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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 22:23:52
Link to this Comment: 16641

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?

Name: Dana Bakal
Date: 2005-10-27 12:33:26
Link to this Comment: 16663

It's a chick flick because it has romance, love conflict, crying, etc, but it does adress issues of gender. Bridget is very stereotypically female- unsure of herself, depends on chocolate for emotional help, her female friends are catty and gossipy and do not give good advice. Then there's the addition in the film of the gay friend- it's like they think he's the same as a woman, though he dosent appear too much.

Name: Lizzy
Date: 2005-10-27 19:09:24
Link to this Comment: 16671

Bridget Jones' Diary is a chick-flick for all the wonderful reasons that a chick-flick is a chick-flick. It makes us laugh when we want so badly to cry, and makes us cry when maybe we have been laughing too hard to notice that there is more to the film than just humor. Out of this film, we get to peek into the life of a most honest woman, and to share in her most honest emotions: ambition, heartbreak, regret, sexuality, and happiness. As far as its attention to other issues such as race and class, the movie falls a bit short. In terms of gender, it really is a movie about a woman, but not so much about the role of women. This film is successful in what it was meant to do. Let's just enjoy it for that.

Bridget Jones Diary
Name: Sarah Mack
Date: 2005-10-30 19:47:48
Link to this Comment: 16703

Bridget Jone's Diary has to be one of the most quintessential Chick Flicks known to man - there was the attractive, slightly 'overweight' (though, perhaps not according to the real world), emotional, lonely, 'in-need-of-a-man', quirky woman with whom the (at least female) audience could easily identify. It had the themes of a woman in a gender-isolated job (secretary, doing PR work, underling to the Male power-figure) who pines after the 'hot' male boss, and finally a realization of her day dream occurs and she find herself gallavanint with her sexual cohort in some out of the way english country club, who turns out to be a poly-amorous, exlpoitive, needy jerk. BJ then, as she is want to do throughout the film, finds herself 'overindulging' in food, alcohol, and cigarettes as comform until her prince charming comes along to save the day.
This most definately brings up the power-inequality between women and men at work, and is manipulating the stereotype that 'every woman needs a man', although it does employ, hoever briefly, the 'a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle' paradigm in BJ's relationship with her friends. BJ's triumph in her denouncement of the boss's exploitation of her is a come-lately if not weak solution to her somewhat weak character that is obvious throughout the film.
In short, good film, I admit, however grudgingly, that I enjoyed the film - however it definately brought up a few issues I have with how the media protrays a women protagonist.

Comment on Lyzzie Comment
Name: Sarah Mack
Date: 2005-10-30 19:50:27
Link to this Comment: 16704

I agree that we 'need to enjoy' these types of movies, and perhaps not over-poltiicize things (as I am want to do) but it is important to be aware of how women are portrayed in the media - because it is a phenomenon that affects everything from collective conciousness to politics and law.

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-10-31 14:34:06
Link to this Comment: 16726

I think the film really does look at gender roles ins coiety- as was noted above, the place in the workplace, the reliance on different coping mechanisms than men use. However, the stereotypes in the film made ut not so great for really adressing the issues- Bridget is very female stereotyped- needy, unceration, dependent on men. The men are too- One is the bad boy cheater and one the marriage material good guy. The story is fun and involving, but maybe dosen't explore the gender role issues it brings up in a full manner.

Dev.s Comments ! Part One
Date: 2005-11-01 17:17:45
Link to this Comment: 16749

I think BJD is a chick flick because it deal about relationship issues and the issue of women who want to be in a relationship and find themselves singel. This is a problem for girls of all ages, races, genders and orientations. SOMETIMES YOU JUST DONT WANT TO BE SINGLE! I feel it uses humor to diffuse tension but I feel that this is the underlining message of the movie.

Dev's Comments Part Deux
Date: 2005-11-01 17:20:22
Link to this Comment: 16750

I think that gender roles are not whats meant to be explored here. I know that that might be missing the point but I feel that there are some movies where that is the point and some where its not. Like we wouldn;t be talking about gender roles in disney movies. But anyway if you really want to talk about them bending the gender roles we could talk about how if twas the mom who left the dad and had an affiar and he was the one who sat home lonely and sad and ate and drank. See.....I bet no one remembered the dad huh?

Fun, but not impacting
Name: Ana Calver
Date: 2005-11-01 18:37:45
Link to this Comment: 16755

I enjoy chick-flicks like Bridget Jones' Diary, taking the extraordinary circumstances or serendipitous encounters with a grain of salt. Still, they offer little beyond entertainment, not meeting the cathartic processes of a weighty tragedy nor the personal/social enlightenment of a strong drama or documentary.

