Women, Sport, and Film Course

Sponsored by the Department of Athletics and Physical Education at Bryn Mawr College, with support from the Center for Science In Society at Bryn Mawr College and the Serendip website.

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About Forums:

This is a place to share stories, thoughts, and reactions to the films and discussions of the Women, Sport, and Film course. Think of it not as a place to "write", but rather as another form of conversation: a place to leave your ideas and feelings for the benefit of others, and a place to learn from the ideas and feelings of others. You should leave your thoughts here after each film showing/discussion, but are welcome to visit and revisit as often as you like. Remember the idea of the course is not to defend particular positions but rather to learn from each other as the course goes along.

Reading and Posting to Forums:

Because of the number of people involved, we have set up four separate forums for the course. Students have been randomly assigned to the forums. Forum names have been taken from historically prominent women athletes: Mia Hamm (soccer star and start of Title IX 'baby boom), Billie Jean King (notably the person who has done the most for women's sports-battle of the sexes in '72), the Williams Sisters - athleticism raised the bar of women's tennis, Constance Applebee - BMC's first director of athletics and who brought field hockey to the US.) You're welcome to read any or all of the forums, but please do your own posting in your assigned forum. To do so, click below on the name of the forum. Information about how to post will be provided there. You can similarly click on a name below to read other forums.

Weekly Forum Questions:

The weekly forum question will be posted by the moderator each Tuesday. Enter your assigned forum group and scroll to the comment "Week xx Question." Respond to the question by linking to "Post a Comment." Each student will be asked to write an initial comment, and then return to the site before the next class meeting, read the comments from the others and respond.



October 26

Introduce yourself to your 'teammates' - where you're from, interest in sports etc.


Do you think the film broke with traditional narrative? Was it able to sustain it? Why is it important/ interesting to look at women's sports films in relation to conventional narrative?

November 2 A League Of Their Own: The movie’s characters, women’s baseball players, by virtue of the sport (baseball) and participation in professional athletics, immediately challenges the ‘typical narrative style’ of a mainstream Hollywood movie. But, the story and the role each character plays falls within a range of supporting the narrative and challenging it:

1. Where does Dottie’s character fit?
2. Does the role of the ‘baseball agent’, in his colorful language mock the narrative, providing an easy comparison to the role the players assume?
3. What things did Penny Marshall, the director, do --to challenge the stereotypical role of women in mainstream films?
4. Do you think Dottie purposefully dropped the ball in the last scene so her sister Kit could be the hero, the role she had longed for? How does that last scene play into your thoughts on the narrative?
November 9 Rocky: What were you left with at the end of the movie, what was the message and what images were woven together through-out the movie to create the final message? Why was it important to use names like Rocky, the Italian Stallion, Appolo Creed, Adrianne, and Paulie (Adrian's brother) how does the character name advance the movie plot?
November 16 Girl Fight: What did the movie say? What images supported the message? Did it challenge the traditional narrative?
November 23

Pumping Iron II is a complex film with multiple themes, images and conflicts. The most obvious is the question of what is feminine and what is masculine. Looking beyond that - identify other questions, themes and how are they played out in the movie? What was the image/scene which impressed you the most- which stood out as significant. In the end, what are you left questioning and who/what prompted the question?

Bev, Carla and Rachel were the central figures - but what did the role of Laurie symbolize and why was her role important to the movie?

November 30 Bend It Like Beckham: What supported Jess (other than Joe and Jules) and her quest to play soccer - to persevere over the objections of her family? What images did the director use? If you directed the movie what would you have done differently? What message were you left with-- what message would you have liked to be left with?

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