pulled her from the mound, even though the ongoing asthma attack causes her to spend the night in the health center.

Chris panics about Beth all night and doesn't sleep. When Beth gets home in the morning, Chris goes to visit her, only to have the door slammed in her face. Unwilling to leave, she tries to talk to Beth through the door. Eventually Beth opens the door, in tears, and demands to know why Chris pulled her, rather than letting her prove herself against the team that had rejected her. Chris tries to explain that she was scared for her when she wasn't breathing, but when Beth won't take that for an answer, Chris declares her feelings for Beth and tells her she doesn't think she could live with out her. She explains that when she saw Beth struggling to breathe, she ceased to be her coach, and returned to her role as friend and admirer, and her first priority was to get her off the field. Beth says she forgives her, but that she needs to get some more sleep, and closes the door without another word.

Meanwhile, Eric, fed up with all of it, e-mails Beth a challenge: The Haverford Baseball team against the Bryn Mawr Softball team in a softball game to eight innings. If Bryn Mawr wins, Beth must promise to stay away from Chris, but if Haverford wins, Eric will give up his overtures to win her. Beth decides not to tell Chris about the game, and proceeds to avoid her for the following week as she and the softball team secretly practice.

When the day of the game comes, Chris has gotten up her courage to force the issue of talking to Beth about things. She starts explaining that she wants to be friends in spite of the conflict over softball and in spite of her feelings for the pitcher, when Beth cuts her off and kisses her. She explains that freshman year when she wouldn't talk, it was because she had a crush on Chris, but having never had any real social interactions, she didn't know how to deal with it. It wasn't until Chris tried to be her friend that she had any idea even how to talk to her. She then explains about the game that afternoon and its conditions, and asks Chris to come out and support the team, as their coach. She says that Chris was right to pull her, and that the team really depends on her to make the tough decisions. She agrees to help, and they go off to the game.

The game is close the entire way through, but as they reach the 8th inning, and Beth's arm is looking tired. At the bottom of the inning, Haverford is down one run, there are two outs, the bases are loaded, and Eric is up to bat. Chris calls a time out and runs out to the mound to talk to Beth. She asks if she can handle it, and Beth says she can, and assures her that this is a battle she needs to fight. Chris agrees to leave her in, and returns to the bench. Beth pitches two strikes, but the third is a fastball, straight down the middle, which Eric hits in a line drive back at her. Beth puts her hand behind her glove to catch it this time, and isn't knocked over. Eric is out, the game is over, and Bryn Mawr has won. Chris runs out and hugs Beth, as the other team leaves the field.

Flash to a scene of graduation day, where Beth and Chris are walking along the back of Goodhart. When they reach the balcony in the middle of the stairs, Beth gives Chris a ring, and they share a romantic kiss. This, of course, implies Happily Ever After.

Full Name:  Kendra Hayde
Username:  khayde@brynmawr.edu
Title:  Characteristics of Women's Sports Films and Chick Flicks
Date:  2005-12-09 15:05:20
Message Id:  17364
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

Student Papers

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Throughout the course of this class, we have discussed and elaborated upon several times the qualities of both the genres of chick flicks and women's sports films with relation to each other and separately. While the two types of films do share similar characteristics, as seen through the viewing of our particular six movies, there are some differences in depiction that categorize these films in either genre specifically, rather than just all six films being of the same group of films in general.

Within both women's sport films and chick flicks, there is always at least one female protagonist who leads the way in the film. She is the main character of the central plot of the film and is generally on-screen the most out of any characters. She is usually very easy for the viewing audience, typically filled with women, to identify with, though not in all cases-- as seen in "Pretty Woman". Sometimes the viewing audience may not even like the main woman in the film, as seen somewhat in "Something's Gotta Give", in my opinion, but they are still the central character used to represent women everywhere.

Additionally, the female protagonist(s) of women's sports films and chick flicks are typically underdogs of some sort, either in their sport, or in their life- most usually with regards to love in both types of films. They usually have the support of some group of family members or friends in order for them to overcome their individual hardships. These friends or family typically share some similar characteristics and/or flaws with the main woman, but also have other certain characteristics that would allow them to balance out their relationship to help the protagonist succeed.