In my opinion, a good movie produces a reaction beyond the "aww"'s and "ahh"'s of chick flicks; you will think about it the next morning, mull it over on your way to class, and maybe talk about it with a friend over lunch. Ideally, it will lead to a greater consciousness about your identity in position with others in society. These are the movies that address the issues of race, class, gender, or orientation in new and sometimes painful ways, delving deeper into the human psyche and leading to true questioning of self, circumstance, and place.

Week 2 A League Of Their Own
Name: Amy
Date: 2005-11-02 10:31:32
Link to this Comment: 16760

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?

Dev Comments Part 1
Date: 2005-11-02 11:53:35
Link to this Comment: 16762

I think that the main relationshion was the one that grew between Kit and Dottie, they both matured a little and found out more about who they were. The opportunity for them to play baseball gave them the chance to have these experiance ans learn and grow.
I think Dottie wanted the win less then Kit. I think on some level she meant to win but knew that kit wanted it more and loss the edge that would have allowed her to keep from dropping the ball. I don't think she did it on purpose, but there was a reason for dropping it. In the end I think they achieved the victory that they needed. Dottie got to see her sister grow and have a sense of self worth outside of her sisters shadow. Kit got the feeling of winning and finially being worth someting. I think everyone wins in the end.

Date: 2005-11-02 14:39:08
Link to this Comment: 16763

I believe that Dottie could not have dropped the ball on purpose at the end. The film, while not about romance between a man and woman, was about relationships- especially the one between Kit and Dottie. Kit wanted to play ball, wanted the win, and Dottie did as well. In the end, Dottie has to keep playing her best in order for Kit's win to mean anything, to be true. Dropping the ball on purpose would be cheating her sister out of her growth in the fiilm, leaving her in a position of always one step below, which is just where we started, and is therefore narratively impossible. In the relationship film, people grow and change, so if we start and end in the same place we have failed to tell the story.

Name: Dana Bakal
Date: 2005-11-02 14:39:50
Link to this Comment: 16764

oops, tha above comment was me, forgot to put in my name.

Name: Lizzy
Date: 2005-11-03 14:00:16
Link to this Comment: 16801

This film absolutely ends with victory, but perhaps not the specific kind of victory we expect to see in a sports film. Yes, one team wins, but the most poignant victories are those of every woman on every team who gain important, lifelong relationships, and the opportuntity to represent the significance of the American woman. I agree that Dottie probably did not drop the ball on purpose, but in doing so she was able to achieve what was in her heart. She wanted the best for her sister because she loved her, and her own victory was to see Kit get what was most important to her. Dottie had a life outside of baseball. For Kit, baseball was life, and more than anything Dottie wanted her sister to have happiness and satisfaction with her life, just as she did.

Devon's Comnets 2
Date: 2005-11-03 16:35:21
Link to this Comment: 16803

I like what's said above about finding the victory in your heart. I agree the the movie did end with Victory but the personal kind and not just winning the game. She;s right in that Basball was everything to Kit and not to Dottie and in the end they all got what they wanted and they still stayed sisters and loved each other.

self esteem struggle
Name: Whitney Ri
Date: 2005-11-04 16:21:49
Link to this Comment: 16812

Bridget Jones' Diary qualifies as a chick flick because it's got the internal struggle with self esteem (specifically, the main character is usually convinced that they are going to spend the rest of their life in lonely misery until they are shown, by a man, that this is not the case). To qualify that, there are some chick flicks that do not have a man saving the day - but there is usually a dependence on friends as validators (in replace of the man). When I see chick flicks, I see an internal struggle with self esteem that is exhibited externally through dating (usually), and in turn internalizing these dating failures as a failure to be an interesting or attractive enough person. In Bridget Jones' Diary, she's miserable and "fat". I found Bridget's self deprecation very much endearing, but I think generally in all chick flicks there is a tendency to generalize the idea of feminity rather than examine it and turn it on its head. One of the wonderful qualities of chick flicks is that they show a world in which people can fail and get back up - the message seems to always be, "you will find someone who will love you." And while over the top sometimes, this is a message that serves a cathartic purpose for viewers.

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-11-07 23:31:01
Link to this Comment: 16872

in response to the above comments- the personal victory in women's sports films is at odds with the almost always huge team victory in men's sports films. Even within the genre of the sports film, there are gendered differences. A men's film ending with the main team losing would not end in victory, but because of the interpersonal growth in the women's film, both sides can win.

