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Women Sport and Film - Fall 2005 Forum

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Week 1 Bridget Jones Diary
Name: Amy
Date: 2005-10-26 22:22:27
Link to this Comment: 16639

Question Week 1 Bridget Jones Diary

What qualifies BJD as a 'chick-flick'? Do we get anything out of chick flicks besides entertainment? Did BJD address any of the big issues of race, class, gender or orientation? What issues did it use humor to portray?

BJD reply
Name: Molly
Date: 2005-10-27 18:14:27
Link to this Comment: 16669

Chick-flick: well, relationships are the primary focus, not just the sexual/pseudo-romantic one with Cleaver and the budding lovefest with Darcy, but her relationships with her friends (not terribly healthy, perhaps), her mother (ditto, but not really dysfunctional, merely funny) and her father (best of the lot, a real bond). It's also focused on a woman, and statistically speaking that means men just plain won't watch it on their own, so by default it must be a "chick flick." The men are rather feminized and their edges smoothed out.

Besides entertainment:

Race, class, gender, or orientation: Well ... not really. Perhaps a few class jabs relating to Bridget's mum (though how gauche could she be, if she's in the same social circle as the Darcys?), but there was, if anything, a lack of race, and they didn't play Tom much for laughs (well, his career, yes, but not his orientation). Gender yes, I suppose, but only in a broad straw-man argument/joke against men.

Humor: The very real problems Bridget's parents had, the comedy-means-misunderstandings awfulness of the early Mark/Bridget interactions, the weight question, definitely the smoking and drinking (a real turn-off for viewers, or at least me, without her wry commentary), her fairly real fears of dying alone ("and being eaten by Alsatians"), her problems fitting in with family friends, etc. A whole lot of fairly serious issues that seem light because they're all spritzed heavily with humor.

Name: Molly agai
Date: 2005-10-27 18:17:01
Link to this Comment: 16670


Besides entertainment: Sure. A sense of belonging, for one; Bridget's a 3D-enough character that anyone can relate to her in one way or another (desperation for relationship, problems with parents, unhelpful friends, career issues, etc). A sense of either superiority ("she's not so great with those resolutions ... and her public speaking sucks!") or sisterhood ("yup, I have that same underwear quandry"). Plus, humor=yay.

Name: Eleanor
Date: 2005-11-01 12:39:20
Link to this Comment: 16745

Bridget Jones focuses on a woman and is enjoyed by women, thus probably a chick flick. I know I go into movies like Bridget Jones looking for entertainment, though I suppose commentary on race, class, gender and orientation enhance the entertainment value and make a movie more interesting to watch. I didn't see this movie dealing with these issues very much. In a way it could be said to address relationships between women and men, though if this was used as anything besides humor I don't see it (no real message there).
Humor is used to make Bridget Jones watchable. She might simply be annoying or depressing if her situation weren't treated humorously. I didn't find myself relating to her, but found myself trying to understand what she was going through, perhaps because I did find it funny and appreciate the humor with which she approached things in her life.

Name: KateC
Date: 2005-11-01 16:33:34
Link to this Comment: 16748

Is there more value than entertainment? I don't really know. I mean, it did address issues of relationships and bad decisions, but real life does that too. If anything it made light of addiction, depression, stereotypes, and unhealthy relationships. While this is entertaining, I don't know how truly beneficial it is.

Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-01 17:25:04
Link to this Comment: 16751

But isn't making light of real, sometimes unpleasant things a way humorous movies can get a message across? Only so many people will watch, say, a documentary about ways women drag themselves into bad relationships, but the audience for these movies is huge, and I think everyone watching gets that Cleaver's not a smart choice, that Bridget's over-obsessive about her weight, etc. Isn't this another way of getting the same message across?

Week 2 A League Of Their Own
Name: Amy
Date: 2005-11-02 10:30:19
Link to this Comment: 16758

One qualifier we talked about for a women’s sports film was there had to be a ‘victory’ in the end. The female protagonist had to overcome the adversity, mature, successfully navigate a relationship and find some level of happiness. Does this happen in A League Of their Own? Did Dottie drop the ball on purpose and if you think she did, of did not—is “the victory” achieved either way? Why or why not?

League Qs
Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-02 18:29:49
Link to this Comment: 16772

Victory - absolutely. First off, Dottie isn't the only protagonist, and there's something to be said for the fact that the viewer is invited to care more about and sympathise more with Kit. Secondly, Dottie becomes an equal to Jimmy, gets her husband back, plays in the last game of the World Series, gets props from the other old ladies, etc.

She definitely dropped it on purpose. Why else would the director have shown us numerous other scenes of Dottie making impossible catches, never dropping the ball, etc? Sure, she told the pitcher what to do - but if anything, I'd see that as her way of avoiding a confrontation. Being passive aggressive was an easier way for her to win, and when it came down to really being between the two of them, Kit running straight at her, she knew what to do. It mattered more to Kit; Kit was planning to go on in baseball and could use the "resume boost" of winning the Series; she had done so many awful things to Kit already in the name of competition. They both win (isn't that the ideal ending for a women's film, really?) - Kit in the area that she values most, baseball, and Dottie in the area she values most, her family and relationships. Kit wins the Series; Dottie gets to give something huge to Kit and then go home and have babies with Bill Pullman.

