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 PageFacultyScheduleWeb LinksBibliographyWeb Papers



Name:  Amy campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  forum question
Date:  2002-02-07 09:31:29
Message Id:  846
Women and Sport Film Course
February 6, 2002

History of Women's Sports Forum Question

1. write a brief bio so others in your forum may know something about you. Interests, major where you are from etc.

2. In the book, Women, Sport and Culture by Susan Birrel and Cheryl Cole they write:

"At the broadest level, the debate over Title IX and public policy has completely avoided questioning the sex-role polarization that sports creates and the long-held belief that sports is a masculine domain. Though social scientists and public policy makers are content to leave to philosophers and radical theorists any questions regarding the ultimate nature of the human experience, they do so at the cost of leaving a vacuum to be filled by the dominant cultural and institutional definitions that have been shaped by men's values, men's understandings of the world, and men's experiences. Women's alienation from sport, their indifference to it, and their reluctance to enter it stem in large measure from the fact that, as it has existed historically, what sport celebrated, what sport offered, what sport demanded, what sport rewarded do not reflect much of women's experience of the world"

Please comment.

Name:  Meredith Jason
Username:  mjason@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  History of Women's Sports
Date:  2002-02-07 14:17:29
Message Id:  852
1) My name is Meredith Jason and I'm a senior Economics major at Bryn Mawr. Although I have never been on a sports team, I do work out on my own. I'm a certified spinning instructor and love teaching spinning. I also like weightlifting.

2) Regarding question #2 about the debate that Title IX has not been successful in making sports an equal playing field for women, from my experience, I don't believe this is so. Many women are involved in athletics. In the Olympics, men's and women's competitions receive equal attention and support. If women decide not to participate in sports, I think this is because they do not have the interest or were never pushed to play sports as they were growing up. I think society places more pressure for men to participate in athletics than women.

Name:  zoe
Username:  zmeyer@smith.edu
Subject:  forum question
Date:  2002-02-07 15:40:52
Message Id:  854
1. My name is Zoe Meyer and I'm a first year at Smith. I was a gymnast for 12 years, from the time I was 6 until I graduated high school last year. I participated in private club gymnastics until 8th grade and then I joined my high school team. Now at Smith I'm on the diving team.

2. "Women's alienation from sport, their indifference to it, and their reluctance to enter it stem in large measure
from the fact that, as it has existed historically, what sport celebrated, what sport offered, what sport demanded, what sport rewarded do not
reflect much of women's experience of the world"
I don't know whether or not I agree with this statement. Sports, for a long time didn't represent the "woman's experience of the world" but I think it's flawed to say that that is the reason women don't participate now. I think that Title IX has given women the opportunity to participate in sports, the chance to do something that they weren't ever able to do, but that doesn't mean that women who don't participate are doing so because it doesn't represent any "womanly experiences" in the world. I know I'm an athlete because I enjoy what I do, I get to meet new people and have fun, and the second it stops being fun I know I have to go find something else to do. The world of sports doesn't have to be so gendered, so male vs. female. Title IX gave women the opportunity to make sports reflect the "womanly experience" now it's just time to make sure that continues to happen.

Name:  aubrey strohl
Username:  astrohl@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  forum question
Date:  2002-02-07 22:03:18
Message Id:  859
1.) My name is Aubrey Strohl. I am a freshman anthropology major at Bryn Mawr College. Throughout high school, I ran on the girls track team and cross country team,and was also a member of the colorguard squad. I am a member of the Bryn Mawr cross country team.

2.)Although I disagree with the idea that Title IX has failed to adequately provide women, legally, with an equal playing field in sports, I do understand that a legal right to equality does not always guarantee equality. If the social issues behind "sex-role polarization" in sports are not addressed more fully, then women perhaps will remain reluctant to participate, despite their right to do so. I agree with the authors that we need to reevaluate our definition of "sport," and question the masculine connotation of the word.

Name:  Aimee Petrosky
Username:  Aimdogger@aol.com
Subject:  Title XI
Date:  2002-02-08 12:30:04
Message Id:  865
1) Hello my name is Aimee Petrosky, I am a transfer student from Curry college in Milton Ma. I am a first semester junior, with a double major in Gov. and Soc. This is my first ESS class.

2) The debate over title XI is one that has some strong and not so distant roots to our past. And I strongly agree with the statement that out government and public officials have not addressed the issues regarding the lens in which sports is viewed through. But as a government major I can see this from both sides. Government cannot be there to tell society what is the right way to feel or view something. This is the job of the public, weather their view is right or wrong. This is the way that we learn from things and make progress. I think government has taken some steps in the right direction, by even having a law like this. They can enforce the law but they can not change how people will perceive it, and it is not their job too. Government can also not change the past. They can not make it so all the suffering that women have suffered in the past better. There is no consolation prize. And I think to expect one would only perpetuate the beliefs that women are fighting against. It is up to us to fill the void, not the government. We may not be the dominant culture that can easily fill the void, but as shown I the video, women have never got anything handed to them easily. We are capable of filling this void and I think it is our job to fill it, and make sure it is full with ideas that women can do these things. That the effects of playing sports can aid us in the same ways it aids men.

