Women, Sport, and Film Course

Cosponsored by Athletics and Physical Education at Bryn Mawr College and the Exercise and Sports Studies Department at Smith College, with support from the Center for Science In Society at Bryn Mawr College and the Serendip website.

Course Home Page Faculty Schedule Web Links Bibliography Web Papers



Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Week 4 Questions
Date:  2003-02-22 09:35:56
Message Id:  4751
Please answer one of the three questions:

1. Is it advancement for women in sport, that the main character is the first woman on the cover of SURFING magazine? Why or why not?

2. (Same as week #1) What is the cultural ideal of women in sport? And how does it differ from men?

3. How does this film stereotype the main and supporting characters in this film?

Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  lily gataullina
Date:  2003-02-25 12:50:59
Message Id:  4830
i found it interesting how many stereotypes did the movie use. The small details, like that when all house keeping staff in the hotel (except the three main characters) were asian people, who are usually stereotyped as poorly educated immigrants, coming to the US to take the worse paid jobs. The digusting hotel room was occupied by the homosexual couple. This corresponds to still widely accepted belief in that homosexualism is "dirty." Beisdes, the behavior of this homosexual couple was very much like it is thought about by the hegemonic culture. The other stereotype (i believe) shown in teh movie is the contrast between intellectual and athletic abilities both of men and women in sports. Talent in surfing was contrasted to the inability to finsih high school. In addition, the football players were not represented as the most intellegent men either.
Name:  E. Fardig
Username:  efardig@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Blue Crush
Date:  2003-02-26 02:44:16
Message Id:  4842
Despite the overarching theme of competitive women in a traditionally male-dominated sport, the movie fell back on tried-and-true gimmicks (such as the fairytale romance and excessively skimpy bathing suits) and refused to branch out from stereotypes. Anne Marie has her supportive friends, but their characters are so underdeveloped that they are hardly noticeable as separate entities. When she needs help to continue surfing, Anne Marie relies not on the trio, but on a hunky football player who has barely just met her, for support. The filmmakers didn't do any better with the Matt's teammates. They are shown as stupid, unbelievably messy, rich, and self-absorbed. Their girlfriends are about as shallow as they come, the traditional picture of the "trophy wife" only in the relationship because of money. Although the movie should be given credit for its subject matter, the story and the characters left much to be desired.
Name:  Kathleen
Username:  ksulliva@smith.edu
Subject:  Blue Crush
Date:  2003-02-26 18:50:49
Message Id:  4849
In this instance, the advancement provides for the recognition of women in sports in general, but specifically, surfing, which is typically dominated by men. More importantly, for any woman to get a cover helps to serve as inspiration to other female athletes to aspire in surfing, as well as other sports. Although it provides an opportunity for advancement for women in sport, women athletes images are seen first from a sexist point of view. Instead of women athletes seen as independent, intelligent and strong women athletes, they are seen as sexual beings. Regardless of the myriad of women athletes, women athletes are viewed only positive as centerfolds or negative as Lesbians. Anne Marie was always wearing a bikini, instead of a surfing wet suit, which typically men wear when surfing. Moreover, Hollywood remains archaic in their inability to creatively write scripts that portray women as good athletes instead of sex symbols only to sell tickets and products. Hollywood always falls back on their old philosphy, which is that "sex sells." Additionally, in the ladies room scene it was "set up" as a "hen house" of women gossipping about Anne Marie's lifestyle and fashion thereby, further attacking women's self-worth.
Name:  valerie
Username:  vsorense@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2003-02-26 20:18:42
Message Id:  4850
i feel that the women are prtrayed in this movie is a sexual manner, just as womwne athelets are all portrayed. i feel that these womwen were protrayed as strong, but still made to be "marketed" to particular audience. would the lead character been half as interesting if she wasnt pretty? probably not. does she absolutely NEED to surf in a bikini? i would think that that would actually hinder her preformance, but what do i know right?
Name:  Lauren Weiner
Username:  lcweiner@mtholyoke.edu
Date:  2003-02-27 14:06:20
Message Id:  4864
1. Is it advancement for women in sport, that the main character is the first woman on the cover of SURFING magazine? Why or why not?

I have come to realize that there are many practices and occurrences in the institution of sport that both further and advance the struggles of groups of people. Sport, as an institution, both perpetuates and combats racism. Similarly, sport both perpetuates and combats sexism. The main character of Blue Crush being the first woman surfer on the cover of Surfing magazine is a prime example of this point.

It is an advancement for women in sport that there has been a woman on the cover of Surfing Magazine as the barrier has finally been broken. After finally breaking that ever so thick barrier, women surfers might have a slightly easier shot at making the cover--though, honestly, how many women have been on the cover of Sport Illustrated since Jackie Joyner-Kersee was the first female athlete to be featured on the cover of SI aside from the swimsuit addition (Women's Sport Foundation). Once that first woman makes it to a cover, it is no longer a male only feat.

