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.

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Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-14 12:56:51
Message Id:  984
Forum question for the second week of the Women and Sport in Film Course.
Professor Shelton will also post a question. Please respond to one of the three.

1) What are the boundaries or issues that prevent us from having an in depth discussion about race/class in sport or other fields where the field represents different values, stigmas, or is otherwise overshadowed by an historic culture of limited access.

2) How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

Name:  Meredith Jason
Username:  mjason@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Question for Week 2
Date:  2002-02-14 13:46:52
Message Id:  987
2) A person's social origins, I believe, has a strong influence on his/her orientation toward a sport. In the movie "Girl Fight," most of the women in the social class depicted displayed an aversion to playing sports themselves. They assumed sports were for men only. If a women were to engage in sports, they were viewed as not feminine. The main character, Diana, was the exception to this view point. She exhibited a strong desire to learn how to box and she wasn't afraid to fight with the boys. Even though Diana felt pressure from society to refrain from boxing, her strong will to learn the sport prevailed and she became one of the best boxers.

Meredith Jason

Name:  zoe
Username:  zmeyer@smith.edu
Subject:  question for week 2
Date:  2002-02-15 11:29:21
Message Id:  998
1. I think the boundaries are simply that when we're discussing anything, normally all we have to comment on is our own experiences. Therefore, when we're trying to have an in depth discussion about class or race in anything, we can't get past what we know, or our own experiences. We begin to rely on what's been done in the past, we have to look beyond that. Nothing about sports or any other field is going to change unless we stop focusing on what happened back then, and start focusing on what we want to happen in the future. Stop focusing on the differences as a bad thing and start focusing on how to make the best of the differences and what those differences can bring to the realm of sports or whatever field you're talking about.
Name:  Ye Jin Lee
Username:  ylee@haverford.edu
Subject:  question 2
Date:  2002-02-16 17:12:34
Message Id:  1006
2. Social origins affect a person's orientation towards everything, including sport. Issues including sterotypical racial/gender/class roles and traits (e.g. African-Americans are good athletes, women are passive, etc.) and real difficulties involving money, time and cultural attitudes toward competition or athletics are definite determinants of one's attitudes toward athletics.

Pressure to conform to societal/cultural expectations of one's 'proper' role can be overt (like banning women from marathons) or more subtle (exclusive and expensive country clubs catering to mostly upper-class whites). A poor black boy in the ghetto is probably not dreaming of being a world-class figure skater or polo player. Girls are unlikely to see themselves excelling in traditionally 'masculine' sports like wrestling or football (although this is changing). Although there are plenty of exceptions, social origins definitely determine a person's orientation toward sport, among other things.
Name:  Aimee
Username:  Aimdogger@aol.com
Subject:  how gender and race effects sports
Date:  2002-02-17 15:40:36
Message Id:  1011
Well, the readings and the movie are great examples of this. All these variables greatly effect a persons orientation toward sport, or at least in most cases. As we saw in the movie girl fight the Latin American culture is big into boxing for many reasons. The one I saw to be most obvious was protection. The father had enrolled his son in boxing lessons because they are gonna eat him up out there I think was the quote from the dad at the dinner table. I am on the boxing team at smith college and we practice at the Holyoke Boys and girls club. Until this video it didn't even occur to me the only people who were not Latin American were the 5 or so girls from smith college.
The second example of the way a culture/gender can effect a persons orientation of sport is the article we read on women and the WNBA. They constantly were talking about the "bad" black men in the NBA, and how they counteract with the "good" women of the WNBA. In addition to that the media exalts the women's team working abilities, unselfish play, and their important motherhood roles, whereas men are encouraged to play for themselves, and fight and talk trash because it attracts fans.
Name:  RR
Subject:  Race and Class
Date:  2002-02-17 16:24:05
Message Id:  1012
I missed last week's forum, so I'd like to introduce myself here. My name is Rosie and I am a Smithie. I have played sports since I was in about 5th grade, and b/c of my height have leaned towards volleyball and basketball. Currently I am interested in boxing and strength training.
With regards to the question, in my environment, I believe one of the boundaries that prevents us from having indepth discussions about race and class in general is the overbearing presence of political correctness on the campus. An intolerance of intolerance does not create space for people to speak views, make mistakes, and learn from them. I also think a lack of representative diversity, both ethnic and class based, on our campus makes it difficult to learn about groups different from ourselves, and thus limits the indepth discussions that we can hold about race and class.
Name:  Abigail Claiborne
Username:  aclaibor@smith.edu
Subject:  Question 2
Date:  2002-02-17 18:07:23
Message Id:  1015
2) A person's social origins affect their orientation towards sports when they are faced with boundaries and obstacles to attack and conquer. In the movie Girl Fight, we saw how Diana was affected by her gender, class and race. First off, gender affected her because boxing was directed toward women and she had to fight to get the coach to coach her. She was not easily accepted by other boxers either and had to fight her way to respect. With regards to class, this affected Diana because she could not afford to pay for her formal training nor could her father afford to give her money for it either. She had to lie and pawn personal items to be able to take lessons. Race affected Diana's brother's orienation towards boxing because their father made him take boxing lessons to survive on the street saying that he would get beat up if he didn't. Race did not affect Diana in the same way.