Legue of their Own Questions
Name: Claire
Date: 2005-11-07 08:49:09
Link to this Comment: 16849

A League of their Own is ultimately a movie about bittersweet victory. There is victory on a lot of levels for our characters; from personal growth to winning WWII, but along with all the victories is the price that must be paid for them. Yes, there is victory in A League of their Own, the women are able to be treated as pro ball players, Dotti earns Jimmy's respect, Kit manages to break away from Dotti's shadow. But each of these victories has a downside. Kit and Dotti grow up and apart, Dotti gives up something she secretly loves for her more socially acceptable desires, and although the women play damn good baseball and garner crowds of fans, the audience knows that it only lasts for a couple of years and then women are violently shoved out of the workforce and the playing field. This bittersweet vctory is highlighted by Dotti dropping the ball, either on purpose or not on purpose.
I would like to point out that the text is deliberately ambiguous about whether or not Dotti dropped the ball. I really do believe that there is no such thing as authorial intention, whatever the directors, writers, and even actors think about Dotti's actions is not as important as what each and every member of the audience thinks. Therefore, there can be no definitive answer or consensus, even within a single person about what 'really' happened. That being acknowledged, my interpretation of the scene is that Dotti did not drop the ball on purpose. The central conflict of the movie, and its driving force, is the relationship between the two sisters. The culmination of this conflict is the final confrontation in the world series. Both women want to win. Kit's desperate need to prove herself go up against Dotti's reluctant passion for the game, and for the first time in her life, Kit comes out on top. There are a lot of reasons that I believe Dotti did not consciously drop the ball.
First - It would cheapen Kit's victory if Dotti let her win. Kit is plagued by the fact that Dotti got her into the league, and that she can only ever be Dotti's kid sister. This movie is about Kit establishing her independence, and I think Dotti loves her sister too much for it to be built on a lie.
Secondly - Dropping the ball is throwing the game. I don't see it in Dotti's character to let her team mates, her coach, and herself down by doing something tantamount to cheating. Sisters do come first, but again, if Dotti intentionally throws the game for her sister it cheapens Kit's victory.
It is entirely possible that Dotti's subconscious faltered for a moment, or made a decision that she would never be able to do consciously. I like the idea that subconsciously she recognized that Kit's will was stronger and therefore the winner. But a subconscious decision is, by definition, not on purpose. If Dotti dropped the ball on purpose, I think her regert would be lessened after the game. But to come to terms with the fact that you subconsciously decided to lose, to give up fighting, that could bring out regret and grief in even the strongest character. And Dotti is strong, extremely so because she is strong for many people along with herself. But the forces of social expectations and money-making and politics are stronger than anybody in this movie, which is why everyone's victories are bitter-sweet and why it takes Dotti decades to come to terms with her one moment of weakness and all its consequences.

Name: Kate C
Date: 2005-11-07 18:08:47
Link to this Comment: 16862

As for victory, I'd say Kit definitely had one. Not only did she in some ways conquer her sister, but her own limitations as well. I'm less certain about Dottie. Dottie does almost nothing for her own sake throughout the movie. She is eternally serving people in one way or another, her sister, her husband... so it's hard to say. Perhaps the victory is in her willingness and desire to return to the team after leaving with her husband. Even so, Dottie seemed like she never did anything because she wanted to besides that, and it bothered me.

As for dropping the ball, I really don't think she did. In spite of what I said above, I think that dropping the ball would be disrespectful to her sister's abilities. As an athlete as well as a sister, I don't think that she would insult her sister's honor or work by just handing her a victory, even if she didn't know about it. Further, the way Dottie fell, it is quite possible that the ball was knocked from her hand by the jolt. If she dropped the ball intentionally, she brought shame upon both herself and her sister, by not playing fairly, even if it was to try to make Kit feel better. After all, the best player should always win.

Name: Eleanor
Date: 2005-11-07 18:16:48
Link to this Comment: 16863

I don't think Dottie dropped the ball on purpose- the way I see it, even if you're really really good, you can make a mistake (and it might be at the world series!). And though she might not have wanted to drop the ball, she could be happy for her sister. I think that there was an element of victory on the personal front- her interaction with Kit, her ability to do what she wants in the end, her relationship with the manager were all positives in the end, and we saw Kit win the game. Everyone's happy. There was victory on the field and on the relationship front.

Name: Jennifer
Date: 2005-11-07 22:32:55
Link to this Comment: 16869

I can’t see Dotti dropping the ball on purpose. The “victory” in that scene comes from Kit. It is Kit who won because finally beat Dotti. She proved that she had the skill to win on her own.

I can see her subconsciously dropping the ball, which again is a result of who wanted to win more. Dotti’s victory came when she came back to play. She did something for herself, and while pleased with the outcome of the game would not throw it in order to cheapen her sister’s win.

