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Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities

Remote Ready Biology Learning Activities has 50 remote-ready activities, which work for either your classroom or remote teaching.

Women Sport and Film - Spring 2005 Forum

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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Week 1 Dare To Compete
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-01-28 09:58:56
Link to this Comment: 12287

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?

Getting the ball rolling
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-01-30 16:02:33
Link to this Comment: 12331

Hi ladies! Hope you've all had a good weekend. I couldn't get the color thing to work, but I'll keep trying for next time. Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the film from this week:

As we talked about in class, women are still struggling for equity in sports, especially with equal pay and equal media coverage. Lack of media attention seems to be hurting the WNBA; the league certainly doesn't lack the talent but it's hard to get people to notice this when the television doesn't show the games as much and pushes its season into the summer.

I didn't realize how the women-in-sports movement coincided with the women's right movement overall. It was great to see Billie Jean (our *inspiration* for our group name....) able to empower so many women and help the movement forward. Although I feel horribly for her that she was under all that pressure; I wonder what would have happened if the game had gone differently on that day?

Sports has been influenced by--and influences--society's concept of femininity. Thanks to some of the role models we have in sports today (and in years past), women can be muscular or 'athletic' and still be feminine. Of course, women in sports are not free of negative stereotypes. There are still questions of female athletes sexuality in the media. Even at Bryn Mawr, we have stereotypes of certain sports teams which are not exactly positive.

Rock on B.J. Queens.

BJ Queens Rock!
Name: eoliver@br
Date: 2005-01-30 20:49:03
Link to this Comment: 12352

1. I don't think that the black congresswoman in the film would have been able to stand up and say that she has been oppressed more as a woman than as a black individual if sports hadn't come such a long way. I don't think we would have such confident women now a days if we hadn't had Title IX and strong women who fought for women in sports. Social norms have influenced the role of women in sports by giving women something to fight against. If there were no barriers, we wouldn't have to fight so hard to get rights. In struggle, people can do amazing things. It's like when someone waits until the last moment to write a paper -- sometimes it comes out amazing because of the pressure. Women have had a lot of pressure on them. Women are no longer viewed (by most) as inferior to men and BILLIE JEAN KING (YEAH GO BILLIE!) helped to show that.

2. There are so many barriers that still challenge women in sports. They exist for too many reasons to name them all. For one, when we look at women in sports, we still objectify them. Women should be seen as atheletes and not symbols of sex or feminity (or lack there of). In class on Thursday it really bothered me to hear my fellow students talking about how the Babe wasn't as pretty anymore. I agree, but why did it even need to be brought up? Someone tried to make a cute statement about how "Michael Jordan is cute too", but that's all it is -- cute. And, it wasn't even that cute. You don't think of MJ as a man first or as a sexual object first. He is a baseball player. Yes, there are a few exceptions like Derek Jeter and Normar Garciapara, but they are few and in the world of women's sports they are many. If we can't, as women, get past how women athlete's look and whether or not they're changing their sexuality to make the masses happy, then women atheletes will be women forever and athletes never. You don't call men "men athletes" usually, but you do call women "women athletes". It's stupid that word choice can dictate how stereotypes progress, but they can ... Changing one little word could change a lot ...

Topic 1 Post 1
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-01-31 01:33:06
Link to this Comment: 12374

1. Women have used their achievements in the filed of sports to gain social recognition. Women's attempt to participate in all of the sports events created for men, was used as a statement of women's ability to be competitive in fields previously considered only fit for men. At the same time, women's emerging role in society and their involvement in social life and the labor market, has been a trigger for the equal treatment of women in sports. Therefore, the breakdown of social norms restricting women to the home has always gone hand-in-hand with women's recognition as athletes.

2. Even though the legal framework grants women equal rights in the sports, there are still de facto restrictions that prevent women from truly being on equal grounds with men. The female athlete is still very much sexualized by the media. There is also a stigma in society about female athlete's sexuality. Moreover, due to the generally lower popularity of female sports, they tend to be less promoted in the media. This has financial consequences for athletes as well as for teams preventing them from focusing exclusively on their performance.

Dare- Post One
Name: Maggie Jen
Date: 2005-01-31 14:53:02
Link to this Comment: 12384

1. I think that as women were allowed to show themselves as atheltes- both succeeding and failing, it became more of a norm for society to see women as people in other aspects of life. I was really struck by the comment regarding the exhausted woman in the first Olymipic marathon- that women were "allowed" to be shown exhausted proved how far women had come in society. I think that had the history of women in sports been just a history of successes, then it wouldn't have been so powerful. That their history, like any other, is a history of both triumphs and failures, helps people see these atheletes as women, and as people. Also, I felt like the comments the movie made about women of color in sports were really interesting. While it was still "inappropriate" for white women to compete, black women were competing and excelling in sports. I also think it's interesting because historically, women of color often felt excluded in the women's lib movement of the 60s and 70s. In the movie a (white) woman comented that women were finally able to participate in track in field in the 80s (I think, I can't remeber exactly when it was...) when in fact black women had been running and succeeding for years. So I think the duality of the those movements is also pretty interesting.

2. I think some of the challenges women in sports still face include the fact that they have had such a slow start. I think that our generation is really one of the first generations where girls have had equal opportunities in school sports. Since boys have had this advantage for so long, I think it's a lot harder for women. For example, it's perfectly fine for a little boy to want to be a baseball (or whatever) player when he grows up but it still seems unrealistic for a little girl to want to be a professional basketball player. I think that since our parent's generation weren't provided with all the opportunities we were, it's still hard for them to see their "little girls" as atheletes. I also think that while it's ok for younger girls to participate in sports, as we grow we're expected to have a more "realistic/grounded" idea of what we're going to do with our lives. I also think the sexuality boundaries is still a big deal. While men aren't asked about their sexuality, women are. (Is it because playing sports is "masculine"?) I think women atheletes are also facing a growing stigma from other women. We're so paralyzed by our own definitions of appropriateness and feminity, that I think sometimes women turn on other women. I also feel like women in today's society are trying to prove themselves in so many different arenas, that it's hard to really focus on one thing (like athletics) and really fight for it.

Week 1, Post 1
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-01-31 21:13:48
Link to this Comment: 12403

1. I think that when women saw proof that they could succeed in sports - a formerly male arena - they realized what they had been missing, and perhaps started to question other things that had been previously denied to them, such as the right to vote, have a career, etc., etc. Social norms have obviously influenced the role of women in sport -- at the beginning of the 20th century for example, it would have been close to impossible for a woman to participate in athletics because it was thought that such activity would have rendered her unable to reproduce. Now, social norms tell us that that strong, athletic bodies are beautiful bodies...therefore, going to the gym or participating in a sport is now considered to be a very good thing.

2. Perhaps it's more acceptable now for a woman (or a girl) to be athletic, but I think it's more for cosmetic/aesthetic reasons than to actually *be* an athlete. If you look at women's fitness/health magazines, they always have articles that address concerns like, "How do I work out becoming all bulky?" or "What you need to look great after working up a sweat." (that last little headline is actually from the February '05 issue of Shape.) There is still a pretty big emphasis on maintaining physical feminity while being muscular and aggressive. Sure, women these days don't mind being athletic, or being athletes...but if being an athlete meant sacrificing your femininity or slim shape, I don't think there are many women who'd be willing to be athletes.

Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-02 21:37:20
Link to this Comment: 12447

So it's pretty true what Liz said. We totally don't say "male athelete" while for women the word athelete is always prefixed with "female" or "woman" So I guess that change should start with us. If we just called all athletes athletes, maybe that would help. Also, do you think it's just the lack of media coverage? I mean, I'm not really sure if they showed WNBA games (or fill in the blank) if people would watch it. Actually, people watch all sorts of crap so I think people would watch it. (Not calling the WNBA crap, I'm just saying) I was also thinking about the whole "cuteness" thing which is serious. And I think it affects women in all parts of society, not just sports.

Appearance, etc.
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-02 22:38:55
Link to this Comment: 12454

Appearance absolutely has a lot to do with the way women in sports are still perceived. In class, someone brought up the beach volleyball in the Olympics this summer--it was on all the time and pretty popular, especially with men. Does this have anything to do with the way the women looked/were dressed? Probably, since women's weightlifting got next to nothing in terms of airtime. Does the general public not support the American women who were competing in that event as much as the women in the beach volleyball because the weightlifters don't meet our ideals of femininity?