In almost every film with the main character as a woman, women's sport film, chick flick, or not, there is also a male lead (or two, as in "Bridget Jones's Diary) who is quite handsome and the object of desire and affection of the female protagonist. Sometimes this male is also portrayed as an antagonist for a portion of the film, in order for the woman to fall further in love with him, as seen with Hugh Grant's and Colin Firth's characters in "Bridget Jones's Diary" and Q in "Love & Basketball".

There are, however, some differences between women's sports films and chick flicks, as seen by the films we have watched in this course. Typically, women's sports films focus more on the support of friends to succeed-- usually in a team setting like in "A League of Their Own", "Bend It Like Beckham", and "Love & Basketball", whereas chick flicks have their main character often times resolving things of their own accord and due to their personal introspection, like in "Bridget Jones's Diary" (her friends did not help her out too much in this film in achieving the final conclusion).

Chick flicks generally focus on the problems of the main woman due to her own personal flaws in her character, usually shown by the fact that she is neurotic. The fictional character Bridget Jones and most of the characters in "Something's Gotta Give" exhibit this trait quite well. These issues could also be manifested through the wrong choices the woman has made in her life-- like with Vivian deciding to be a prostitute in "Pretty Woman".

In women's sports films, however, the problem is usually that the woman, who also happens to be an athlete, is not accepted as such, and many other stereotypes surrounding female athletes start to surround them, such as being a lesbian. The problem lies with her accepting that she is going to be prejudged, and that others have difficulties with accepting her as she is. These problems are not really as easily remedied, in my opinion, as those in chick flicks.

The qualities contained within women's sports films and chick flicks are sometimes shared, sometimes not, and are used to draw the viewers in to the film. These qualities of films are usually much more exaggerated than how most women and real life manifest them, but with this exaggeration comes sympathization by the viewers, which aids these women's sports films and chick flicks in helping the everyday women how love them to solve the problems in their own everyday lives.

Full Name:  Bareara Sullivan
Username:  blsulliv@brynmawr.edu
Title:  Chick Flicks and Women in Sports Film
Date:  2005-12-09 19:23:42
Message Id:  17366
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

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Bayh Sullivan
December 2005
Women and Sports Film
Final Essay

Over the course of the semester, we have viewed six movies, all with a female target audience, which have dealt with varying themes pertaining to women, romance, and athletics. We have effectively categorized three of these movies as chick flicks, and three as representatives of women in sports film. We have outlined necessary criteria for the viewing of these movies as a way to critically juxtapose them and discuss the social functions and merits of each genre. There have been quite a few characteristics that have overlapped, as well as several that are distinct to each type. In the end, we concluded that, while chick flicks serve particularly as modes of entertainment, sports films that feature women are a particularly valid form of social commentary that portray superior examples of struggles and triumphs inherent to the female experience.

Two of the chick flicks that we viewed in class are Bridget Jones' Diary and Pretty Woman. Both are prototypes of the genre. In Bridget Jones' Diary, Bridget navigates two romantic relationships, one with Daniel Cleaver and one with Marc Darcy. The movie uses light humor to pilot the resolution of the film toward a happy ending in which Bridget ends up with Marc, who loves her just the way she is. Much like the fairytales that all of us were brought up reading and watching, this film is resolved when the male hero prevails over the obstacles set in his path in order to win the love of the fair maiden, and the female heroin prevails over the evil circumstances that prevented her from consummating her love for the prince at the beginning of the story. Marc Darcy must get past his judgmental inclinations, his engagement to another woman, and his miscommunication with Bridget concerning Daniel Cleaver before he is able to express how he feels to Bridget. Bridget, on the other hand, must embrace herself as a woman worthy of being in a fulfilling relationship, and she must also get over the wily ways of Daniel to realize that the reindeer sweater wearing, slightly awkward Mr. Darcy is actually the perfect compliment to her Bridget's internal Elizabeth Bennet.

All of this is realized through a series of progressively hysterical interactions, not the least of which is the ridiculous fight that occurs between Daniel and Marc in the restaurant across the street from Bridget's house. The movie's aim is to entertain and emulate the time-tested fairytale romance. In the end, both Bridget and Marc slay their respective dragons in order to end up together. Bridget Jones' Diary doe not, however, suppose to treat social issues at large, such as race, sexual orientation, or class. It remains in the realm of exploring stereotypical, gender relations between middle class, heterosexual adults. For us, the result is an entertaining chick flick that reinforces our romantic expectations and daydreams. In other words, it is the epitome of the chick flick.