Ambiguous Texts
Name: Claire
Date: 2005-11-07 23:15:35
Link to this Comment: 16871

I watched ALOTO again last night and noticed something. In the final 'showdown' between Kit and Dotti we never get a clear view of Dotti's face. It's behind the catcher's mask and when she drops the ball, her face isn't even in the shot. We do not see the buildup nor the reaction to Dotti's dropping of the ball.
My interpretation of this is that the director wants us to decide for ourselves. It's deliberately left ambiguous about what Dotti was thinking, or not thinking at that moment.
Dotti's victory is also ambiguous. Are we supposed to take it as a victory when she comes back for the world series, finally owning up to her passion for baseball? Are we to take it as a victory when she and Jimmy achieve some sort of respect for each other? Are we to take it as a victory that she goes home and has kids, allowing Kit to finally break away from her shadow? I think Dotti's victory is the ultimately the victory of a life lived well and fully. When she comes back at the end to the field and sees her old team mates, her old fans, and finally her sister, the audience is given the picture of a woman who, in her own way, was able to do it all. She had a really strong daughter, a loving marriage, a deep relationship with her sister, and her time playing baseball professionally.

Name: Kate Calla
Date: 2005-11-08 16:27:26
Link to this Comment: 16880

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks that Dottie didn't drop the ball on purpose. I really think that as others have said, Kit's victory is only valid if Dottie did not drop it intentionally, and because of that, Dottie would not have dropped it on purpose.

As to Dottie's victory, I'm still scetchy on the topic. After all, she is a bit confusing. Aside from missing her husband, she never seems to fully know or do what she wants. She sort of goes where the wind takes her. Adter all, if she really didn't want to play baseball, couldn't she have just rejected it when she made the team and gone home? There was no stipulation that said she had to play for Kit to stay, just that she had to go try out, and she'd fulfilled that. If she really didn't want to be there, why stay? Why not just go home right away? She's a confusing character, and I don't all together understand her. For this reason, I find it difficult to figure out what her victory is.

Name: skeptic
Date: 2005-11-08 17:16:18
Link to this Comment: 16882

Yes, I do think that the female protagonist, Dottie, was able to overcome adversity, mature, successfully navigate a relationship and find happiness in this movie. In fact, all the women were able to achieve these things. It seemed that everyone, including the men, were victorious at the end of the movie. It was just about as happy as an ending can get. Everybody won in this movie. However, I do not think that Dottie dropped the ball on purpose as this would have cheapened her sister’s victory. Kit was the underdog throughout the entire movie and in order for Kit to be truly victorious at the end of the movie, for once she needed to be better than her sister. And if Dottie had dropped the ball on purpose, Kit’s victory would have been a fraud. So even though Dottie dropped the ball unintentionally, she still comes out feeling victorious because she has matured enough to realize that it is not all about winning the game. The fact that the game is taking place at all seems victory enough for Dottie. And Kit was obviously the most victorious, as she was finally able to prove that she was better than her sister.

Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-08 18:11:23
Link to this Comment: 16885

OK, I certainly agree it's meant to be ambiguous. But it seemed to me (admittedly without rewatching) that along with the aforementioned shots of Dottie never dropping the ball, etc, the camera zoomed in on her hand at the crucial moment, and there was a tiny pause before the ball rolled out. Combine that with her immediate happiness for her sister's victory, her choice to not continue in baseball, and so on, and it seems equally likely that she dropped it as not. I don't see how it cheapens Kit's victory, particularly; she'll never know, no one will ever know, and it's no more odd and fictitious that this scene would play out like that than that Jimmy would suddenly quit drinking.

Week 3 Pretty Woman
Name: Amy
Date: 2005-11-09 22:56:26
Link to this Comment: 16903

We have watched two very different 'chick flicks' and one women's sports movie. Why does Pretty Woman work - or not work as 'the ultimate chick flick? Does the power difference, class difference have an effect on why this movie works? Does the "fairy tale" come true aspect connect the movie to viewers? Is Vivian more of an ‘equal’ to Edward with or without her wig – ie ‘in character’? What does it say about the relationship and affecting the success of it being the ‘ultimate chick flick’?

Pretty Woman
Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-10 18:27:16
Link to this Comment: 16919

It works. You get everything: lots of romance (and actual relationship-building), a focus on interpersonal behaviors and relationships, a damsel in distress, a hero in distress, some fairly chaste sex scenes, a makeover.

I think it's the complete fantasy of the class difference that makes it palatable - they're both completely fictional, unrealistic charicatures in terms of their professional lives, so why not believe the follow-up lie that they can make it work?

Fairy tale - sure. People like marrying-the-prince stories and they love Horatio Alger stories (although she doesn't exactly work her way up).

She's not an equal at all, in any way. We can ignore that for the sake of enjoying it (or perhaps, the secret thrill of knowing she's by no means in control is why we like it), but it's clear that even when she appears to exercise power (leaving early) it won't last (he arrives and sweeps her off her feet). And, well, fairy-tale princesses rarely have control or power either - forced to do chores, sleeping, trapped in a tower, dead, etc.