Thanks for sharing those headlines on some of today's women's fitness magazines, Joanna. Even though we might not believe women's reproductive systems are compromised by athletics anymore, there are still clear concerns that women have about being an athlete AND being a woman in today's society.

A thing about the WNBA
Date: 2005-02-02 23:42:39
Link to this Comment: 12457

I was thinking that there might be a good reason for the poor performance of the wnba. no, women dont' suck at basketball. but, when you got to a women's bball game you don't expect to see them jumping into the crowd and throwing punches. you don't expect brwals that clear the benches. you don't expect intense celebrity fueds ... you expect taht when someone falls from one team someone from another team will help them out. they shake hands at the end of games and the only physical violence i can remember happened during the first season between the amazing Jamila Wideman and the horriblly mean Nancy Liberman-Kliene ... Nancy strangled my Jamila! Um, Jamila. (Shes' my all time favorite player ... ) And, that was it! I cannot remember anything else. Yes, some high school games have had violence that I can remember but those events occur in inner cities where the violence has little to do w/ what goes on on the court. Women play a different game. It's not a bad different I don't think. Personally, I always offered a hand to a player from another team and I usually got one from them unless I was beating them too badly ;). Women are different than men and I think that it sadly has negatively affected the crowds seen at WNBA games. People can bring their family on a Saturday afternoon to a WNBA game and expect a well-played game with polite people who are typically well-educated. You cannot expect the same from a men's game I don't think. And, one reason for the ticket prices being so low: People DO bring their families which is somewhat unlike nighttime mens' game and some weekend mens' games. People cannot afford to bring huge families to these games if the tickets are priced like the men's games are. It is more of a family environment at WNBA games ... These are just a few thoughts.

Name: liz
Date: 2005-02-02 23:43:10
Link to this Comment: 12458

that above was f/ me :)

Post 2: Response
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-02-03 04:00:56
Link to this Comment: 12461

On the talk of more media coverage for women's sports, etc...I really don't think that that's the answer to it. I just don't think that there's that much interest in watching women's sports. It's sad, but true. I don't think that the majority of men are that enthusiastic about women's sports (unless it's a sport where a particular athlete looks "hot")...and I really don't believe that most American women are interested in watching sports. And although I'm embarassed to admit, I must say that I'm one of those women. That isn't to say that if WNBA games suddenly start getting lots of exposure I won't watch a game or two - because I would, since I think it's nice to show support - but I really am not interested in watching sports. Maybe it's social conditioning...who knows? But basically what I'm trying to say is that there really isn't any clear solution for solving this whole problem, and I don't think it's likely that we'll figure anything out anytime soon.

WK 2 Personal Best
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-02-03 13:24:29
Link to this Comment: 12482

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?

Response Week 1
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-02-03 17:25:10
Link to this Comment: 12494

I thought the comment about how black women were at the forefronts of women's advancement in sports was prety important. It is ironic that discrimination, and their unequal treatment actaully resulted in something positive for them.
I also thought that the comment about women being critical of other women was also very true. It seems like there is a lot more spite and competition among women than among men. Sometimes women's liberation and advancement is hindered not only by men but also by other women's narrowmindedness.

Week 1
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-03 22:25:10
Link to this Comment: 12501

Question 1. The link between societal norms and sports is a two-way street; societal norms influence the role of women in sports just as much as these norms are themselves are influenced by women in sports. From the film, it seemed as if the very first female athletes simply adopted a more masculine approach to sport- especially evident in “the Babe.” Not only was she outstanding at her sports, but she also exuded a boastful attitude more reflective masculine values than feminine. Several later female athletes carved out a more feminine niche for themselves, such as Esther Williams.
Women in sports have influenced societal norms, as well as being a function of them. The first female to complete a marathon shattered the traditional notion of women as weak and lacking in strength and endurance.

Question 2. There are still many barriers to women in sports. Although Title IX provided more equality in terms of sports funding, women’s sports still lack media coverage and attendance. Much of this death does not directly stem from discrimination, but is simply a function of profits. If women’s sports do not generate the revenue, it is simply not economical to broadcast these sports. But women’s sports coverage can be uninteresting and sporadic because of this lack of funding. In this way, this barrier is cyclical and difficult to overcome.

Personal Best, Comment One
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-06 12:59:43
Link to this Comment: 12552

Oh man was this a crazy movie. Ok, how I think the climate has changed...Actually I have no idea. I thought that this movie was so disjointed and confusing. I don't think it addressed the issues well at all. I think it was interesting (for lack of a better term) that the blonde was afraid of her sexuality. She never called herself a lesbian. She just slept with the brunette girl. Were they the same age? They were both in college...I think...I don't know. I think I'll have to ponder this one a little more. What do ya'll think? Can someone make sense of the whole thing? Anyway, I think that it was only "ok" once the blond was with the water polo guy. She wasn't afraid of introducing him. Hopefully that has changed in society, that it's ok to have a girlfriend. Alright I don't think I'm making much sense. Guess I'm like the movie.

personal ... um, best
Date: 2005-02-07 15:45:53
Link to this Comment: 12614

This movie is a hard one to understand, I think ... and, not just b/c it seemed confusing when watching it. It was made a long time ago and thankfully things have changed since then but ... we view the movie in a different way than people back in the day (although 1982 really isn't 'back in the day' ;). We think this movie was ridiculous b/c it was just plain weird. Were the gay? Were they straight? Can someone please just give me a label!!??!?! Nowadays, we have the labels and that's, of course, a good and bad things. When this movie first came out, it was obvious what was going on between the two lead females but I think maybe it was enough then to just have the lesbian undercurrents. Now, we don't get why they couldn't just say it. C'mon it's about being lesbians ... what's the big deal? Since this movie came out, things have changed ... at least superficially, I'd say. (I no longer remember the question, so I will just ramble a little) ... Lots of us say that we don't care if someone is gay ... in public. But, in the privacy of our own home, we're thjinking "Please don't let it be my kid". In sports, men and women athletes are not coming out either. Why!??! If this time we're living in is so liberal and accepting, why are athletes still closeted?? Hello, Cheryl Miller (former coach of the Phoenix Mercury and star bball player at USC I think) ... you're gay just admit it. Instead of having these "Psttt ... did you hear shes' GAY ?" ... just say it for goodness sakes. If everyone thinks female athletes are gay to begin with, then what have you got to lose by admitting it. Will the wnba fire you!? Perhaps with gay men it won't be quite so easy b/c there *seem* to be so few in pro sprots ... but, then again, there is only one show for Lesbiains that I know of (the L-Word which is on pay cable) while there are tons about gay men (queer as folk, will and grace, queer eye, etc ) ... Blah blah blah, I'm getting boring ... And, that's what I think.

Date: 2005-02-07 15:46:28
Link to this Comment: 12616

the above entry was liz ... that's me ... i can't seem to rmeember to write my name in the little box ... sorry~!

Week 2
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-07 22:46:58
Link to this Comment: 12642

I thought the film was interesting in that it felt conflicted; while it broke barriers and tested social mores, it almost seemed as if it self- consciously stepped back onto safer turf in many spots. For example, the fact that the two characters sedulously refrain from forming an emotional connection, exemplified by the fact that at one point, they refer to each other as friends who sleep together. Also reminiscent of this theme was the fact that Chris finally settled with a man, while Tory ended solo. Even though it was implied that Tory was the "real" lesbian, it seemed like the director was loath to set her up in another same-sex relationship and thus cement her sexuality. Another thing I thought was interesting was the connection between strength and sexuality. The arm-wrestling scene was really the defining moment of attraction for the two women. But then later, the attraction between Chris and her boyfriend occurred during weightlifting. To me, this said that: a)strength in women is attractive, and b) men can realize this too. So while it was blatantly making a statement about women, it was also commenting on men in a critical way.
Okay, these are my initial comments on the film- I'll return to the other questions later in the week

Week 2- Katy
Name: Katy
Date: 2005-02-07 23:54:14
Link to this Comment: 12645

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

I would consider this movie somewhat of a breakthrough, given the year that it was made. However, I felt that its message was somewhat mixed. Although we were able to see explicit scenes of homosexual activity, nothing was ever really verbalized, creating a feeling that lesbian behavior still needed to be very under the table in order for it to be explored in any manner. In spite of the many strides that have been taken to give women athletes more recognition and respect, homosexuality in sports is still shrouded with controversy. As mentioned in class, female athletes continue to struggle with the fear of being discovered if they are homosexual, or the fear of being perceived as homosexual. In any instance, the fact that homosexuality is still so...passively taboo extends to society as a whole. It seems to agree with the notion that although many people claim that they do not have a problem with homosexuality, to be confronted with it as a fact still inspires certain levels of uncomfortability.