On the perhaps more powerful flip side, the fact that the first women on the cover was not, in fact, an athlete, but instead, a beautiful actress in a surfing movie, can be seen as a blow to the world of women's surfing. Why not picture Keala Kennelly or another real time surfer who has proven the world of surfing does indeed involve women? Was Keala's hair to short, her ride not graceful enough for a woman? When the first woman on the cover of Surfing magazine is actually a surfer, this will be an advancement for women. This surfer will probably be a white woman, and yet another barrier must be broken. With each step forward that women in athletics take, a new hurdle develops.

Name:  Jillian Best
Username:  jbest@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2003-02-27 16:57:34
Message Id:  4871
It doesn't seem like very much of an advancement for women in sports for her to be the first woman on the cover of the magazine. She was good and she had a good ride. However, she did not win the tournament. She did one good thing one time. The other women surfers who have been surfing for years and doing better than she did had never been recognized. How can it be considered a good thing when the most probable reason she was on the cover is because she is cute?
Name:  Maura
Username:  mambuter@email.smith.edu
Subject:  question 1
Date:  2003-02-27 20:09:02
Message Id:  4878
I think that it is advancement for women in sport that the main character is the first woman on the cover of SURFING magazine, however, this advancement doesn't come without the creation of its own issues. There are a number of reasons that people might say it is not advancement: she is a sex symbol, she is not a real surfer but an actress, she isn't shown riding the wave but rather posing in a bikini... to name a few. ultimately, she is still a woman getting some sort of recognition.

i think women in sport is an example of how you sometimes have to work within an faulty system before you can deconstruct it. is it better for women to be sex symbols or not seen at all? does this represent at all issues for women who aren't white and beautiful? probably not. the main character got a lucky break and in the meantime managed to catch the eye of a football star for her "feisty" attitude. would this scenario have played itself out with an unattractive woman or a woman of color? possibly in the future, but not currently. there are many barriers that are made clear by the cover of the magazine. it perpetuates stereotypes, it gets men off the hook because they showed a woman so now they can feel like they are being equitable and good, the film itself has a number of racial and women related portrayals that are less than flattering. but in the long run, if enough women get on enough magazines it will make a difference, regardless of why they are on the magazine. like it was said in the film today about race and sport... you have to hang in even when getting clobbered to eventually get somewhere. so it's a start, and a good start, regardless of how many issues anyone could take up with the magazien cover.

Name:  Sara Watson
Username:  swatson2@email.smith.edu
Subject:  Blue Crush
Date:  2003-03-01 16:04:33
Message Id:  4886
1. It is hard to say whether or not the depiction of the main character on the cover of Surfing Magazine was really an advancement or not. I have a difficult time arguing one way or another. I recognize that it is not an advancement becuase of issues already raised--in the picture she isn't actually surfing, she manages to pose, she isn't wearing the typical surufing attire...etc. However there is also this theory that any movement for women is a positive movement. At the same time my gut instinct would tell me that there were so many things fundamentally wrong with the image that was going to be used for the magazine, that it wasn't making great strides for women in sport. Plus it was obvious that in the film there were other women that had been surfing and doing extremely well. Well enough to earn sponsorships--so why weren't they on the cover. If she made it on to the cover because of her ability, great, but if it was because she was the first one to come along that provided a "good image" for the magazine; then no, this is not an advancement.
2. Where women in sport stand right now, there is still ideals that are going to be expected from society. Even though a woman now has "permission" to compete, there is still the idea that she must do it with "grace" and all those other "feminine notions" that society likes to cling to. In comparison, men are allowed to be fierce competitors--they are allowed to be athletes only--where for women, sport is still mean to be only extracurricular.
3. Within Blue Crush it would be easy to point out the stereotypes found within each of the characters, but in particular the main character presented with a lot of her own. The main character was a "blonde babe" with what looked to be absolutely no muscles strong enough to surf; and she was of course an athlete second to playing a mother figure for her sister and being an inspiration to some guy.
Name:  Jillian Best
Username:  jbest@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  what is the cultural ideal of women in sports? Week 1
Date:  2003-03-02 19:15:47
Message Id:  4894
The answer to this question begins when you consider the cultural ideal of women in general. By more progressive society, women are expected to be able to easily deal with all aspects of traditionally male and female lives. They are supposed to be able to cook homemade meatloafs like our grandmothers, raise children with the enriching attention of our mothers, and be as successful in the business world as our fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers. They are also supposed to be on top of the domestic and working worlds while being thin and always having their hair in place. When women make the transition into the male world of sports, they are suddenly unable to keep their metaphorical hair in place. Women can't fully execute the demands of a family and a life in pro sports. No one can. But it is seen as a misplacement of values when a woman does not want a family. A woman is allowed to trade in her job for her family without much protest. A woman is not allowed to trade in her family for her job. Therefore, many female athletes are young and single. However, there are several old male athletes with wives and children. When female athletes marry, they retire. The cultural ideal of women in sports is to do it and get it done with before your real life starts.
Name:  Jillian Best
Username:  jbest@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  1. What is the meaning of the images used in the popular media that portray women? Portray women athletes? Week 2
Date:  2003-03-02 19:24:49
Message Id:  4895
It is true that lots of female athletes are photographed for magazines in a non-athletic manner to expose their "hidden" femininity. It is also true that lots of female athletes choose to pose nude for Sports Illustrated or other magazines. I think that the former is more detrimental to the image of female athletes than the latter. I think that the naked pictures of Brandi Chastain were very tastefully done. More of her body can be seen on the soccer field than in some of those pictures. She is not posing seductively. She is laughing. She is obviously not ashamed of her body or the pictures she is taking. Here at Bryn Mawr people seem to think that nakedness is ok. People streak all the time and nobody says, "They are degrading their own bodies." Is that because there are no men here to see them? Sure, men look at naked pictures of athletes and enjoy seeing lots of skin. However, the style of the pictures of many of these athletes is a lot more modest than the pictures that men are looking at in Playboy or Penthouse. And, if men are going to look, I'd rather they look at someone who could probably kill them on the basketball court, tennis court, baseball field, or soccer field than at some simple sex kitten.
Name:  Laura
Username:  ljpollet@mtholyoke.edu
Date:  2003-03-03 00:30:54
Message Id:  4905
1. Is it advancement for women in sport, that the main character is the first woman on the cover of SURFING magazine? Why or why not?