Name: Eleanor
Date: 2005-11-14 15:31:09
Link to this Comment: 16979

I'm not sure what makes this the "ultimate chick flick", though I suppose it is a favorite. It works as a movie- it's charming, the two main characters have "chemistry" and are likeable. I don't think the fact of the class difference makes it work, though I imagine it might not have worked if done in a different way (if this were not a romantic comedy, perhaps).
The fairy tale aspect doesn't connect the movie to viewers, but it makes it something familiar and enjoyable- I have been exposed to fairy tales in story books and Disney movies since I was fairly small, and I enjoy them, though I don't believe them or connect them to my actual life. People do, as Molly said, like fairy tales. this fairy tale aspect probably contributes to this being the "ultimate chick flick".
I agree that Vivian isn't ever the equal of Edward. I think, however, that it may be a result of the fact that we enjoy the movie that this inequality isn't something of which we're necessarily aware all the time that we're watching the movie. I'm not sure what this says about Pretty Woman's status as the "ultimate chick flick", but I can't deny it's there.

Date: 2005-11-14 22:07:07
Link to this Comment: 16987

Well, I have to say, first of all, I really didn't like this movie at all. It was a bit too fairytale for me. and I suppose I can see how it is listed as a favorite chick flick, but as for being the ultimate, I don't think that's true. Perhaps it could have been for an older generation, but I think for ours, we need something with a bit more equality, and perhaps even a bit more reality. Cinderella just isn't what most girls picture themselves being anymore. And so I think in the current day, this can't be the ultimate chick flick.
I think that the closest Vivian comes to any equality with Edward in the movie comes when she does have the wig on, and her own clothing. As long as she is in her mode and costume, she has power, strength, and an idea of who she is and what she's doing. As soon as she takes off the mask of that persona, she loses all her strength. Although she never has any real power, she is more willing to fight fo herself and take change in her created persona, wearing the wig, than when she takes it off.
My real frustration is the lack of any give and take in this film. Just like Cinderella, the prince shows up, rescues her from her terrible life, gives her everything she wants, and she doesn't have to lift a finger- just be there and pretty. And she just accepts it, never questioning, and being pretty and good and benevolent. It frustrates me to call this the ultimate chick flick when there is no sort of empowerment of the main character. If anything, she becomes dependent on the male lead in the movie.

Name: kate C
Date: 2005-11-14 22:07:40
Link to this Comment: 16988

Sorry that last one was me ^^' I forgot to post my name

Pretty Woman
Name: Jennifer
Date: 2005-11-15 13:45:14
Link to this Comment: 16997

Personally, I don’t believe that Pretty Woman works as the “ultimate chick flick”. This is likely because the movie does not work for me. I don’t quite see the chemistry between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in this. (I can see it in other movies they have done together, but not here.)

My main issue was that I did not see Richard Gere’s attraction to Julia Roberts. He seemed to enjoy her, but he always seemed distant. We did not get any insight as to why he found her character attractive. There were all sorts of comments in class about the “chemistry”. I found the two to be distant. Richard Gere seemed to be trying to please Julia Roberts. I think I found the opera scene to be especially jarring because he told her that there are people who don’t like opera and those who do and let it become part of their soul. Julia Roberts seemed to be the one to let it into her soul, but Richard Gere didn’t he showed no interest in the opera at all. This just raised the question, what was the point of this scene? I understand that this is also just my adding to my personal problems with the movie.

I cannot quite get behind the idea of two people liking an idealized version of the other, only to have to change to become that idealized version. Yes, they save each other, but I feel that even though they need to rid themselves of some aspects of their personalities. For me this is mostly seen with Richard Gere; he spends his time working. I understand that he might not be completely happy with what he is doing, but he has put his life into it. He has destroyed other relationships because he is working. He has some sort of interest or love of it. I’m not saying that should be the only thing in his life, which is why it is important for him to find balance. I enjoy the scene at the beginning when he is working at the desk watching Julia Roberts watch TV. There can be a balance. I just see it harder than he had to give up the only thing that he had found important in less than a week.

I did enjoy the references to the fairy tale, and if I could get into the movie the right way it would make everything better. I enjoy the small aspects. The hero coming in on the white limo. It might have been better if it hadn’t been spelled out for us, but it still worked.

I do think that the two are more equal when Julia Roberts is wearing the wig. She has the power and equal footing. After that she is always in the world of Richard Gere, and from the ending she will end up staying there. I understand that she is being given a lot, but she is sill out of place and just trying to fit into the norms of this new life. The relationship does not allow her to be the person she was before. Even in the posters for the movie we see Julia Roberts with the red hair and hooker outfit. Does this limit the appeal of the movie as the “ultimate chick flick”? I don’t know.

Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-15 18:08:15
Link to this Comment: 17002

See, I thought he was quite interested; he just couldn't get past his normal mode of behavior (serious emotional distance, ie not knowing why his past flames left him). He not only found her attractive, he found her intriguing time after time, and so did the people around him (grandson/father guys, Bernie, etc), which reinforced his feelings.

Week 4 Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-11-17 14:35:24
Link to this Comment: 17050

Compare and contrast how Bend It Like Beckham is like (or not) Bridget Jones Diary and League Of Their Own.

Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-17 20:04:11
Link to this Comment: 17056

Glad I don't have to compare it to Pretty Woman! Let's see ... well, I don't think it's as romance-focused as BJD. Yes, that was a subplot, but sub is the word; 80% of the movie was about her relationship with her family, and the rest was split between her friendship with Jules and then the soccer/crushing on the coach aspects. I'd argue that altough it seemed to be a sports movie, sport wasn't a huge part of it. It was more like a Louisa May Alcott novel - the part we think of as being the main bit (soccer, or in LMA's case, plot) is really only there to advance the story the director wants to tell - a story about this girl and her family. That makes it a bit more like LOTO, with the heavy Dottie/sis focus, but again, soccer made up a surprisingly small part of BILB, while baseball was essentially every scene in LOTO.