Week 2 Comments
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-08 18:28:53
Link to this Comment: 12699

As has already been mentioned, for a movie made in 1982 even hinting at homosexuality was probably pushing the boundaries. I was frustrated that the reason for Tory and Chris' breakup was never really explained... it left a lot of things unresolved. I liked how the movie used their relationship to frame competition and personal sacrifice.

When I say that advances have been made of course, it doesn't mean that the issue is by any means RESOLVED. The media in the past few years has still participated in speculation about athletes--both male and female--and their sexuality. The tennis player Amelie Mauresmo was criticized for being too masculine and her sexuality was constantly in question. A fellow tennis player, Martini Hingis, labelled Amelie a "half man" because of her 'masculine' appearance. Quarterback Jeff Garcia has also been the source of the "is he gay or isn't he?" questions; Terrell Owens was asked in an interview whether or not he thought Jeff Garcia was gay. Why should athletes be continually questioned about what their sexual preferences are? It has nothing to do with their performance AS atheletes.

I know this is a Women, Sport, and Film class, but I still want to comment that male athletes in sports that are considered unmasculine suffer from labelling too. Male figure skaters are often criticized and called gay because of their sport.

Personal, 2nd Post
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-09 13:32:29
Link to this Comment: 12710

Alright so I really agree with what ya'll said. Liz talking about labeling was interesting. Do you think it would have changed things if the blonde (what's her name?) had come out and said, "I'm gay" or "I'm bi" or whatever? I think that the reason there are more shows about gay men than gay women is because these gay men (like Will and Jack, or the Fab Five) aren't a threat to anyone. They're just concerned about being pretty and styling their hair. With the exception of maybe Six Feet Under, there aren't really any 'masculine' gay men being represented on tv. And definintly not any on regular tv. In a way, lesbians are more challening to society. Strong women, gay or straight, have always threatened the 'old boys club' and lesbian women who are saying (in a way) "I don't need men to be happy." are a serious threat to men. Also, what Kate said about Chris (oh, that's it) getting a boyfriend and the 'real' lesbian ending up empty handed was really interesting. The movie did seem to show how Chris 'won' once she went straight. It was interesting that the brunette was a threat to Chris, even when they were dating. It's the brunette's falut that Chris ended up hurt, and you get the sense that Mr. Water Polo would never do anything to sabatoge Chris' success. So what's up with that? Why can't the movie show two strong women supporting each other? Alright that's all for now.

Week 2, Post 1
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-02-09 16:31:41
Link to this Comment: 12712

1. I thought that the film seemed to suggest that Chris was only in a lesbian relationship because she was depressed and couldn't seem to get anything better in life and that she was really only interested in sex. One thing about the film that surprised me was that although sexuality/homosexuality was never outright discussed in the film, everyone seemed to be okay with it - the other track team members, the water polo boyfriend...even Chris seemed to be completely okay with jumping into a lesbian relationship, which I wasn't expecting.

2. I like what you said, Joanna S. on how male athletes in sports are considered to be unmasculine from labelling as well....a movie where I think this is apparent is "The Cutting Edge," where a former male ice hockey player switches over to be a pairs figure-skater. In our society today, I still think that it is considered to be unacceptable for athletes to come out as homosexual...if it were, then wouldn't we hear more about them, instead of hearing about all the whisperings, as Liz said? Although society is now more accepting of women athletes, it is still not okay for these women athletes to be gay.

What about the stalker?
Name: liz
Date: 2005-02-09 16:41:44
Link to this Comment: 12713

So, even though this is off topic ... what about the coach/stalker?? I wonder if he and tory (the real dyke, right?) were dating before she turned gay. He seemed so damn touchy feely ... which kind of indicated, i think, that he didn't take the being gay of chris and tory to be very serious ... it was just a phase that would change once tory hurt her knee and had sex w/ him haha ...

I also wonder (which is weird b/c i didn't enjoy the movie much, but i still want to know more ... ) if chris stayed gay. i mean, she did say the water polo fella was cute for a guy ... does that mean she's through w/ guys all together or what? does it make a difference one way or the other? if she did go back to being straight, does it mean she was bisexual or straight the whole time or that she is lying to herself now? oh, sexuality is a very confusing topic ... but, i wonder what woul have happened after the little awards ceremony. too bad the olympics that year were boycotted b/c if they weren't i bet they would have continued the story hehe :)

Week 2, Post 2
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-02-09 16:44:48
Link to this Comment: 12714

Another message that the film seems to give - that lesbian women are bound to be more "masculine" and butch....with the implied message that if she were more attractive, she would be able to get a man. I don't think that the movie would have "worked" if it had been Tory who ended up with a man and Chris ended up being "the real lesbian." And is it just me, or did anyone else notice that Chris' hair completely got blonder, less scraggly, and more blowout once she left Tory for the water polo player?

BTW, does anyone know of more recent films that address women athletes and their sexuality? (I don't think "But I'm a Cheerleader" counts...) I can't think of any such movies off the top of my head...perhaps we can see how the climate as changed in the past 23 years if we have another film in the same genre to compare "Personal Best" to...

Labels, etc.
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-09 22:22:26
Link to this Comment: 12727

Liz--yeah, I definitely thought the coach was a total creep and he seemed pretty intent on keeping Chris and Tory apart. :(

Joanna F.-- That's interesting about Chris becoming more "feminine" when she starting dating a guy. It ties in with our observations about Babe, where her looks changed over time to conform more to the standard of femininity and of course, she also got married. Obviously we don't know anything about Babe's sexuality, but maybe the bigger picture is that there is tremendous pressure on female athletes to conform to this standard or risk being ostracized/negative media attention.

Whether it was with Babe or with Chris/Tory, there is this tendency to want to label them somehow. Maybe the movie didn't come out and use these labels because of the climate in the 1980s, but that's not necessarily a bad thing!

Post 1 Week 2
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-02-09 23:10:41
Link to this Comment: 12731

I too felt like the movie was very disjointed. There was almost no character development in terms of the girls' sexuality. It felt as though the movie was portraying a series of events as they might be seen by a third party, but the emotions and the processes that were internal to the characters were not clear at all. That is why I had a hard time justifying why the relationship between the two girls developed as it did. It seemed like the director did not have a good understanding of the kind of emotional challenges a gay person might have in the 70s, when being gay was more taboo than it is now. It also seemed the movie did not really touch upon any of the issues these girls might have outside of their team because they were gay (or one of them or whatever). This issue was only addressed tangentially and it seemed like the girls lived in the isolated worlld of their sports team. For all that the movie was not so much discussing gay issues, but was rather just putting it our there and making it more visible, which I guess is good in the end. I think that this has changed in terms of film making. Films nowadays go more into the psychology behind gay issues. In terms of sports I feel like the stigma is very much there. At the same time it seems like it is a lot more acceptable for an athlete to be gay in the context of the higher level of social acceptance in society.

Week 2, Part 2
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-10 13:03:38
Link to this Comment: 12746

I think its fairly evident sport/sexuality link plays an important role in our society today, even a few decades later. And I also think that several good points were raised in class. It's a bit of a double -edged sword; not only are women and men automatically assumed to be homosexual in certain sports, but the participants in different sports are automatically assumed to be heterosexual.

Week 2, Post 2-Katy
Name: katy
Date: 2005-02-10 14:22:25
Link to this Comment: 12750

I think everyone has made really interesting observations regarding the movie- the relationship between the coach and chris/tory, chris' physical transition as she became involved with a man, etc. etc....I think most of our observations point to the fact that the movie was rather reductive of human relationships, whether they be heterosexual or homosexual, because it failed to fully develop the characters and their interactions with each other. The relationship between chris and tory seemed to be too simplified and we never got a sense of how the coach fit into the picture (I assumed that he and tory had previously had a relationship?). It would definitely have been nice to have all these things tied together, to know why exactly tory and chris had the relationship they did and why it fell apart...although the movie was "about" athletes and homosexuality, the topic was explored on a very surface level. Maybe it's time for a Personal Best Part II with less sauna room nudity?