Shared Victories
Name: Ana Calver
Date: 2005-11-08 13:50:40
Link to this Comment: 16878

Dottie advises the pitcher to throw high balls because she knows that is Kit's weakness: she sets an even playing field for Kit among the rest of the women. But when it comes to Dottie herself, she makes allowances for Kit, dropping the ball to grant Kit the victory. We see these series of sacrifices throughout the movie, beginning with her participation in the league in order to guarantee Kit a chance at trying out for the team.

Dottie knows, better than anyone else in the stadium, how much winning the World Series game means to her sister, and her sister's glory becomes her own. This double-edged victory is emblematic of the relationship between the two, adding a subtlety to the triumph that we might not witness in a typically "macho" film. In this case, Dottie does not need to be raised upon her teammates' shoulders to feel fulfilled, suggesting that movies oriented towards women are less "black and white." There are fewer clear-cut dualities of "good" and "evil," as a definitive loser is not only unnecessary but also unrealistic within this context.

Week 3 Pretty Woman
Name: Amy
Date: 2005-11-09 22:57:27
Link to this Comment: 16905

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’?

Devs Comments
Date: 2005-11-10 17:22:32
Link to this Comment: 16918

Well I don't think it's the ultimate Chick Flick, I think 'Steel Magnolias' has the franchise on that. I do however think think that when the wig comes off there is an equality becuase she lets him inside the real her. I stand by my comment that this is more of a romantic flick because of how they each share very personal things with one another besides sex. WHy would he take an employee to the opera? There was no business there, that was a date....that was something special that he shared with her and I think that that levels the playing fieldI believe that this film works becuase it combines the aspects of a good relationship with a little bit of fairy tale magic.

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-11-11 09:51:03
Link to this Comment: 16929

I don;t know if I would call it the ultimate chick flick. It dosen't have as much overt romance, the element of men as basically objects of romance, the periods of crying and being apart. This is a relationship movie, sure, but maybe not a chick flick. Or maybe it is the mother of all chick flicks and the rest have gotten more sappy as the genremoved forward. Certainly the fairy tale aspect is part of what makes the story appealing- after all, these fairy tales have been in our minds for hundreds of years,

Name: Sarah
Date: 2005-11-14 21:52:16
Link to this Comment: 16986

I dont know if Pretty Woman is the ultimate "chick flick" - although it does have those themes of the down-and-out princess rescued by the gallant male hero... but I do think that it, indeed talks about women empowerment and not 'settling for less'. Vivian is a sex worker, and she has been living on her own, on the streets, for quite sometime when Edward comes screeching into her live on hollywood blvd. From the beginning, it is clear that Vivian is the experience, street-savvy, self-efficient woman, expert in her own sphere while Edward finds himself in over his head, sporting around in a little fast car on the wrong side of the block. Edward may be the power-broker, and Vivian may not be as educated, but it is clear that V. is a self-sufficient woman who will not be mollified by half-assed offers like Edward gave towards the end of the film.

Name: Lizzy
Date: 2005-11-15 00:02:03
Link to this Comment: 16990

I also don't know if I'd call Pretty Woman the "ultimate" chick flick, but as I made very clear in class, as cheesy as it comes off at some points, I think its a pretty amazing movie in the way in which the connection between the two main characters is expressed. Unlike most chick flicks, where we oooh and ahh when the man and the woman have the big kiss with proves their love, in this film, emotional connection is expressed through verbal communication and touch. Vivian may be a prostitute, but at least in Pretty Woman we experience the connection between two people through something other than a physical act.

Devons Cmments Part 2
Date: 2005-11-15 18:12:06
Link to this Comment: 17003

I agree that this movie like Lizzi said is really a good showing of a connection between people. I think that in the end the ability to show a connection between people without the physical is more romantic then not. I think that it does the trick and makes a better film.

Week 4 Bend It Like Beckham
Name: Amy Campbe
Date: 2005-11-17 14:36:28
Link to this Comment: 17052

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

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-11-19 10:44:37
Link to this Comment: 17075

In response to the earlier pretty woman comments- the physicality and chemistry between the actors really does make it more romantic and intense, but it also puts it apart from other chick flicks where the romance is at a distance until the big kiss. I like it better, personally, because you can see the relationship growing nonverbally, and it seems more real and basic.