Name:  Abigail Claiborne
Username:  aclaibor@smith.edu
Subject:  Title IX question
Date:  2002-02-08 16:36:37
Message Id:  871
My name is Abigail Claiborne and I am a senior Economics Major at Smith and am from San Francisco. I have played sports since I was 7 and am on the Ultimate Frisbee team at Smith. In November, I completed my first marathon.

On the proposed statement, I think that women's entry into sports is a bit more difficult that it is for men because it is often done in a less casual setting. The ideals of Title IX were to make participating in sports equal for men and women, but did not make clear that ideals of participating in the sport equal. Some women are still looked to posses masculine characteristics if they participate in sport, instead of just being athletic and that is a shame. I do however think that women celebrate sport more and appreciate sport more than men and that comes from our struggle to be accepted on the field, court, etc. I think women work harder than men while participating because the rewards for us are much greater than men and often we have to prove to our male counterparts that we too can participate as the same intensity if not higher. For example - the woman that swam the English Channel who swam a harder stroke than the men did and performed the task more efficiently. Unfortunately women are not rewarded as much as they should be for their efforts and hopefully that will change in the future.

Name:  Ye Jin Lee
Username:  ylee@haverford.edu
Date:  2002-02-08 19:00:36
Message Id:  873
Hi, I'm Ye Jin Lee and I am a sophomore at Haverford. I'm from Pennsylvania and will probably major in political science and maybe philosophy. I have never participated in organized sports or athletics outside of required stuff (phys. ed. in high school and here).

I think Birrel and Cole are being pretty bold in stating that sports/athletics "do not reflect much of womens' experience of the world". I'm sure they go on to defend this statement but I can't see what kind of mumbo-jumbo they could concoct to justify it.

It's true that men have been the most visible shapers of "the dominant cultural and institutional definitions" but that doesn't necessarily mean that women have not had some role in defining culture and societal institutions. It's not as if women (despite a historically repressed status) have been locked up in their bedrooms all their lives. They have raised children (boys included), been partners with men, worked in the fields, created art, etc.

As well, the authors seem to be making the presupposition that athletics are situated in the 'masculine' realm. I guess this implies that sports reflect certain 'masculine' values like bravery, strength, honor, desire for status, etc. Making such a presupposition only reinforces these kinds of stereotyped gender traits. Don't women like competition or achievement? Can't women be tough, brave, strong, etc? If women are not participating in athletics as much as men are, then I would be inclined to attribute that to differing societal pressures based on gender rather than the idea that women are just somehow naturally unsuited or something.

Name:  Balpreet Bhogal
Username:  bbhogal@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-08 19:05:07
Message Id:  874
1) Hi. My name is Balpreet Bhogal. I'm a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College and my intended major is Biology with a possible minor in Chemistry. I'm not involved in any sports, but am a huge hockey fan :)

2) I understand how a law like Title IX doesn't necessarily mean that women will be "thought of" as an equal sex within sports. However, after Title IX, women in sports has come a long way. Women are able to participate in many sports that they weren't able to before Title IX; we now see the domination of women's sports (soccer, softball, ice hockey, etc.) in the Olympic games. However, although women have come a long way, there still may be some that see women as a lower sex in sports. Some may believe that men's sports are more important. In this case, Title IX cannot necessarily do anything to change the minds of these people, but overall, this law has made a great impact on women's sports today.

Name:  Leila Foroughi
Username:  lforough@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-09 14:14:21
Message Id:  880
1. Hi my name is Leila Foroughi, and I am a freshman bio major at Brynmawr.
2. I believe title 9 has done a lot of great things, and has helped to equal he playing field between men and women's sports. However, men still get more attention and money. I am from Indiana where basketball is practically in our blood, but still the girls basketball team never gets recognition.
Name:  Gloria
Username:  gramon@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-10 16:52:12
Message Id:  894
1) Hey everyone, My name is Gloria A. Ramon and I am a junior at Bryn Mawr College majoring in Sociology with a minor in Growth and Structure of Cities.

2) Title IX gave women multiple opportunites and it opened doors for women in many differnt feilds. Not only do we have women competing just as hard as a man, but we also have women sports broadcasters and executives for different sports teams. At the same time I feel that women use different policies such as Title IX to take things to the next level. What do I mean by that? Well there are certain things women should and should not do. I personally feel that some women athletes go to the extreeme when it comes to competion with men. Women are always in a battle to prove who we are, but at the same time, sometimes the battle needs to stop.

I believe in being healthy and taking care of my body, but I don't take things to the extreme or to the next level. I can remember back in middle school and high school girls would always be pushed to get into sports. Even here at bryn mawr, sports teams are over exaggerated. Just because the opportunity is there dosen't mean we all have to take it.