We viewed A League of Their Own in the alternative lens of the women in sports film genre. We expected for this film to deal with triumph and victory, to treat any of the social issues around gender, sexual orientation, class, or race, and we expected to see the characters mature, successfully navigate adversity and personal relationships, and achieve some level of happiness. According to these criteria, A League of Their Own is the epitome of the women in sports film genre in the same way that Bridget Jones' Diary is the epitome of the chick flick.

Gender and sexual orientation are dealt with in the fact that the league is a woman's league, and in the quote that Doris offers, "I always felt like I was a weird girl, or a strange girl, just 'cause I like to play." Class is dealt with when the wealth of Mr. Harvey and his consequent control over the league is juxtaposed to relative lack of control that the players have over their fates and their return to their previous, less respectable players of employment. For example, Mae begins to cry when she discovers the league may be closed down, and is emphatic that she cannot and will not return to being a taxi dancer. Race is dealt with in the very brief scene when the black woman throws the ball, further than any of the members of the actual team could, over Dottie's head to Helen.

Also, it is clear that the main character, Dottie, matures, overcomes adversity, and finds happiness, in the typical progression of a women's sports film. She grows up enough to recognize how important baseball is to her personality, and she puts the rest of her life goals momentarily on hold in order to play in the World Series. She overcomes the adversity of being wrongfully accused of asking to have Kit traded to Racine when she drops the ball at the end of the game in order to make sure her sister was equally able to mature and find happiness, and to be victorious and triumphant, though not necessarily because she won the game. This act allows both of them to epitomize characters in women's sports film because they both follow the outlined character progression and self-actualization that is paramount to categorize this film as a women's sports film.

In conclusion, while chick flicks and women's sports film exhibit some overlapping characteristics, they are more different than similar. They both cater to a female target audience, but women's sports films are more socially pervasive, and they treat not only the fairytale, but they explore themes of personal exploration and conquest, and remain socially critical and relevant.

Full Name:  Devon Montgomery
Username:  dmontgom@brynmawr.edu
Title:  Films Characteristics
Date:  2005-12-10 01:08:42
Message Id:  17367
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

Student Papers

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What are the 'essential' characteristics of a CF? Of a SF? How are these played out in the films we watched?

Over the course of the semester we have been discovering the differences and similarities of Women Sport Films and 'Chick Flicks'. We have discovered that each type of film has distinguishing characteristics. Following is a list of those characteristics and how they are displayed in the films we studied this semester.
While 'Chick Flicks' seem to have gotten a bad wrap. Is it so wrong that we might want to see some romance on the big screen instead of people being cut in half and blow to pieces? Yes they might be a little cookie cutter but it's the good ones that find a way to be creative with the shapes. One of the classic characteristics is the romantic interest. This usually involves a lonely woman looking for love. There is usually a handsome man who the woman is interested in but might be slightly inaccessible.
The next characteristic is the chase. The meat of a chick flick is the way in which the man and the woman go about finding each other and forming a relationship. It's the relationship that's the end game, and one of the other classic characteristics of the 'Chick Flick' is the fact that the lead man and lead woman some how end up together and in love at the end. While these might not be all of the characteristics of a 'Chick Flick' I feel that they are the essential qualities that help to shape most 'Chick Flicks'.
Bridget Jones Diary (BJD), Pretty Woman (PW) and Something's Gotta Give (SGG) are all what might be considered 'Chick Flicks'. Each one has a female lead looking for love, and each one ends up with a happy ending. However, each one of these films takes the classic characteristics of this type of films and puts a different spin on it to create a different story that's fun to watch and is very moving.
Out of the three BJD is probably the most traditional out of the three. However, through the use of witty humor and the narration of a diary this story is a 20th Century updated version of a 'Chick Flick'. Bridget is a lonely single woman looking for love. Through some hilarious twists and turns she ends up in love with Mr. Darcy. In the end they realize that they love each other and all ends happily.
Pretty Woman takes a different stance on this type of story. The woman here is not a typical woman looking for love. Instead she is a strong woman, who has to make her living by pretending to love others. The male lead here is also, not the typical man looking for love, but a hard-assed businessman who is bad at relationships. These two are not thrown together for any romantic purpose, but end up coming together when they realize that there is more than business between them. The story of boy meets girl is turned upside down in PW when these two end up together and happy at the end.
SGG takes yet another view on this story. While there is still a lead man and a lead woman, there is another element that makes this story different. The element of age is added in not only to see a love story of two older people, but also to see how those people interact romantically with a younger generation.
Only the other side, there are Sport films, that too have similar elements. Some classical elements of a Women's Sport Film, are the sense of conflict/ odds that need to be beaten. The important element is that idea that a woman will never be as good as a man, and the need to win at the end.
A League of Their Own is a classic example of how women needed to prove themselves as worthy opponents. Both Dottie and Kit not only need to prove that they could play the game of baseball, but they also had to prove their worth to themselves.
Bend it Like Beckham take amore cultural view of the sport film. Not only do the girls have to battle to prove their good athletes, but jess had to battle against her culture for the ability to play.
In For love and Basketball, women already are playing basketball but the new twist on the story is how to balance the stigma of how man and women play the game differently and how to love and play at the same time.
I feel that each of these films has the characteristics of their films groups. However, each one of these films also attempt to put a new spin on those characteristics in order to make a more memorable film.