Personal Best
Name: Sarah
Date: 2005-02-10 19:09:47
Link to this Comment: 12767

1) The first thing that struck me about Personal Best was its ability to make relationships the focus of the movie while it simultaneously avoided any complexity or editorial on the subject. The combination of minimal story-line and the way the camera lingered on the emotional faces of the characters, the movie made clear that it was centered around the relationships and emotional struggles of the women athletes. However it the movie was too timid to develope relationships or personal emotions. Although the movie sexualized the interactions between the women, it neglected to show them as being emotionally connected. The movie glossed over the experience and emotions that the women went through.

2) I was thinking about the comment someone made about there being no recently released movies about women in sports and their sexual orientation. The question lead me to think more generally about the way Personal Best reflects society. What kind of audience was the movie geared towards. Who would have gone to see the movie- and does that audience no onger exist?

Week 3 Hero For Daisy
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-02-11 09:52:40
Link to this Comment: 12779

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?

Name: liz
Date: 2005-02-13 16:15:04
Link to this Comment: 12838

Daisy is one of my cats and I was a little upset she wasn't in the film, but onto the question ...

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 i'ts tough to gauge how much impact women's sports can have on society and the assumptions people have about how women should act. How many people actually watch women's sports??? I sure don't anymore. After my favorite bball player left the wnba and there were no more commercials with her I stopped watching. I taped nearly every game of the first season (with the commercial since jamila wideman was in some of them!) and some of the 2nd season since she was still playing then and now i don't even watch them. my saturday afternoons, thursday nights and one other night of the week i can't remember were always reserved to watch teh wnba ... now, i only watch uconn women's games. and i can't even really watch them since we don't have cable in teh dorms and guys games are the only ones on cbs ...

so, if this is me ... a woman who LOVES basketball and wanted to play basketball professionally for my entire childhood ... and i don't watch the games ... what does that say about the rest of the country?? sports cna only change people dramatically occasionally ... i think sports have alreayd changed how people view women but there needs to be something HUGE that happens in women's sports to create more change. we all know (for the most part) that sports no longer hampers reproduction .. but, we don't know that women don't need to paint their nails (that leslie leslie has HUGE nails when she plays bball lol) ... it's going to be hard for sports to have a big impact .. esp on people that aren't women at an all women's college sadly

Challenging assumptions
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-13 18:55:47
Link to this Comment: 12853

Yes, I think that women in sports have the opportunity to change the accepted assumptions--or at the very least, challenge them. Going back to the first film we watched, there was an assumption that women's bodies were not suited for physical activity of any kind. There was the myth that women's reproductive organs would be damaged through such activity. The first time women ran the 800m, the media used this to support their incorrect assumpiton. They said "look these women were tired and several fainted so women clearly can't compete on this level!". After years of women being able to successfully compete in other sports, they were finally allowed to run the 800m again and prove once and for all that yes they COULD run longer distances. The same can be said of women running marathons; the determination of the first female marathon runners (even before the rules 'allowed' them to) challenged assumptions and changed the rules.

Althetes like Billie Jean (yay!) and Annika Sorenstam have shown that women are indeed equal to men and, in athletic competition, can even beat them at their own game. Individual women--or in the case of the Harvard rowing team, groups of women--can confront systems which are biased and unfair and promote social growth.

Sports has given women a valuable field in which to prove themselves AND to prove to their world that women can be many things beyond the expected.

Daisy, Post One
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-14 17:47:49
Link to this Comment: 12894

I think the movies we have watched (especially this one and the Dare to Compete one) have shown us that women have challenged assumptions through sports. Women just being allowed to compete and show themselves as tired, triumphant, whatever, has shown them as both women and people. (Which I know sounds redundant, but I think sometimes people forget) What the Yale crew team did was show their bodies and say these are the bodies that are affected by your actions. I think that helped people realize what was really going on. Sometimes people get so caught up in their ideas of where they think society is and where its going that they dont actually look around. And I think that all the women that we've seen have forced people to look at them and to address their situation. They have presented themselves so they can't be ignored anymore. And sports are a very public thing, so I think it's reasonable that through sports women would be able to challenge society.

Daisy 1
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-16 16:34:10
Link to this Comment: 12934

It seems as if women's participation in sports has influenced the movement towards gender equality. It's harder to designate women as weak and passive when they run marathons and engage in strenuous contact sports. The three movies we've watched in the class so far, reflect this idea; and also the barriers and struggles that pioneer women athletes face, be it challenges related to participation, sexuality, or equal training facilities. However, the last film was interesting in the fact that it created equal opportunities for women while playing on the stereotypes of feminine behavior that still existed. In other words, in order to achieve equal treatment,the rowers used shock tactics based on the challenging the notion of the passive female. Really, the strategy wouldn't have worked as well for men, and not just because of physiological differences. The main reason the shock tactic worked was because it was used by women; behaving aggresively to achieve an end.

Daisy Comments
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-16 16:44:21
Link to this Comment: 12936

Hi Liz and others queens:
I tend to disagree with your posting that women's sports may not have that dramatic an impact on the women's movement for equality. Rather, I feel as if most of the progress has already been made. Although a Hero for Daisy was interesting, it certainly didn't have the impact that Dare to Compete did. In other words, women fighting for equal shower rights just doesn't have the same groundbreaking, fighting-for-justice-and-all-things-equal impact that being barred from marathons does. This doesn't mean that sports are equal for men and women. But I think that the legislation like Title 9 gives many a sense of security. The next step is enforcing this legislation, especially at the high school level, when many students don't know their rights.

Week 3, Response 1
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-02-16 20:59:08
Link to this Comment: 12944

I suppose that women's sports help draw attention to challenging assumptions of how women should act - although I don't think that the accepted assumptions have really changed. Female athletes are still pressured by the public to maintain a "feminine" physical appearance, and many come under fire for what their supposed sexuality is.

That isn't to say that women's sports *haven't* changed accepted assumptions...the members of the Yale rowing team in "A Hero for Daisy" had to deal with very different types of discrimination that early women had to face in "Dare to Compete." (In DtC, women weren't even permitted to play sports, in AHfD the women were part of a rowing team in a coed university), We have come a long, long way...but I think we're still pretty far from the finish line.

Week 3, Comment 2
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-02-16 21:15:46
Link to this Comment: 12945

Hm, I just realized that I'd forgotten completely about that second movie we watched, "Personal Best"...haha. I don't really know if that movie challenged any real assumptions about women in sports...I mean, you have these two women who are both track athletes that end up in some sort of friends-with-benefits of them decides to leave the relationship, and once she does - she ends up dating a man and becomes a significantly better athlete. I supposed you could say that it challenges the traditional assumption of the passively demure, non-sexual woman...but then there is still the stereotype that the stronger athletes is the more masculine one....

Um, maybe this is not a very relevant comment, but since we're talking about assumptions about women and their femininty and sexuality and stuff...but for anyone who watches America's Next Top Model (a reality show where there are contestants picked from around the country to be a top model) I think it will be interesting to see how one of the upcoming contestants is portrayed, because she's a female wrestler. Last season, one of the contestants was a water-polo player, and I personally thought that the criticisms that the judges were giving her kept having to do with the fact that she was too "tough" and masculine - because she was such a competitive and strong athlete (an All-American!)....and on all of the fan forum boards, everyone would blast her for having "such a manly face."

Name: Liz
Date: 2005-02-16 21:41:07
Link to this Comment: 12946

Kate, I didnt mean that women's sports haven't had impact ... I just meant what you said -- they have already had most of their impact ... y'know?

Joanna, I like your comments very much on top model. i hated that the judges on teh show always made the dancer feel like her poses were too danser-esque and they always made the athlete feel ugly. it just shows what society is. the "plus size" model was seen time and time again even as more beautiful ... what, b/c she never exercised and just ate chicken all day? (she hid things of chicken under her bed!)

Follow-up to Daisy
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-16 21:44:19
Link to this Comment: 12947

Hey everyone! Hope you're all having a good week.