To paraphrase what someone said in class, this isn't really a chick flick or a sports movie - it's a family film (and a damned good one).

Catching up
Name: Patricia P
Date: 2005-11-20 10:53:42
Link to this Comment: 17092

Week 1 Bridget Jones Diary

As it has been said earlier in the forum, this a story about a woman written for women. What I take to be more interesting, though, is that this is the story of a woman as seen through the female gaze. This is possibly the most important element that makes this movie a chick-flick. Bridget Jones’s character is complete with wit, insecurity, hope, and cynicism. What we come to love about this movie is the honest insight we get into her character because we see the world and all of the major characters in the movie through her eyes. It is the POV in this chick flick that sets it apart from the rest in establishing some of the funnier thoughts that women can relate to: i.e. whether or not to where the granny panties that will get you the man be embarrassing once you’ve got him, or where the ‘fancy knickers’ and do without the tummy control. I think this chick flick is complete with romance and suspense, our main character realizing something about herself, and the growth of all characters involved, along with their collective realization that loves conquers all. But what makes this movie important from the perspective of a woman or a woman studying chick flicks and sports films, is that it is told through the female gaze so we get a female perspective, and not just a female story.

Week 2 A League of Their Own

Both Dotty and Kit make this movie relatable to almost all women. But what I like best about this movie is that it really dealt with relevant women’s issues. It told the story of an area of society that women did not previously “belong” and gave several personal accounts of what that break into that arena of society felt like. Although some may argue that this movie was much more about the individual women’s trials and tribulations, their romances, etc. This movie really did highlight some interesting things: the way the women were only able to play in short skirts or not at all, the way the coach of their team felt slighted by being asked to coach a women’s baseball team, the “There’s no crying in baseball!” comment, and several other hints placed in the movie to remind us that this is a movie about women in baseball, and not just baseball. But ultimately, this is just a sports lovers story, even if our not being gender conscious. This movie has personal growth, perseverance, the big win at the end, and an overall emphasis on what it means to be part of a team and ‘one for all and all for one.” I loved this movie for all of the women’s issues that it touched on (the way they didn’t want their best pitcher to join because she was unattractive, etc.) and all of the great sports film qualities that it possessed, completely independent of its chick-flick qualities. There are many genderless themes that run through a truly great sports film, like discipline and team respect and making sacrifices to make the grade.

Week 3 Pretty Woman

This is the chick flick of all chick flicks. This movie, starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, has been one of my favorites for a long time. This movie is about true love conquering all. It is about both characters who will fall in love with one another needing to go through significant changes before they will work. And who is owed thanks for the significant growth, but the other person. And most often, the other person doesn’t realize how much they’ve changed the other until the very end. Think of Richard Gere- when he is able to step out onto the balcony after Julia leaves, this is a very symbolic gesture that he has learned how to be spirited and brave by watching Julia Roberts example. Julia Roberts, on the other hand, should accept his original proposal to put her up in a condo with an allowance if she had remained the same person that met him at his car on the street. But she too underwent many personal growth changes, making it impossible to accept that offer. In the end, love conquered all. They met each other in the middle. The story is a classic knight in shining armor story, only he saved her from a life of prostitution, and she saved him from the same.

Name: Claire
Date: 2005-11-21 06:52:31
Link to this Comment: 17113

'Bridget Jone's Diary' is similar to 'Bend it Like Beckham' if the viewer chooses to focus on the self-maturation themes of the two movies. Both movies use complex relationships with parents and friends to further the maturation of a young woman who is finding her feet in the world. She learns to stand up for herself and her ideals on some level, but even then the movie never loses sight of the fact that she couldn;t have done it without her friends and family. And for both Bridget and Jess, they have to come to terms with all the aspects of their life.

On the other hand, if one focuses on the sports as a vehicle for self-discovery and the impetus of the movie's plot, BILB is far closer to ALOTO. Part of the similarity is that Women's Soccer is trying to achieve the same sort of professionalism as Women's Baseball in ALOTO. So both sets of characters have to go up against society's expectations of girls and sports. In both films there are also familial expectations that could prevent the young women from playing their chosen sport. But the movies don't focus solely on sports culture, but on the relationships and friendships of teammates. In ALOTO, the central relationship is Kit and Dotty, while in BILB the central relationship is Jess and Jules. The strain in the first relationship includes physical competition while the strain in the second is purely romantic. Similarly, the reconciliation is easier in the second movie, where the two play for the same side and have the same chances ahead of them, than in teh first where the confrontation rankles years after it is over.

Catching up for Pretty Woman
Name: Claire
Date: 2005-11-21 07:07:34
Link to this Comment: 17114

We have watched two very different 'chick flicks' and one women's sports movie. Why does Pretty Woman work - or not work as 'the ultimate chick flick? Does the power difference, class difference have an effect on why this movie works? Does the "fairy tale" come true aspect connect the movie to viewers? Is Vivian more of an ‘equal’ to Edward with or without her wig – ie ‘in character’? What does it say about the relationship and affecting the success of it being the ‘ultimate chick flick’?