I believe that having a woman on the cover of Surfing magazine is just a small advancement for women involved in sport. While it is an important achievement for a woman to be shown on the cover, the way in which this woman was portrayed was not based on her talented athletic ability. Instead, Ann Marie was shown in her skimpy bikini and portrayed as a sex symbol. The media's focus remains solely on ways to gain and attract a strong fan base. Unfortunately, this is at the cost of women athletes and those women who aspire to become athletes.
Women are continued to be shown as nothing more than an object for men to stare at. Therefore, it is a small step in the right direction. However, giant leaps need to be made. We must begin to break down these gender stereotypes that have haunted our society and begin to show these athletic women just as they are. Pretty or not, muscular or not, fat or thin, display them for their talent. Let women receive recognition just as their male counterparts have earned.

Name:  Jenna Rosania
Username:  jrosania@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Blue Crush
Date:  2003-03-03 22:24:03
Message Id:  4924
I was very dissapointed to see at the end of the movie that the main character was the first woman to make the cover of Surfing magazine. The only value I could possibly see in this choice in the movie was for a nice Hollywood ending, and in my opinion, it undermined the values of hard work, talent and success. It seems like the only reason she made the cover was because she was pretty and young, maybe even because she was dating a football player; the reason could have only been superficial and having nothing to do with her actual sportsmanship or ability in the sport of surfing. If it was such a major accomplishment to make the cover as it was hyped up to be in the movie, the woman who helped the main character when she was panicking during the final competition should have made it, she appeared to have to the most success as far as we knew. It's frustrating that the main character didn't practice at all before the competition, the only part we ever saw her work out was during the opening credits of the movie. For the rest of the movie, she was surfing easier waves, or freaking out in a harder surf, or teaching a good looking guy how to surf during the time she should have been working for what she claimed she wanted. This movie seemed to say that people CAN thrive on good looks and a cheesy hard-luck background, that hard work for what you want isn't necessary because with these other qualities they can still be possible, and that you can f*** around in as many respects as possible and still have a happy ending. I was completely uninspired, I think that for this class, it is interesting to look at this movie as a product of the stigmas about sexuality and strength with respect to women in sports in our society. However, as a movie about women overcoming these stigmas, it is completely irrelevant and somewhat regressive.
Name:  Alice Goff
Username:  agoff@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Thank You
Date:  2003-03-19 17:00:52
Message Id:  5105
In an effort to "sum up" this class, I wanted to say how important I think a class like this is, especially at a place like Bryn Mawr College. Where the majority of our students are here for academic reasons, and athletic participation has the tendency to be periphery to a lot of us, it is important to realize these issues carry significance importance in how we define ourselves as women-- certainly not a marginal aspect of our education. The films that we have watched in this class have brought a lot to my understanding of women in athletics and how they are viewed by the outside world, and also made me understand that even for non-athletes, these are issues pertinent to our understandings of ourselves. Thank you to the facilitators of the course for making this course an option.
Name:  Alice Goff
Username:  agoff@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Week 4 response
Date:  2003-03-19 17:04:14
Message Id:  5106
In response to week 4:
I think it certainly taints the film that the main character is the first woman on the front of SURFING magazine, because it adds an element of the unatainable to her character. Think of all the women who surf who will never be on the cover of SURFING magazine-- are they just as legitimate? I think so. Also, being on the cover of a magazine is something endowed with an appearance oriented message-- it is a photograph, a physical representation, which has little to nothing to do with the character's actual success as an athlete.