Kate, I agree with you that 'Hero for Daisy' did not have the same impact on me as a viewer that 'Dare to Compete' did. Relatively speaking, what the crew team did seemed less monumental than the struggles and triumphs of the women in the first movie. Maybe that was bound to happen since what they did was so groundbreaking and they made it possible for there to even BE a women's crew team...

Joanna Fu, I will be interested to see that contestant on America's Next Top Model (I was already excited about the new season starting, hehe). I wonder if that particular woman will feel a lot of pressure to 'represent' female athletes who compete in less-accepted sports. Not to get off-topic, but I remember some of the gay housemates on The Real World saying how they felt this pressure as someone receiving media attention to represent homosexuals well and not do anything to hurt their cause.

Liz, you make a good point about there needs to BE media attention before sports can really change anything. That's why the crew team was successful; their protest got the coverage and forced change. People have to see these things--women succeeding in sports and, when it occurs, unfair barriers that have been constructed that prevent equality--before anything can ultimately be done about it.

See you all tomorrow night! :)

Week 3 Post 1
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-02-17 02:41:18
Link to this Comment: 12956

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 definetly think that the way female athletes act and the way they establish themselves as women, has a great impact on the perception of womanhood as a whole. The movies we have seen have been a tribute to that. What I liked about this last movie was that I was able to relate to the experience of the "characters" more easily. I think that the college setting was part of the reason for that. Also, these were women who, in their college days and in the footage from that time, remind me of people I know. I can imagine friends of mine doing the same. Whereas, the other athletes were so advanced into the professional field, that it was hard to get the same sense of familiarity. Even though all of the athletes had great accomplishments that WERE real, I guess I am better able to relate to the women in Daisy because I can imagine something similar taking place than any of the other movies.

Daisy, Post 2
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-17 18:19:57
Link to this Comment: 12981

Yeah, I think it's hard. I mean, everything means so much. I don't think that you can really distinguish between the different levels of meaning. For example, I think that every time athletes stand up for equality it's important. And even though it may not seem like a big deal to us, showers were a really big deal to the women in Daisy. Yeah, so I think it's unfair to judge something by "importantance." Also, that totally sucks when a woman is too athletic to be beautiful. I really love me some ANTM, but I wish the judges could work that out.

Week 3 Post 2
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-02-17 19:03:40
Link to this Comment: 12991

Yeah, it is true that women had to prove themselves in order to get equal treatment instead of being given the opportunities to prove themselves on equal grounds. Being agressive was important in that sense, because you cannot get things that others think you are not entitled to without fighting for it. This also challenged the view that women cannot be aggressive.

League Of Their Own
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-02-18 14:44:02
Link to this Comment: 13003

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--

League Of Their Own
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-02-18 14:46:17
Link to this Comment: 13004

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--

League Of Their Own
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-02-18 14:47:12
Link to this Comment: 13005

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--

Katy-post 1
Name: katy
Date: 2005-02-20 21:16:23
Link to this Comment: 13048

I think this question is asking about "framing" in movies about female athletes and how a certain type of narrative highlights or shadows particular social issues that are embedded in the movie. I actually think that "A League of Their Own" does a good job of telling the story of sisterhood and family in conjunction with telling a story of women's struggle to gain respect in sports. I don't think that the nostalgic aspect of the film really takes away from the issues at hand- topics such as femininity and gender constraints are still salient within the movie. I mean, the title itself doesn't even reference the relationships within the movie, the title simply refers to women overcoming challenges. So...I think this movie bridged female relationships with social issues rather well, and in a non-abrasive yet effective way.

Entertaining AND powerful
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-21 13:55:25
Link to this Comment: 13062

I agree that while watching the film A League of Their Own, viewers can be pulled toward identifying with one sister (I did when I first watched it and have continued to in subsequent viewings), but I do not believe this deters people from thinking about the larger issues. The film works because it is a story first and foremost--it is entertaining and interesting and lots of different people ENJOY watching it. Without generating the interest, the movie would not have its audience, and then the message doesn't get out anyway.

The movie does more than say women can be great athletes. It shows how women can be very different from each other, but each be talented and be feminine. It shows the power of female unity, both on the field and off, as well as the competitive drive. The school teaching 'decorum' and what a 'lady' should be and the unveiling of the impractical but 'feminine' uniforms make important points about the climate of the times, and how this makes what the first female baseball players did all the more impressive. I think you can point to lots of moments in the film as examples of the players overcoming obstacles (again, on the field and off).

Entertainment and social commentary need not be mutually exclusive. With that, I say: "So long Charlie!" :)

League, Post One
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-21 14:47:24
Link to this Comment: 13067

First of all, I just want to say that I was totally not feeling the discussion. I don't think it really matters whether or not Dottie dropped the ball on purpose. (I don't think she did cause I think that would have been super lame, but that's not the point) I think that the way that the movie was framed did lead it away from the larger social issues, but I think that it was ok. The movie was able to make a larger social statment in a more understated way. Since we as viewers were being spoonfed the information rather than being threatened by women in sports, I think that the movie was able to reach a much wider audience. The mass appeal of the movie definitly helped to get people's attention which I think worked well. Since the movie wasn't threatning, as it centered around the sisters, I think more people, both men and women coudl relate to it. Lots of times women get freaked out about being "too feminist/radical/etc" and this movie helps to let people say "Yeah, women should be able to play" without their feeling like they are being to subversive. That's kind of how I feel about the race issue too. It's still such a contentious topic that main stream movies are afraid to go there. Alright, that's it for now. Let me know what you think.

A League of Their Own, Post 1
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-02-21 22:41:07
Link to this Comment: 13090

For me it was interesting to see how the events that were described in the documentary we saw in the first class were represented here. Everything from the costumes, to the make-up and the image. I thought that the movie did a good job in portraying that side of the story even though it did not focus on it as much as it could have. However, I think that the movie made up for that by discussing different personal issues that the women were facing that were not necessarily related to sports. In this way the movie presented a spector of problems faced by women that were related to self-confidence and perception of oneself. if the movie had only focused on baseball I think those latter issues might not have been discussed. When it comes to the story line, I think that the rivalry was there to move the story along. If there was one single big event the movie could build to that would have been a good backbone of the movie as well, but since there was no ONE such thing, I feel like the story of the two sisters helped carry the plot and did not divert the attention from the feminist aspect of the movie. I think the movie did a good job of communicating the message it carried.

Katy Post 2
Name: Katy Chen
Date: 2005-02-23 00:32:42
Link to this Comment: 13151

I think Joanna made a really good point about how the film showed that femininity can be communicated in a variety of ways- not just by powdering noses and minding manners. I think the movie featured a really nice spectrum of women, each with their own dimensions and definitions of their femininity. From the Madonna character, to the pageant winner, to the awkward girl (forget her name, the one who sant in the bar)...the film brought together all these different in one unified way- they were all breaking barriers for women at the time. The other thing I thought was interesting was that the Tom Hanks character was never romantically linked to any of his players- it seems that in a lot of movies with women in sports, the women have to be linked to their male counterparts in some way, and this wasn't so in this movie. In not sexualizing the relationship between coach and players, I think it gave the movie a lot more room to develop each individual character instead of focusing on some kind of cheesy, cliche on-the-field romance.

League of Their Own - Post 1
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-02-23 10:58:31
Link to this Comment: 13159

I don't think that the relationship between the two sisters detracted from the “usefulness” of the movie in showing how women in sports have challenged norms. That said, I don’t think that their story really contributed much to that same cause either…

The only “larger” social issue that the movie really seemed to address though was gender categories…and I supposed you could argue that class was also brought up, although in a pretty insignificant manner. I thought the movie barely addressed issues of race and sexual orientation…the only nod to race that I can remember is when that black woman threw the baseball back to Dottie…and to be honest, if I hadn’t heard in “Dare to Compete” that that was supposed to be an “important” reference…I would never have picked up on it at all. Am I the only one?

League Comments
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-23 16:37:10
Link to this Comment: 13177

I really don't feel as if the familial themes in this week's film distracted/detracted from the gender issues at play. Rather, I think they complemented each other. To completely segregate the issues of women, femininity and family is to ignore issues that do interact to a large extent. Dottie was portrayed as the "perfect older sister" at first shown by her superiority in sport (not perhaps related to traditional ideas of gender and femininity). But later, when more elements come together, we realize that it's not just her superiority in baseball, It's the fact that she's better-looking, married,fulfills all the tradtionally desirable feminine characteristics, AND is better at baseball. She could fit into both roles, and was better than her sister in both. So while initially, the film seemed to be about family, gender really had an integral and complementary role as well.