Name:  Stephanie Kristal
Username:  skristal22@hotmail.com
Subject:  Forum Questions
Date:  2002-02-11 19:32:09
Message Id:  924
1. Hi, my name is Stephanie Kristal and I am a senior at Smith College. I am taking this course to try and achieve a better understanding of women in sports and their dreams.

2. I think that Title IX was important in making women's sports more available. Men were always forced into sports because it is a male characteristic to be aggressive. It is a way that men always proved their manlihood. But as for women, aggression was looked down upon and to be competetive with one another frowned at. Title IX gave women an opportunity to play sports and to prove to each other that they were worthy of the game they chose.

Name:  Gretchen Hitt
Username:  ghitt@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  History of Women's Sports
Date:  2002-02-11 19:32:16
Message Id:  925
1. My name is Gretchen Hitt and I am a junior English major at Bryn Mawr College from Massachusetts. I do not play on any sports teams, but excercise on my own.

2. I find it interesting that Birrel and Cole assume that sport reflects man's experience of the world. Rather than functioning as a microcosm for human experience, sport is a part of that experience that has not historically been granted to women. Title IX does not function as the mirror in which woman's experience is finally to be reflected through sport; it gives women and girls the right to pursue sport as a part of their lives that also contain many other activities and roles. Sport is not the only "masculine domain", nor is it the only male-dominated arena Title IX seeks to make more equitable across gender lines.

Name:  Paula Arboleda
Username:  parboled@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-11 20:01:21
Message Id:  926
I'm Paula Arboleda. I am a first year student at Bryn Mawr, and I'm a potential political science major and german minor. I have played volleyball for severals years, but i am not involved in organized sports,

Although I do agree that Title IX has provided women with a greater number of opportunities in sports, I would argue that a double standard coninues to exist. Women in sports do not appeal to the same groups as men, and although title IX grants women athletic scholarships, which groups are benefitting from these scholarships and which groups are being left out? What role does title IX play in schools that don't have enough resources to provide young women with a variety of athletic opportunities?
Secondly, women in sports, who have benefitted from Title Ix, are still criticized and badgered about their sexuality and their sexual preferences and orientations whatever they may be, while men are not. Men who play sports are said to be asserting their masculinity, while women who play sports are said not to be asserting their femininity.

Name:  Natalie Merrill
Username:  nmerrill@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  First Comment
Date:  2002-02-12 18:44:12
Message Id:  949
1) My name is Natalie Merrill. I am a sophmore at Bryn Mawr College. I have never participated in team sports and have no desire to do so. The pressure frightens me. I am a sociology major and possibly political science, history or cities minor.

2) As far as the Title IX goes, it is hard for me to comment on its effectiveness. I have not participated in sports and have not seen first hand how it has impacted women's sports. As a whole, women have made great strides in the past few decades concerning legal and social rights. However, as many of the previous comments note, there is much we still have to accomplish- in sports and otherwise.

I also think that Title IX's effectiveness is hard to measure coming from a women's school. Opportunities here are different for women and the sports community at a women's school is different as well. So again, it is hard for me to comment on my opinions or experiences of Title IX's effectiveness.

Name:  Jessica Lee
Username:  jelee@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-13 01:39:15
Message Id:  956
1) My name is Jessica and I am a sophomore at Bryn Mawr College. I am double majoring in biology and Italian. I was on the field hockey and lacrosse teams in high school, but am not playing any sports here at Bryn Mawr.

2) Title IX was a breakthrough not only for women and sports, but for women's equality issues, because it recognized that sex discrimination was a major problem. However, the statement by Susan Birrel and Cheryl Cole holds validity. Though the law mandates equality for women in sports, the general public will never fully rid itself of the stereotypes and prejudices of women's sports. Title IX has removed the limitations on female athletes, however, the general public still and may always have an inclination to place more value on men's sports than women's. Unfortunately, prejudice is inevitable and the way to eliminate it requires not only a change in the constitution, but a change in people's mindsets.

Name:  janet
Username:  kwan4life2@yahoo.com
Subject:  JANET BIO
Date:  2002-02-14 00:45:28
Message Id:  974

Everyone I am from Brooklyn, New York. I am an Anthropology major and I one of the biggest sports fans that you can find out there. I play Tennis, Basketball and what ever sport that I am capable of learning. One of the interesting aspects about this class that we get to explore how sports mirrors the society we exist in today.

Name:  janet
Username:  kwan4life2@yahoo.com
Subject:  comment
Date:  2002-02-14 00:54:40
Message Id:  975
I think in fact your statement is correct about sports alienating women because of the ways the ideals of sports have been shaped. It is also true that many women have bought in to this frame of mind and continue to believe this ideology. However, it is up to us as awared women to change those ideals. However, sometimes I feel as though women are so eager to change stereotypes that they leave many women out such as women of color and women who have not been encouraged to participate. If these women are left out the movement to change these ideologies will be slow to change.