Full Name:  Gwenyth Cavin
Username:  gcavin@brynmawr.edu
Title:  Common attributes of CFs and WSFs
Date:  2005-12-11 01:14:10
Message Id:  17372
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

Student Papers

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Both chick flicks and sports films have a distinct set of attributes that are common to each type of movie. Although there are probably hundreds of motifs that one may pick up when watching these kinds of movies, this paper will only be addressing the following attributes in the interests of time. Attractive men, relationship dilemmas, and love overcoming all odds are common themes in most chick flicks. Incidentally, every example of a chick flick also follows the same basic pattern: girl and boy meet, have a falling out, reconcile, and presumably, live happily ever after. This pattern will also be examined along with these other attributes. On the other hand, sports films have a very different set of common motifs that include: improvement of athletic ability, being the underdog, and the winning moment. Although these two types of films are very different, overcoming the odds and a happy ending seems to be what they have in common. Perhaps this is because, when people choose to watch these types of films, they get pleasure from seeing the protagonists succeed in the end, and even more so, because they did so under adverse conditions.

In the many different chick flicks we have watched in class, one thing that tied them all together was attractive men. Colin Firth and Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones Diary, Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, and Jack Nicholson and Keanu Reeves (?) in Something's Gotta Give all fill this role. They are meant to be the objects of the viewer's desire, which somehow places them in the movie, making the whole experience more real. Employing a good-looking leading man also keeps the audience interested in the film, even if it is monotonous, repetitive, or otherwise uninteresting.

Relationship dilemmas are the heart and soul of every chick flick. In order for the viewer to fully appreciate the character's coming together in the end, they must too witness the hardships that tore them apart. Most of the time, the dilemma involves one of the characters being emotionally unavailable, for a number of reasons. This theme has played out in every chick flick we've watched: Bridget deals with two men who, during parts, are unavailable because they are having relationships with other women, Vivian can not make it work with Edward because he is emotionally distant with women, in general, and Erica can not form a relationship with Harry because he does not make himself available to older women. Interestingly, in the movies we have seen, the problems are typically the man's fault (except perhaps for Pretty Woman – Vivian being a hooker probably contributed to the relationship strife). This may be because, as the title implies, these films cater to a mostly female audience, which would probably not respond well to negative portrayals of fellow females.

Love overcoming all odds is another related theme common to chick flicks. When love blossoms even under the most adverse conditions shows the remarkable power of the emotion. Pretty Woman may be our best example of this theme. Vivian, an uneducated, uncultured street-walker manages to attract, fall in love with, and presumably marry Edward, the wealthy founder and owner of Lewis Enterprises, a multi-billion-dollar business. When women watch movies like this, it makes them think that love can happen anytime, anywhere, between any two people, no matter how different. This, I am sure, gives a lot of lonely women comfort in seeing and hope that they, too, may one day fall in love with the man of their dreams, even if he is a millionaire, and they are but a humble hooker.