Posting Two
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-02-23 16:47:11
Link to this Comment: 13179

Hi Joanna F:
I was looking for more overt, or in some cases, any, references to race, class and sexual orientation too! Did I miss it? Anyway, I really agree with Maggie J's and Joanna's point about the film's "main-streamness." To most people, like me, movies are more interesting than documentaries, and Madonna and Rosie are way more interesting than local experts' testimonials. So I think that putting it in a film "wrapper" just kind of sugar coats the history lesson, which isn't necessarily bad. I mean, it still teaches something new, right?

"League.." comments
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-02-23 19:45:52
Link to this Comment: 13188

Hey everyone! Happy hell week ;)

Kate, you make a really good point about Dottie being more than the better athlete, but fulfilling more of the typical feminine roles. I never thought about that before, but I do thinkt that's one reason she's so admire by her parents and used as the poster child for the game.

Joanna, you're right the movie did really only focus on gender. I mean, the war was addressed, but again in relation to gender--how the women in the factories were told to work to help their countries and will then be sent back to the kitchens when the men return home.

Katy, it's interesting what you said about Tom Hanks' character Jimmy and not sexualizing the relationships he had with the women. When I watched it, I think I did interpret some of the scenes between Jimmy and Dotties as having sexual tension (like when they're on the bus together) but maybe that's me feeling the need to do that as a viewer and not intentional on the part of the director. But you're right, his relationship with the other women becomes as one between coach and athletes, and nothing more. Good point!

League Post 2
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-02-23 22:41:57
Link to this Comment: 13196

I have to agree with Joanna about the racial commentary. I wouldn't have notices that connection if the scene was not mentioned in one of the earlier movies either. I think that this movie could have dona a better job of saying what happened to the women from racial minorities since they were experiencing the same sort of situations and their husbands were also gone to war. The movie focused exclusively on white women, which limited the scope of its social commentary. However, as we saw in some of the other movies, the situation of African American women was different, and it might have had very different implications and themes at the time, so I c an see how that could have possibly impacted the decision to focus on white women.

League, Post 2
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-02-25 16:30:34
Link to this Comment: 13226

I think what Kate said about sugar coating things is really true. I don't know why we're so afraid of addressing all those issues, but it seems like mainstream society really is. But does that make it so I can't enjoy the movie, even sugar coated? Nope, cause I think this movie is delightful. I also think what Kate said about Dottie just being more "perfect" than Kit is really interesting. But at the end who is happier? I don't know. I think that each girl made the right choice for herself. And that's what I think this movie is all about.

Leauge of their own ...
Name: liiiiiiiii
Date: 2005-02-28 10:57:28
Link to this Comment: 13293

One thing about this movie that kind of bugs me ... or, rather, is upsetting. like, it's a movie about social change, right? how can a movie about social change give rise to social change? i mean, can the same event really change the world two times.

i liked the relationship b/w kit and dottie ... i personally liked kit better, though. i think i'ts weird how most people root for the underdog in sports, but here most people want dottie to win. at least that's what i think. perhaps that's b/c kit doesn't quite fit the way we think women should be? but, if that were true, why did she get a " very nice" when they did the beauty school thing? who knows ...

everyone's comments have been very eye opening and "huh i never thought of that" this week, good job all :)

League of Their Own (Post 2)
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-03-02 13:45:16
Link to this Comment: 13342

Hm I think that's an interesting point, Katy - on how Tom Hanks didn't end up with anyone in the movie. Although it almost seemed for a while there, that he was going to end up with almost seems as if they were building up for like, Dottie's husband to be killed in the war...and then Dottie would turn to Tom Hanks for help and comfort... they'd fall in love...and then they would become a great baseball-playing couple together. Or maybe that's just what I thought was going to happen when I watched the movie for the first time, haha.
But back to what really happened in the movie - yea, I definitely agree that it was nice that you don.t really see either of the main characters hook up with male love interests in the movie.something that happens a lot in other sports movies featuring a woman (Personal Best, Girlfight, Love & Basketball, The Cutting Edge, Bend it Like Beckham, etc.)
Liz, regarding what you said about how most people seem to like Dottie more...I think that that's because the underdog is someone that you usually *want* to root for - they're usually someone who is just as attractive (if not more so) than the person on top, or as refined, talented, etc...and I don't know if we're meant to really root for Kit because she's just so...scrappy and whiny and explosive...I think that the underdog is usually portrayed in a much kinder manner. I suppose although we're supposed to feel sorry for Kit, we're meant to *want* to be Dottie...
It's kinda like Liv Tyler versus Mia Tyler. They're both talented, pretty...I'm sure Mia Tyler would get a "very nice"...but really, wouldn't most people rather be Liv? OK, I know that was way off-topic...

Name: liz
Date: 2005-03-02 15:29:40
Link to this Comment: 13344

dearest jfu, i just so happen to think kit is more attractiv ethan dottie usually ... but, of course, that could be due to the fact that dottie is so prissy and her personality bugs me ... and, yeah, i root for the red sox each year and not many of them are cute ;) oh, and lots of people in the audience (men) seemed to think kit was really cute -- at least after she got traded :)

i'm excited for this weeks film -- it'l lbe good to see something new again :) 

Week 5 Pumping Iron II
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-03-02 20:41:24
Link to this Comment: 13360

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?

Pumping Iron- Post 1
Name: Katy Chen
Date: 2005-03-03 23:37:55
Link to this Comment: 13402

I think that, for the most part, society owns the stereotypical definition of femininity. Perhaps femininity eventually becomes our own, as we mature and become more comfortable with ourselves and others, but society's definition certainly shapes how we grow up perceiving it. This is interesting in relation to the movie and our reactions to the movie- although we talk a lot about women breaking gender stereotypes etc etc, I think some of us were still uncomfortable with Bev's "masculine" physique. It just goes to show that we can have a certain stance on the issue of femininity, but still have instantaneous reactions that are a direct product of what we have grown up learning about what is feminine and what is masculine. For those of you who are psych majors...this is pretty definitive of what is know as cognitive dissonance is, yes?

pumping iron
Name: liz
Date: 2005-03-13 15:37:52
Link to this Comment: 13476

It is possible, but in this case -- Bev was hard to look at. To be "feminine" isn't to be a woman ... Just like to be "masculine" isn't to be a man. They are too characteristics that can be applied to both men and women. To be a woman and to be a man is something physical, I think. And, to be masc/fem is all too often associated with the physical. We are associating these two words with the wrong thing. To be fem/masc isn't bad -- and you can be a man or women and be one or the other. They are just two adjectives that have had their connotations screwed up over the years. Femininity doesn't (or at least shouldn't) define womanness. So, of course, women don't need to be feminine at all I don't think. Perhaps I'm reading the definition of femininity wrong, but since I'm talking about connotation ... I guess it doesn't much matter. This question asks something I don't think it needs to. If we're trying ot push the boundaries as women, why would we need to be "feminine"? Shouldn't we just be who we are? I mean, all of us simply assume that women should be feminine - that's the ideal I suppose. But, at the same time, is that what we should be doing? We want to be treated as equals ... But, if men are feminine, they're treated differently (worse in most cases) too. This is tough. What does everyone else think?

Pumping Iron
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-03-13 21:19:26
Link to this Comment: 13477

Hey everyone, welcome back! Hope you all had a good Spring Break.

What struck me the most when watching this documentary was how, even though weightlifting is now a 'sanctioned sport' for women, the general opinion toward female weightlifters hasn't changed that much. As has been mentioned before, these athletes get next to zero coverage in the Olympics--even American women who are successful.

Obviously the whole 'buff' appearance of these women was pretty striking. When the trainer said, "what the hell do they want, Miss America" I guess that kind of clued me in that yeah, these women do look different from the standard, but they are athletes...they're weightlifters. What do we expect them to look like if they're going to be any good at their sport?Bev was penalized for not looking feminine enough, but what did that have to with weightlifting? It was done for the simple reason of making society more comfortable.