Devons Comments 1
Date: 2005-11-21 11:42:20
Link to this Comment: 17117

I think that BILB is like a League of their own in that is shows how conflict between women is sometimes more complicated then conflict between a man and a women. I don't think that that is as obvious in Pretty Woman or BJD. I also think that sometimes the relationships shown between the women are the more meaningful ones. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance but being a sister and a friend I know that sometimes those relationships just mean more, and will last longer then any relationship had with a man.

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-11-21 12:52:21
Link to this Comment: 17119

BILB has elements of both A League of their own and of BJD. It has romance between our protagonist and a man, but it also heavily features relationships within the teambetween the women. I think this makes the film fuller, contrasting how women relate to different people in their lives. It also adresses relations with parents, which we have not seen in the other films, but which can be a very important part of peoples lives.

Name: Sarah Mack
Date: 2005-11-21 20:41:25
Link to this Comment: 17126

I have to say that, guiltily, I enjoyed Bend it Like Beckham immensely. I think that it certainly did have the qualities of a chick flick; the romantic underpinnins, as WELL as the friendship/comradery between women. In addition, it also had all the trappings of a sports film - adversity overcome by perseverence, tenacity and skill, leading to an audience-friendly outcome, that is, that our protaganist(s) gets what he/she/they deserve.

Date: 2005-11-21 20:43:33
Link to this Comment: 17127

I almost forgot! Although it was similiar to ALOTO and PW, it also differed in that there was a cultural/multicultural aspect that was introduced into the film, and I really enjoyed that - the film was able to invoke the reality (albeit in a watered down, comical form) of race relations in G. Britain...

Name: Lizzy
Date: 2005-11-21 21:25:31
Link to this Comment: 17130

I agree that it is the relationships between the women which make this movie different and more profound than some of the other films we've seen. The relationships of women, teamates, friends, sisters are clearly deeper than the storybook romances of Bridget Jones and Pretty Woman. Perhaps this is why women's sports films such as Bend it like Bekham and A League of Their Own maintain more critical acclaim and credit than the average "chick flick".

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-11-22 18:36:24
Link to this Comment: 17148

I agree with the above comments- the reality of the relationships between women are what makes these films really good. Maybe this is part of why I generally don't enjoy chick flicks as much- the relationships in them seem less true

It's A Precise Formula
Name: Ana Calver
Date: 2005-11-27 08:08:56
Link to this Comment: 17168

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

Bend It Like Beckham (BILB), A League Of Their Own (ALOTO), and Bridget Jones' Diary (BJD) are each classified as chick flicks by all of the defining characteristics we discussed in class; however, each stands on its own, profiling different aspects of women's lives.

BILB is a showcase of the new generations' aspirations: women who can play sports professionally to a cheering crowd that believes in them. While this may sound much like ALOTO, the films are distinguished by the relationships that are most fully explored. BILB is first and foremost about friendships--Jasminda with Tony, with Jess, and to a certain extent, her coach as well. ALOTO develops the bond of teammates, with a focus on the special connection of sisters. In a different spin, BJD concentrates on a middle-aged woman's search for romance in the form of sex, love, and commitment.

Although the films grapple with different relationships, each boils down to similar formulas of hardship followed by triumph, the satisfaction of our respective heroines--albeit briefly--becoming our own.

Devons Comments II
Date: 2005-11-27 18:12:02
Link to this Comment: 17172

I like what Anna said about their being a formula about truimph. I also like how each of these movies is looking into how women's lives are changing and uses that to makes each of these films special.

Question Week 6 on <3&Bball
Name: Andrea Cut
Date: 2005-11-30 12:38:10
Link to this Comment: 17229

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?

other <3 & Basketball question
Name: Kate C
Date: 2005-11-30 20:48:16
Link to this Comment: 17243

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?

Date: 2005-12-02 03:07:58
Link to this Comment: 17270

I think that in love and basketball, and in many other movies in which a woman is the protagonist (or at least a main character) there is always some sort of conflict between her representation and knowledge of self as an athlete and also as a woman.

One cannot deny that there are 'gendered expectations' and that the characterics that are heralded in an athlete are not necessarily supported or cultivated in women.

Name: Dana
Date: 2005-12-02 12:24:17
Link to this Comment: 17271

The gendered presentation af athletes is mentioned in all of the sports films we looked at. As long as women are expected to be p[retty and discreet and quiet, we will continue to have to modify the word athlete with female of scholar, so that the women playing are still considered real women. Its unfortunate that our society thinks this way, but it does. Monica's relationship with her mother is representative of society's relationship with stron women and female athletes- it dosen't really approve.