Chick flicks also follow the same basic pattern: the couple meets and is initially attracted to each other, experiences the relationship dilemma, reconciles, and lives happily ever after. Bridget Jones's Diary shows this pattern clearly. Bridget meets Mark Darcy and is attracted to him (despite a rough start), then is told he slept with Daniel's fiancé and is in a relationship with Natasha, two dilemmas that are reconciled towards the end, and in the final scene, realizes her love for him and they end up together. This movie also is a good example of the many dilemmas that can befall a relationship in a movie including infidelities, lies, inability to commit, and even boredom.

Sports films have a very different set of common themes including improvement of athletic ability, the underdog, and the winning moment. Sports films are somewhat the same as chick flicks because, at the most basic level, they both show a person or team who achieves in either love or athletic victory, despite difficult and adverse circumstances. I think the two differ most considerably in the endings. In sports films, the protagonist(s) does not necessarily have to win the final game to show that they have achieved athletic success – growing as an athlete can be considered a victory in itself. However, in chick flicks, if the protagonist does not end up with the leading man, it is generally considered a failure.

Improvement of ability is the most important and most common feature of every sports film. Usually improvement deals with the protagonist's athletic ability, but growing as a person can also occur. Of course an athlete will naturally improve with practice, so this is a theme which is evident is almost all sports films, although it may not be the central theme. In A League of Their Own, Kit drastically improves her athletic ability as she moves out of her isolated world and in to the company of other women athletes. An example of a non-athletic improvement in a sports film is in Love and Basketball where Monica overcomes her arrogant winning attitude and learns to be an equal player of a team instead of a superstar.

The underdog is another common theme of sports films. The protagonist or his/her team is always unfavored for one reason or another. Like a chick flick, making huge obstacles that the protagonist has to overcome, makes victory that much sweeter in the end. In Bend it Like Beckham, becoming a female soccer star may seem like a feat in itself, but being of a minority ethnicity who has to deal with a controlling family with traditional religious and culture values on top of that, makes the movie all the more fantastic. All of the women in A League of Their Own are underdogs simply because they are women competing in a man's sport and both Monica and Q in Love and Basketball can be considered underdogs, for a number of different reasons.

Finally, the winning moment is present at the final scenes of any sports movie. This is the big pay-off for the viewer, who can finally watch their protagonist succeed after all the trials and tribulations they were put through earlier in the movie. It usually involves a ninth-inning homer, a last-second basket or goal, or some kind of amazing save (or folly). By far, the best example of this is the final moments of A Leauge of Their Own, where Dotty drops the ball and Kit's team wins.

It is evident that both chick flicks and sports films employ a special set of themes in order to interest and satisfy their audiences. In a chick flick these attributes are attractive men, relationship strife, and love overcoming all odds. Sports films use the themes of improvement, the underdog, and the final winning moment to excite the viewer. All films must set up a situation, build drama, and have an ending that satisfies the viewer and these two sets of attributes are some of the ways in which chick flicks and sports films accomplish this.

Full Name:  Claire Collins
Username:  ccollins@brynmawr.edu
Title:  The Boy-Roses: A Movie in 2015
Date:  2005-12-14 08:46:09
Message Id:  17393
Paper Text:
Women, Sport, and Film - Fall 2005