Viewing movies is extremely subjective, so what works for one person is radically different than what works for another. For someone else, 'PW' may be the ultimate chick flick. Personally, I like my chick flicks to have a little more 'grrl power'. Vivian is much more of an equal to Edward when she has her wig, costume, and make-up on. She controls everything, from driving the car to what color condom to use. But as soon as she takes off the persona, Edward controls everything from what she wears to where she sits. And she lets him.
I guess that the 'fairy tale' aspect of the movie may appeal to some viewers, everything ends up happily and token lip-service is paid to the budding feminism of 80s material culture. It certainly has landed the movie on the eighth grade girls' slumber party must-see list, well that and Richard Gere's good looks. I hesitate to use the words 'fairy-tale' because that implies that some sort of magic happened, more magic than scrubbing off the bad eye-liner and learning to eat with the right spoon. The trick that this movie plays on its viewers (every movie plays a trick on its viewers) is that the targeted audience identifies with Vivian. She is set up to the be the 'everygirl', the 'good whore', who has both the pleasures of the flesh and the moral high ground. She is so easy to identify with, especially when she gets everything she has every dreamed of, that the viewer doesn;t notice how little agency she has in her own life. Even Cinderella made her own decisions once in a while.

Bend it
Name: Kate C
Date: 2005-11-21 22:47:24
Link to this Comment: 17131

I think that it's hard to compare Bend it Like Beckam and ALOTO or BJD. The relationships are pretty unique out of all of the films. Yes, she has a crush on the guy and there's a conflict like in BJD, but it's totally different. And she is fighting for recognition and respect in the athletic world like in ALOTO, but from her family rather than society at large.

As far as relationship stuff, I don't really think that they are comparable between the movies. Or, at least, you would have to stretch. I suppose that Jes and Dottie both share roles that are subordinate to their sister's wishes. And both Jes and Bridget have meddling families who make their lives more complicated. But generally speaking, there aren't any solid comparisons to be made. I suppose the closest one could get would be of Jes and Dottie in terms of their relationships with Jules and Kit. Both end up in a conflict with their friend/sister because they are succeeding where the other isn't, even if unintentionally. Other than that, comparison is hard. I don't think any of the movies even really fall into the same genre, as someone said above.

Name: Eleanor
Date: 2005-11-22 15:33:53
Link to this Comment: 17142

I don't think Bend It Like Beckham is terribly similar to A League of Their Own or Bridget Jones' Diary. Like Bridget Jones, there is romance (though it isn't nearly as important a plot point in Bend it like Beckham), and like A League of their Own it follows women playing a sport, but unlike A League of their Own, sports are not the main point. Like a League of their Own, however, the relationships between players on the team (here that between Jess and Jules) are very important, and family relationships are a main point (like that between Dottie and Kit was in League of their Own). Overall, however, they're all enjoyable in different ways and take different aspects of life as their focus. Comparing such different movies is difficult.

Name: Molly
Date: 2005-11-22 18:15:45
Link to this Comment: 17147

Actually, that's a good point, above; BJD is also, somewhat heavily, about her family. They definitely have a point of comparison there: neither family understands the kid very well (the fathers better than the mothers), both can be construed as wanting the best for the kid but not being sure what the best is, both are somewhat frustrated with the fairly alien goals of the kid.

Question Week 6 on <3&Bball
Name: Andrea Cut
Date: 2005-11-30 12:36:43
Link to this Comment: 17227

How is the nature of the relationship between Monica and her mother representative of the cultural dichotomy that exists for female athletes who struggle to identify themselves as feminine and athletic? Is this same dichotomy present at Bryn Mawr? Is this exemplified by the title given to Bryn Mawr athletes: scholar athlete? What about the title woman athlete? Is the gendered adjective necessary? Why do you think society still needs to identify female athletes by their gender rather than just their commitment to a sport?

The other question on <3&basketball
Name: Kate C
Date: 2005-11-30 20:45:31
Link to this Comment: 17241

Love and Basketball examines the question of priorities. Which is more important, the sport and the pursuit of victory, or the relationship? How is the comparison handled differently in Love and Basketball than the other movies (ALOTO and BILB)? Which is right? Who is right about Monica's priorities, Monica or Q? Does it cheapen her sports(wo)manship that she no longer wants to play once Q isn't around? How does one reconcile the difference in priorities and find a happy medium? Did Monica do a good job?

Love and Basketball
Name: Molly
Date: 2005-12-01 07:26:26
Link to this Comment: 17256

"How is the nature of the relationship between Monica and her mother representative of the cultural dichotomy that exists for female athletes who struggle to identify themselves as feminine and athletic?"

Meh. I think the mom's problem (and the difference between them) was much more about standing up for herself - or not - than about gender roles. She had very little will of her own, but that's as much representative of housewives as the TV show is.

"Is this same dichotomy present at Bryn Mawr? Is this exemplified by the title given to Bryn Mawr athletes: scholar athlete?"