Sarah (paper)
Date: 2005-12-03 15:52:46
Link to this Comment: 17284

Women, Sports and Film
Amy Campbell

What are the “essential” characteristics of a Chick Flick? of a Sports Film?
How are these played out in the films we watched?*

Throughout the past few weeks, we have been exposed to a number of mainstream-media films which employ stereotypes, characteristics and themes related to either the quintessential ‘Chick Flick’ or sports film. In many of these movies, such as Bend it Like Beckham, the director artfully incorporates characteristics of both of these film genres.
In examining what makes a ‘Chick Flick’, there are certainly some almost invariable qualities. In many of these movies, such as in Bridget Jones’ Diary, or in Pretty Woman, there is a female protagonist embroiled in some sort of conflict or another. In Bridget Jones’s Diary, a nearing-middle-age slightly ‘overweight’ (as the movie portrays by her eating habits and self-perception) is feeling trapped in her lonely quest to find a suitor; in her eyes, a veritable ‘prince charming.’ This conflict is then mitigated by the presence of a promising, handsome, charming man who’s purpose (at least in the intents of the movie), as it turns out, is to valiantly rescue our female protagonist from her impending doom of “spinsterhood”. However, as it turns out, our Prince Charming is characteristically flawed (as he usually is in one way or another in these movies) and our female protagonist (Bridget, in this case) must somehow sublimate all of her emotional/physical hurdles and somehow undergo a personal revolution in order to reverse the roles of dominance in the movie. This theme is found in Pretty Woman, in that Vivian has found herself in the beginnings of being overcome by the hardship of sex work and ‘street life’. Richard Gere, our prince charming, come screeching to a halt in front of our female protagonist and we are led to the hope that perhaps this successful, wealthy business is somehow the answer to all of Vivian’s prayers. And yet, in the end, Vivian (like Bridget) finds herself in a situation in which her pride and sense of self-worth is compromised and challenged, and she has to make the choice between “settling” for less than she wants and walking; and like out heroine in Bridget Jones’s Diary, she chooses to retain her self-pride. Aside from this interaction between the capitalizing on gender stereotyping and at best trite attempt at ‘female empowerment’, these quintessential chick flicks employ one of the most powerful tools available to woo their mainstream audience of mostly-females: a happy ending. These themes of personal redemption and empowerment hold true to the chick flick with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson Somethings Gotta Give.
In Sports Films, such as Bend it like Beckham A League of Their Own, and in Love and Basketball, there are themes of conflict, yet it seems as though rather than the focus being on interpersonal conflicts between the protagonist and another character (although there is, undeniably, very strong subplot employing this theme in each of the movies) the conflict seems to lie on some personal or (as in the attainment of a singular personal goal) larger-scale issues, such as the winning of the final series, and keeping the women’s league open in A League of Their own, or the rise of the female protagonists in Bend it Like Beckham to a professional league in the states. In these sports films, issues of gender roles, gender dominance and masculinity vs. femininity arises. In A League of Their Own for example, the women were mandated to wear skimpy skirts and impractical uniform in order to appeal to a general audience who appreciate not the talent of these women but rather look to objectify these women as sex objects and spectacle. It could be argued that in our society, today, we continue to do these very things. Women athletes are currently still judged on the basis of their femininity and are subject to scrutiny in ways that male athletes are not.
Therefore, the phenomenon of the ‘intermingling’ of both Sports Film and Chick Flick themes in the same movie is something interesting – when the subject of these movies is female, and the main premise of the move is a sports-centered themes, there is almost always an undercurrent of love and sexual relationship. In League of Their Own the conflict between Dottie’s involvement in the team and her relationship with her husband and desire to fulfill her ‘duties’ as a wife is a salient example of this; in Bend it Like Beckham, there is a love triangle conflict between the two female protagonists and their mutual love interest, their coach. Thus, one must look at these Chick Flicks masquerading as Sports Films and be critical of the messages the media is sending about women in the sports and athletics arena; what is the movie portraying as the true value of these women? As love objects, or as athletes?

last half of comments from Devon
Date: 2005-12-03 19:22:07
Link to this Comment: 17285

I think the point of Love and BBall was another version of how to balance victory, love of the game, and the relationships that make it meaningful. I think the important thing is how the movie balances those things and if it's believeable vs if they choose to put something one over the other.

last Comments from Devon
Date: 2005-12-03 19:25:20
Link to this Comment: 17286

As far as what sarah said about gender expectations, I think shes's right. I think that it's hard to be all kinds of women at all times. I do however think that now it's possible to own one kind of woman, like a mother, scholar, athelete, etc.

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