I think women CAN be push the boundaries, be strong, and be feminine, but it's not going to be easy to convince 100% of people that she is indeed feminine. If weightlifters were shown more, maybe it would be easier to accept, because we've had more know the whole law of numbers.

Iron, Post 1
Name: Maggie
Date: 2005-03-13 22:27:48
Link to this Comment: 13480

I kind of struggle with this one. I know that the easy answer is to say that you should own your own definition and be allowed to be feminine if you want. But I think that body building is kind of creepy. Women and men. I wouldn't nessasarily call male body builders masculine. But at the same time, I don't want to say that women can't be strong, or something like that. So I want to say that of course women can be strong and womanly...but this movie makes me think can they be too strong? Thoughts?

Pumping Iron, Post 1
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-03-14 14:56:20
Link to this Comment: 13489

Sure, it’s possible to be a strong woman, pushing the boundaries of sport., we’ve seen many examples of this in previous films. I’m a little unsure about the feminine part, though. Like Maggie, I’m struggling a little with this question…so, I tried looking up definitions on to help me in thinking.
“femininity”: 1. The quality or condition of being feminine. 2. A characteristic or trait traditionally held to be female.
“feminine”: Characterized by or possessing qualities generally attributed to a woman.
“female” Of or denoting the sex that produces ova or bears young.
Although I don’t think these definitions are helping too much. Basically they seem to suggest that your femininity is inherently related to your physical sex – if you have ovaries and can have children, then you’re a woman, and if you’re a woman, then you will be feminine. And by this, then I supposed you can say that of course women can push the boundaries of femininity...simply because they *are* physically women. But realistically speaking – if it looks like a man…if it sounds like a man…if it smells like a man – then well, I think most people/society would say that it’s a man. :-) Or at least, not feminine. I mean...there are women who get mistaken for men on a regular basis while going about daily activities...would we consider these women to be feminine by virtue of their sex? And these are people who aren’t even participating in a sport like body building which *really* physically changes your body to have muscles that ordinarily only men would be able to achieve (or women with very high levels of testosterone, which opens up another can of worms...)

Name: liz
Date: 2005-03-15 16:27:22
Link to this Comment: 13529

Miss Fu, thanks for looking up the definitions. I should have done that ... didn't know that being 'feminine" meant exactly. It's having women gender qualities but also qualities typcally associated with women and girls. I really think that these two definitions need to be rethought ... there should at least be two words, one for each defintion. men should be able to be feminine ... with this definition they cannot be ... b/c the definition says it's qualities of a woman andhow could a man have those? and vice versa for masculinity. It just doesn't make much sense to combine it all ... Feminine and masculine should be words associated with characteristics and not gender ... At least that's my opinion

Iron Post 2
Name: katy chen
Date: 2005-03-16 16:33:40
Link to this Comment: 13551

It seems from our discussions that most of the debate over femininity and who owns the word (individuals vs. society) is completely wrapped up in the language of it. Props to Joanna for looking it up in the dictionary, but I feel like a dictionary definition of the term is pretty vague as well. It says characteristics "generally" possessed by it's not totally out of the question for these characteristics to transcend gender. But the appropriateness of the transcendence seems to be governed by what society deems is "feminine" or "masculine" enough for each gender. I think that is what's so confusing about the whole movie- the fact that we can't describe what we see or feel in words because all of our terms regarding males and females are too vague. Was Bev both masculine, because she had muscles like a male, AND feminine, because she was still a woman and identified as one? Which one is she more of? If it's equal amounts of both, does that just make her androgenous? I can't really wrap my mind around this one....

Pumping Iron 2
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-03-16 21:50:26
Link to this Comment: 13561

Joanna that WAS a great idea to look it up--puts things in an interesting perspective. Looks like femininity by its very definition is based on TRADITIONAL... the accepted norm, the majority, etc. So women in sports like weight-lifting may struggle for a while because there aren't a lot of them (and pretty much NONE receive any mainstream coverage); makes it hard to consider this traditional or the norm or commonplace.

See you tomorrow! :)

Pumping Iron II, Post 2
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-03-16 22:54:43
Link to this Comment: 13567

I was just shopping around online for athletic wear and I thought of something regarding being able to be both strong *and* feminine. I was noticing how SO many sports bras have padding...or how many sports bras need to have a certain "feminine" feature, like it has separated cups so that you can still look like you have breasts while you're working out or playing a sport. And to me that was like saying...that women still need to assert their physical sex/femininity simply while trying to get fit...and it's just so contradictory because it's not like we have compression shorts for men with padded know? But to relate it back to Pumping Iron II, this reminded me of the skimpy litle outfits that the bodybuilders would wear for their routines...and it's like women (regardless of whether they are professional athletes or a regular person) need to constantly remind people of their gender. Or sex....or femininity......these definitions are just too annoying to work with!

Pumping Iron Post 1
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-03-17 00:35:50
Link to this Comment: 13571

It seems to me that femininity is defined as the opposite of masculinity. As trivial as that might sound, it might be the reason behind the conflict between some women's perception of their femininity and the way others view them. I think that this idea was emphasized in the movie.
Another interesting thing about this movie is that it pointed out that a great deal of the stigma associated with femininity comes from women themselves. We always think of men limiting and defining women, but the movie showed how women themselves can be the cause of much of the prejudice.

Post I Pumping Iron II
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-03-17 16:15:53
Link to this Comment: 13585

My simplistic answer to this week's question is yes. One example of women who were physically strong, successful, and still feminine were the TigerBelles from "Dare to Compete." There's no reason that femininity has to fly out the window as athleticism comes in. On the other hand, female athletes shouldn't have to conform to a feminine ideal to be accepted. I feel that rather than combating each other, feminity and athleticism can and should enhance each other. I also feel that appearance is not the only characteristic of femininity. Just becase the women in this week's film were extremely muscular didn't mean that this automatically disqualified them from having feminine characteristics.

Kate Shepard
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-03-17 16:29:36
Link to this Comment: 13589

Magi's comment was really interesting to me. As always, some of the major resistance to women pushing boundaries comes not from men, but from other women. Overall,it seems like there are a lot of limitations that come with assigning the terms "masculine" and "feminine.". I guess I tend to see things in more of a scalar way, rather than absolute terms. I don't think that a person is either masculine or feminine, but rather contains elements of both. I also appreciated the discussion of terminology earlier in the week.

Week 6 Rocks With Wings
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-03-18 09:15:56
Link to this Comment: 13622

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?

Lady Chieftains Post 1
Name: Katy Chen
Date: 2005-03-19 02:04:24
Link to this Comment: 13635

I thought this was a good way to conclude the was one of the most positive reflections and portrayals of women in sports that we've seen. It was a feel-good story, and integrated a variety of issues beyond gender (however questionable the actual telling of the story/making of the film was). I think it also highlights the fact that it's always more than just athletics, than JUST a game being played.I would venture to guess that the majority of these girls probably did not go on to play competitive sports in college, but this does not reduce the impact that their high school basketball experience had on their lives. Basketball was a forum for them, a place to learn things like confidence, independence, teamwork, acceptance. I especially liked the girl who rallied up the spirit in the end- she was adorable.

Rocks with Wings
Name: Joanna Sco
Date: 2005-03-20 19:10:10
Link to this Comment: 13685

I had never heard of Ship Rock or the Lady Chieftans, so it was interesting to hear their story. It shows how sports echos life--their struggles on the court reflected their struggles off of it, in terms of victimization, class struggle, and gender. It was a have vs. have nots story. I thought it was fascinating to see how the coach and the players both came to terms with their respective life backgrounds and philosophies and were then able to win. I thought that the opposing team, Kirtland, kind of got boxed into this corner as the "bad guys" even though I'm sure their players had their struggles as women in sports too. At least we saw that when the Chieftans won their first title, the Kirtland players were hugging them too. The two teams do have common ground and that was kind of ignored to make the main points.

Not to ruin the "where do I think they are now" part of it, but I actually found the NPR site which updates you on the Lady Chieftans. If anyone is interested...

Where are they now?

As you can see, a lot of them are still involved in sports--either coaching or playing as a hobby. And almost all of them continue to challenge the assumed roles for women, serving in the Navy, in accounting for a construction company, in management, and teaching business.