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I am confused, nonplussed, perplexed, flummoxed, and other such words. My movie, The Boy-Roses, is close to becoming a commercial success. There is no Oscar in independent filmmaking, no major marketing campaigns, or red carpet premieres. There is the festival circuit, and special screenings where theaters or producers think that the film will resonate. 'Resonate'. That means, 'make some money'. In my case, we're not just making money, we're making a profit. I am a filmmaker, I have to know both the language of my art and my business. And I do know my business, and my business has no business doing as much business as it has been doing.
I don't know why the true story that I cared so much about is resonating with anybody other than basketball fanatics and Bostonians. The Times called it the "surprise feel-good movie of the year", Newsweek called it the "chick flick/sports movie crossover that is bringing both men and women into the theater" and it has been drawing crowds in major cities all over the country. This movie is not a 'feel-good' movie. It is a movie about gender politics, the education crisis in inner cities, and basketball.
What was that? The audience can decide what makes them feel good? Alright. Listen to the story. I respect your ability to decide for yourself.
The story focuses on Elaine, a young female graduate of UConn who played for the Huskies but not as a starter. She returns to her all-girls high school to help coach the returning state championship team. Our story gets going with the education crisis that hit Boston several years ago. Over-crowding in the public schools and the lack of funds for either expansion or building another school forced the school board to get extremely creative. At the same time, several parochial schools in Boston, mostly Catholic, began to fail owing to lack of funds. These schools eventually turned themselves over to the state, who decided to send the overflow from the inner city to these private, parochial schools on the outskirts of Boston. Several inner city kids are sent to Assumption High School, now named Edward M. Kennedy High School. Elaine learns that although she was hired to be an assistant coach for the girls, she will be teaching the new boys' team, many of whom resent the identity of the school as single sex.
The boys team is formed, dismayed that the Assumption girl's team is returning four starters of a State Championship Team. The girls' team gets the veteran male coach, while the boys get his younger female assistant as their head coach. They are not considered the heroes of the school and the only people who come to the games are their families. Furthermore, the mascot of the school is the Rose, a holdover from the parochial days when the Rose was the symbol of the Virgin, and they are named the Boy-Roses. The newly created Boy-Roses are rankled by what they see as discriminatory and humiliating treatment. They don't trust Elaine at all, and view her coaching style as weak and girly. Elaine considers quiting or asking to go back to coaching the girls.
The turning point of the movie is when the Boy-Roses play the old brother school of Kennedy High, St. Paul's Crusaders, and their inability to trust Elaine and control their emotions costs them a humiliating defeat. However, when the boys look into the bleachers they see the several members of the girls' championship team watching them. After the game, the Meghan, the girls' captain, takes Kenny, who is the captain of the boy's team, out and tries discussing basketball. Up until this moment, the girl's team has been seen as an outside unit, mildly hostile towards the boys, and none of the Boy-Roses have even had a conversation with them.
During the course of the discussion, it is revealed to Kenny and the audience what Elaine has been trying to communicate to her team, that it is not the girls who are discriminating against the boys, but rather the boys who are prejudiced against the girls. So afraid of being labeled as girly or gay, they have pushed away any involvement in school activities and traditions. The Boy-Roses could have been an important part of Kennedy High but they chose to keep to themselves. Kenny responds that it is only natural when people are so different and new, that groups form based on race, gender, and class. And some of the girls haven't been as welcoming to the boys as Meghan is making them out to be. Meghan herself, he points out, fought for a long time to keep the school single sex. Meghan says that she was scared too. She was afraid that her team would be forced to play second place to the boys team, and that their identity as a touch bunch of chicks would be compromised. Elaine that she is thinking about quitting because they boys won't work with her. The three come to an agreement, to try and put aside their prejudices.
This scene ushers in a period of cooperation between the two teams, and a blossoming romance between Kenny and the older Meghan. The Boy-Roses are inducted into the Assumption Sisters Club, and the two teams raise money for a "Battle of the Sexes" Dance together. Elaine hones her skills as a coach, finding that she is a smarter coach than the man in charge of the girls' team, coach is actually better than the girls' coach, commodate the players' personalities into their game. This comes to the attention of the girls' coach and he starts to move the departmental politics against her. The Boy-Roses begin to win games and goes onto meet the Crusaders in the Final.
But the week before the Final, Kenny quits the team. At first Elaine thinks this is because Meghan and Kenny's relationship has fallen apart because Kenny learns that Meghan's family doesn't approve of her dating an African American, liking her old boyfriend, a player on the Crusaders, better. She visits Kenny at home and discovers that Kenny's friends from home also resent his success at Kennedy High and Kenny lets the insults about being part of a girls' school get to him. The final nail in the Boy Roses is the announcement that several rich benefactresses have raised the funds to buy the school back from the state and rename it Assumption and make it an all-girls school again.
Elaine goes house to house and convinces each of her players to come back and give the final their all. She tells them that she wants to be fired as a champion, not leave as a quitter. The Boy-Roses come from behind and narrowly defeat the Crusaders. The girls win the state championship, and make sure that the school will never forget the year that it was co-ed. Elaine is let go, because there is 'no room' for her and she ends up coaching basketball at Kenny's inner city school. The movie ends with Meghan and Kenny playing in a pick-up game at Elaine's new school, hinting strongly that they will get back together. Although the society is not ready for the inter-racial, inter-gender, and inter-class interaction that the Boy-Roses hinted at, our characters have moved closer together and gained confidence.

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