I think it's more to differentiate them from the rest of us, who are mere scholars, than anything else. And it's a not-so-subtle reminder that classes come before sports, though too many of my classmates seem to ignore that!

"What about the title woman athlete? Is the gendered adjective necessary?
Why do you think society still needs to identify female athletes by their gender rather than just their commitment to a sport?"

Well, when you're talking specifically about female athletes, you do have to specify female - it's just the same as when you're talking specifically about male athletes. I'm not exactly a sports girl but it seems to me that often this is one of those things that people tell us happens, but I don't really see it. When people talk about athletes, I - well, OK, I think about something else, but generally I'm not just thinking of guys.

But that "Lady Cougar" stuff does piss me off, I'll give you that.

Again, in a group of 3
Name: Patricia P
Date: 2005-12-03 14:59:25
Link to this Comment: 17281

Bend It Like Becham

I suppose the only thing that sets this movie apart for me is the family conflict. This, as was touched on above, is signifivantly diffrent from fighting society for acknowledgement. The main character, Jessminda comes to America to play soccer, which is in and of itself funny, but has to deal with all of the multicultural and multigenerational issues that arise out of her Pakistani background. This movie is filled with family conflict mixing in only alittle soccer, which was to be expected. I think this film would have more to offer to a class studying crossing over cultural barriers or issues of diversity, but I feel that this movie has little to do with women in sport- maybe its just about women in film in love and in conflict. Soccer just seemed to be the unimportant vehicle of the underlying story.

Somethings Gotta Give

The fact that we watched "Something's Gotta Give" under the title "chick flick" was a real eye opener for me. I have always considered chick flicks to be two outrageously beautiful people neatly falling in love just at the right moment with all odds against them but somehow it suddenly works so perfectly. This story, although at first it seems completely outrageous, is probably one of the most believable love stories there is to tell. The scenario is revulting, but classic really. I think what made this movie great were the actors, and the humility of the film. Both Diane Keaton and Jack Nichlson always give touchingly real performances, and this was just on one of the types of love that no one ever thinks to romantisize. I enjoyed this movie more than any other we've watched so far. It did make me realize though that if Amanda Peet happen to also be a soccer player, we may have been considering this a women in sport film, because both last weeks and this weeks movie were solely about relationships and the complexities of them.

Love and Basketball

I think this movie had more to do with Basketball that with love, or at least compared with Bend It Like Beckham's attempt to incorperate soccer into the movie. I loved both of these main characters, and thought that the story line really did justice to both love and basketball. I think that as far as the love story went, it was also very real in that the two characters needed to make practical decisions about sacrifices they would need to make for eachother's futures. I like this movie because it also showed, outside of the love story, that sometimes your biggest competitor can be the person that really makes you the most powerful athlete. There is something about that love/hate relationship, on the court, that made their relationship real. I think in any competitive sport or game, your competitors are your greatest learning tool, and you owe them all of your success. I think this movie really conveyed that. This was the ultimate women's film and sport film for me. I thought it gave equal reverance to both topics, and did so fluidly.

Name: Patricia P
Date: 2005-12-03 15:07:22
Link to this Comment: 17282

In response to Molly,

I do have thoughts on whether the title "Female" athlete or "Woman" athlete is nessesary. I think, as other groups who have been disenfranchised have done, that we need to take back the word female. Why would you even consider dropping the word female from athlete? You just want to be known as an athlete, right? Well, the term woman athlete or female athlete only connotates that you have in fact accomplished more than an athlete, by competing in a time in history where your game, or your ability, or your accomplishments were less valued. But you mastered your craft anyway. You achieved your goals anyway. I think to just wish to be called an "athlete" is to turn your back on how important the word "female athlete" has been in our history. Many women worked to make that an honorable term and i don't think we should strip it of its gender. The gender term only adds to the word "athlete" in a way that is true to history and conotes an added level of respect for the game and investment to quality against recognition. Who does it for the love of the game more than a female athlete?

Response etc
Name: Molly
Date: 2005-12-05 12:10:59
Link to this Comment: 17305

Reponse to Patricia:
I think it cheapens their accomplishments to need, or seem to need, an "extra" boost in nomenclature. Why is a woman who competes against women more impressive than a man who competes against men? Doesn't it level the playing field to treat them both as athletes, give them both the same recognition (and funds), etc?

Second set of qs:
"Which is more important, the sport and the pursuit of victory, or the relationship?"

To me it's never the sport (because, well, boring ...) but I think the sport mattered more to both Q and Monica. Consider: Monica was upset about losing Q but got on with her (basketball) life. It was only when it started to affect her enjoyment of the sport that she bothered to do anything about it.

"How is the comparison handled differently in Love and Basketball than the other movies (ALOTO and BILB)? Which is right?"

BILB was the same, I think; she got him in the end because it's a movie and we like that sort of thing, but the sport came first for her, clearly. In ALOTO it was the opposite: her husband came first, and only after she was sure he was back, safe, etc was she willing to take a little time out from her choice, married life, to spend some time with that other thing she liked, baseball.
Obviously Dottie's right; baseball's fine, but Bill Pullman's a fox. ;)

"Does it cheapen Monica's sports(wo)manship that she no longer wants to play once Q isn't around?"

No - see above. She did, in fact, play for years without him around.