Pumping Iron Post 2
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-03-21 19:46:34
Link to this Comment: 13813

I agree with Katy that there is a lot of confusion of terms. I myself feel like I cannot express what I mean because the terms are so limiting and yet so hard to define. For me the terms masculinity and femininity in themselves are meant as absolutes or extremes and the point of them is to distinguish between some very specifc gender characteristics. But these terms are so general and stereotype-based that they do not apply to many people. If a girl is a tomboy, for example, that doesn't make her any less of a girl, but yet she is deemed less feminine. Very confusing.

Rocks Post 1
Name: Magi Kiril
Date: 2005-03-21 20:00:14
Link to this Comment: 13816

Passionate soccer fans tend to be very violent agains the opposing team's fans before and after big games. It is almost univerally true (especially in Ireland :). I always wondered why. I mean, it IS just a sport and even if you bet some money, there is no need to beat random people up, right? Well, I guess for the fan the game is a lot more than that. A game is like another reality of sorts where there are clear cut rules and if you play well you win. And I feel that the fans identify with the players so strongly that they consider it their own battle. I feel that this sort of identification is what attracts people to sports so much. This is why they seem to have such a wide social impact, serving as a model of behavior and a channel for collective energy. I think that this aspect of sports, as an arena with fair rules, where everyone has a chance, and everyone can identify with the players, is well portrayed in the movie Rocks With Wings. Basketball was a form of social justice where the losers got a chance to prove themselves worthy. This in itself, participating in that must have made a huge difference in those girls' lives. I wonder what happened to them. Nice ending to the course, though, definetly.

lady chieftains post 2
Name: katy chen
Date: 2005-03-21 20:28:18
Link to this Comment: 13817

Wow...really interesting to read the "where are they now" website- I have to admit that I didn't expect so many of them to continue with sports in college. Maybe it just goes to show that I still don't understand the kind of connection that athletes have with their sports because I've never experienced it. Props for looking up this information instead of making an assumption based on stereotypes, as I did. Now that I think of it, part of the reason I didn't expect them to go on to college sports is because when I think of college sports, I think more of men's sports than women's sports. So even though I've been in this class, my conceptions of the gender breakdown in sports (basically, what I know from what I've seen) still influences my expectations.

Rocks with Wings, Post 1
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-03-22 13:19:03
Link to this Comment: 13870

I agree with Katy in that (purely from watching the movie) I definitely would not have expected any of the Lady Chieftans to still be involved in sports. I think that my reasons are a little different though....I think that in our society, athletes are often treated as if they are glamorous celebrities, and when we saw the women in the documentary, they were doing things like feeding livestock or gardening/farming...and seeing them do such ordinary things like manual labor made me think that sports were no longer really a part of their lives. And it just made me realize something that's pretty obvious but it's something that I think I sort of forget. It's that - you don't have to be a professional athlete training for the Olympics (Personal Best) or a wild and crazy individual ("A Hero for Daisy") or even someone really actively trying to break down norms (Pumping Iron II) to be a woman involved in sports. Are my thoughts making any sense?

Date: 2005-03-23 09:40:40
Link to this Comment: 13911

i never thought i'd see a movie like this -- i prefer pure sports documentaries ... sure, i do like seeing the occasional biography about a famous person, but i never watch these things about people i never would have heard about otherwise. i was very surprised, too, that they were good at basketball ... a lot of things i see about girls' basketball bugs me b/c i can just tell that they really are horrible, but these girls knew how to shoot the right way and how to dribble and defend -- i was impressed and it's hard ot impress me when it comes to basketball ... so, it doesn't surprise me that much that they are still involved in sports. when you win a state championship regardless of the crap that comes along with doing it, you fall more in love with the game. i played basketball from 2nd grade to freshman year here and even though i'm no longer a player i always will be and i'll never give that up -- i wouldn't think someone else who played like i did ever could either.

the film is a good end (though like the retst of you i do wish i could have watched love and basketball but i suppose i'll have to settle for the copy in my room) to the course ... almost all of us never would have seen it otherwise. this wasn't made up and it shows that women love sports just as much as the boys you see in Hoops Dreams and other such films. women live for sports and die for sports. little girls wake up and want to play ... not a lot of people realize how something like basketball can make you feel -- it's not just sweating and working out -- it's soooo much more than that. it can be a game that sets you life on fire (in a good way, of course). its' why you get up in the morning and i think a lot of the girls in this film felt that way ... they had to have to have put up w/ the coach when they disliked him so much at times :)

ps. i really disliked how the girls kept complaining, though ,about their coach. he just wanted to make them better and they wanted him to baby them ... weird

Name: liz!
Date: 2005-03-23 09:43:14
Link to this Comment: 13912

miss fu, i agree that you dont' have ot be some fanatic to be a woman involved in sports -- but, perhaps to be a woman athlete (not a woman in athletics) it takes more than that? i'm not sure, but to b3e a woman athelete -- esp. one that takes their career past high school -- you have to hav ea love for the game ... if you don't you will be miserable you know?

Name: liz :)
Date: 2005-03-23 09:43:56
Link to this Comment: 13913

the two above this one are mine ... i forgot my name again ...

Rocks with Wings, Post 2
Name: Joanna Fu
Date: 2005-03-23 22:18:04
Link to this Comment: 13950

I really liked the inclusion of this movie in this course because it was nice to see race/culture relations beyond just black and white. I still wish taht "Love and Basketball" could have been included in the course as well...I was really looking forward to watching it.

To the "Great" Liz Oliver: Yes, I think that to continue to play a sport for many years you must *love* it. To be an athlete, you need to love what you do...but in applying it to our class - I would argue that most of us are not athletes, and probably will never be "athletes" in the way you're describing...however, we can still be involved in athletics, be athletic, play sports, know? And I think that when you watch these's kind of like these women you see are just so much larger than life because they've overcome so much in all areas of their life and they're just so amazing at what they can do with their bodies...and I think that one might sometimes feel like they're not really a part of this whole legacy because the average woman is NOT like that and is not going to be like that.....but that it's something that we can all still participate in, in whatever capacity we are able to.

Post 1
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-04-05 16:52:37
Link to this Comment: 14330

This film was an interesting culmination to the course because it exemplified women who had to struggle with their socio-economic status and culture, as well as their gender. It was interesting to me to learn about Shiprock, although the filming was at times dizzying from a narrative standpoint. Not only did these women have to struggle with their gender, they had to struggle against an entire community that had resigned itself to failure. Their victory was even more poignant because it restored a modicum of hope to the community. I think it's important to see where these women ended up because many of the positions require skills that were reinforced in athletics, such as leadership, confidence and discipline. While their relative success is perhaps not directly attributable to their participation, the skills gained from this experience benefitted them greatly.

Post II
Name: Kate Shepa
Date: 2005-04-05 16:58:36
Link to this Comment: 14331

In response to one of Liz's comments:
I agree that it was annoying that the girls kept complaining about their coach, when he was trying to push them. However, I also felt that it was very indicative of the community in which they were raised. The reservation as a whole was used to disappointment, regardless of effort exerted, and so the girls weren't used to putting in a lot of work. Also, the culture of the community seemed to favor a more fatalistic perspective on life- that life is circular, rather than linear, and could not be directed. This could have contributed to this attitude as well.

Violence in the WNBA
Name: Bob
Date: 2005-04-19 00:54:04
Link to this Comment: 14718


This is mainly in response to "()" above (big Jamila Wideman fan #1), who said the only incident of violence she remembered in the WNBA was when Nancy Lieberman-Cline choked Jamila in a game between the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury. I'm a Sparks fan, and as big a Jamila fan as anybody, but I remember far more than that particular incident. Either the next season (1998) or the one after that, there was a big fight at a Cleveland Rockers game, for which several players got suspended. I can't remember who the opponent was, but I think Mery Andrade was involved in the altercation.

However, the BIGGEST fight in recent WNBA history came in Game 3 of the 1999 Western Conference Finals between the Sparks and the Houston Comets, when Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson got into it. It was VERY ugly; it took about three people to drag Lisa to the bench and *hold her down* after she gave Thompson at least two forearms to the neck. It was out of retaliation, though, and I hate Tina Thompson to this very minute for starting that whole thing...but that's another story.

But you're right in that there is much less violence in the WNBA compared to the NBA. It's made for some great, clean ball in the past three seasons, despite the fact that my Sparks haven't won a championship since 2002. :-(

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