"How does one reconcile the difference in priorities and find a happy medium? Did Monica do a good job?"

I don't play, so who knows? And yes, I think she did. She kept playing, and then she managed to get both.

Name: Eleanor
Date: 2005-12-09 11:58:33
Link to this Comment: 17359

I suppose the views that her mother expresses about what her goals are and the femininity of her daughter and her activities probably do represent some aspect of the problem of being feminine and athletic. I am not an athlete, so I cannot speak to the experience of the Bryn Mawr athlete. I think we say "woman athlete" because female athletes do happen to be women and to be athletes- I guess I don't really read anything into that.
Monica was able to find success in the sport and in a relationship that she valued- and in the end Q helped her continue to play basketball, the two parts of her life supported each other. This is a difference from the other sports films we have seen in which the tension between relationships and sports continue to be bigger problems. I think it is nice seeing Monica successfully achieve her goals in both areas.

Catching Up
Name: Jennifer
Date: 2005-12-13 00:00:29
Link to this Comment: 17382

BJD: This qualifies as a chick flick based on the most basic principle that it appeals more to women than it does to men. Women often want to be desirable, which is generally what Bridget was going for. She ends up going from what seems to be a complete overlooked to having two men fighting for her. It is this that women tend to enjoy and the prospect of someone wanting them like that greatly appeals to people.

It did used humor as a means of exaggerating certain aspects of everyday life and in the end looked at the idea of women as needing a man to be seen as fulfilled in life. It looked toward the idea of power struggle in gender roles.

BLB: This movie was similar to BJD in a way that they both used exaggerations as a humorous device for looking at the larger issues of gender, class, and ethnicity. (More similar as they were both British humor.) This allowed for the viewers to see how ridiculous the norms are. Both leads needed to grow to the point where they could stand up for herself. The goals were different. Bridget and Jess used different means to acquire similar things, though they seemed rather different.

In both LOTO and BLB the main character loves playing her sport, but has to decide what is most important to her. Both characters need to learn to provide a balance between this love and other obligations and are willing to give up what they love for family. The way the two characters show their love of the game is very different, mostly because Jess is not allowed to play the game the way Dotti is. Dotti’s struggle is much more internal than Jess’s which has outside pressures telling her that it is not appropriate to play.

<3 &B: I feel that the relationship between Monica and her mother, personally feels less about women athletes and the definition as feminine and more in terms of views on what traditional women’s roles versus more modern vies of women taking “male” roles. Both characters are doing what they love, which is not always the same for every woman. I keep thinking of a conversation that I have had with one of my friends who is similar to Monica’s mother, in wanting to pursue a career that allows her to put her family as more important than all else. Many women, especially at Bryn Mawr and this stage of their lives, are very career driven and tend to want to rise above the traditional feminine role, which is just as valid a life style. (Well, that wasn’t quite the answer to the question, but oh well.)

The dichotomy of feminine and athlete are portrayed in a struggle. Monica is looking for a balance between devoting herself to the sport of basketball. She is actually seen as being a more real character for not going subscribing to the traditional female roles in high school.

Personally, I feel that it is important to signify women athletes because I feel they are deserving of a different type of respect. I don’t refer to them as such all the time, but when describing things such as this, yes, I do feel that there is that important distinction. They are able to overcome the gender stereotype hindering their performance. They work just as hard as male athletes with less external reward. I applaud their efforts. They are athletes, just as male athletes are. There are important distinctions. I don’t mean it in a demeaning fashion.

Name: Claire
Date: 2005-12-13 22:45:12
Link to this Comment: 17390

How is the nature of the relationship between Monica and her mother representative of the cultural dichotomy that exists for female athletes who struggle to identify themselves as feminine and athletic? Is this same dichotomy present at Bryn Mawr? Is this exemplified by the title given to Bryn Mawr athletes: scholar athlete? What about the title woman athlete? Is the gendered adjective necessary? Why do you think society still needs to identify female athletes by their gender rather than just their commitment to a sport?

Monica's relationship with her mother was representative of her own relationship with her own femininity. As a young girl, Monica is quick to pick up on the inequalities in her parents' relationship, but it is only when she gets all feminine for the prom that she allows Q to know the depth of her feelings for him. At the end of the movie, it is only when her mother shows Monica that she believes in her that monica gets the courage to confront Q about their relationship. In a way, the movie tries to heal the dichotomy by letting Monica's femininity become a source of strength, but until she and her mother reconcile, Monica views her feminine side as her weaker side and tries to surpress it.
This dichotomy is present everywhere in our society, and Bryn Mawr is no exception. Scientists, actresses, office clerks, and athletes who are women will ultimately be confronted with a supposed choice; your career or your femininity, usually represented as having children. There is a stigma in our culture against women who bear children, seeing them as submitting to the ultimate definition of feminine, and therefore allowing their weakness and emotionality to control their lives. That prejudice is what is hiding under the surface of the phrase 'woman athlete'. Rather than seeing femininity, and all it entails, as part of a naturally strong and competetive person, it is seen as its antithesis, a softness which destroys a person's ability to function. A 'woman athelete' implies an athelete (masculine) who happens to have female genitalia. Athletes should be identified by their skill and strength, not their gender.

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