As seen in the Hoop Dreams article, gender affects the WNBA's direction. While the WNBA focuses more on team playing and families, the NBA is much more individually focused and their coverage is soley on basketball. All three of these social origins affect orientation to sport based on availability, who plays the sport and what type of reception one receives when playing the sport.

Name:  Natalie
Username:  nmerrill@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  week 2
Date:  2002-02-17 19:16:28
Message Id:  1016
In regards to Christine Shelton's second question:

I think that the film's major flaws are the questions that it leaves the audience asking. While some found this a positive place for the viewer to interpret the plot after the film ends, I find it a flaw that forces the viewer to question the legitimacy of the film. By refusing to answer some of the most troubling questions of the movie- such as those issues raised in the Christine Shelton's question- the filmmakers also refuse to award Diana the credit she deserves as a female athlete in a world with many strikes against her above and beyond her femininity. Instead of telling us that she suceeds or fails for whatever reasons we are supposed to guess as to where Diana ends up- both in her personal relationships with her father and boyfriend, but also in terms of her athletic ability. I was left with an uneasy question of "was it worth it?" Without definite plot endings we are unsure.

Name:  aubrey
Username:  astrohl@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Question for Week 2
Date:  2002-02-18 15:56:40
Message Id:  1033
2.) Obviously, a girls social origins affect every aspect of her life, including her orientation towards sports. Different ethnicities have different ideas of what is sport and if and how women are to be involved in sport. Class also affects a girls oppertunities to participate in athletics, as the poorer women may have difficulty in affording sport gear or paying program costs. The movie Girl Fight emphasized Diana's struggle as a young girl without the means to pay for her boxing lessons. Not only is Diana a girl, and thus taken less seriously as a boxer, she is poor and unable to fund her athletics.
Username:  Anonymous
Date:  2002-02-18 16:34:44
Message Id:  1035
A person's social orgion can greatly affect their orientation towards sports. If someone is poor they normally can't afford the equipment and/or training for a certain sport. Running is one of the only sports that does not require a lot of equipment. Also certain sports like boxing are still viewed as only for men. So women in that sport really have to struggle to get the attention they deserve. There are also sports where race matters to a certain extent. For example until recently tennis and golf have been predominantly white sports.
Name:  Leila Foroughi
Username:  lforough@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-18 16:35:07
Message Id:  1036
A person's social orgion can greatly affect their orientation towards sports. If someone is poor they normally can't afford the equipment and/or training for a certain sport. Running is one of the only sports that does not require a lot of equipment. Also certain sports like boxing are still viewed as only for men. So women in that sport really have to struggle to get the attention they deserve. There are also sports where race matters to a certain extent. For example until recently tennis and golf have been predominantly white sports.
Name:  Stephanie Kristal
Username:  skristal@email.smith.edu
Subject:  Forum Questions
Date:  2002-02-18 20:57:58
Message Id:  1051
1) I think that people want to believe that sports are color blind. They want to think that it is ability alone that determines who wins a place on a team. This has clearly not always been the case. People have had to struggle for their place in the world of sports. But in this day and age people do not want to discuss race and sports because they want to believe that it is a non-issue.

2. I think that class plays a large part in sports. Starting with people who see sports as a way out of poverty. To people who want to look the part. Sports have become a consumer product in themselves. We see advertisements for Nike and Reebok, but we never think about the people who are making those products. We just want to best shoe or outfit for our sport of choice.

Name:  janet
Username:  kwan4life2@yahoo.com
Subject:  Race
Date:  2002-02-18 23:23:34
Message Id:  1059
1.I think its very difficult for people to talk about race in sports because for most it is not an issue that people think they are affected by. Especially for the white and middle class. Mosts sports and life is dominated the whit middle class and if you are a part of the majority and you feel that you are not being affected negatively in a racial situation why would you want to talk about? Also the question of knowing your priveleges comes up as well? Admitting privelege is a very difficult matter which would be admitting to have been given many of the things that you thought you have earned.

2.I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and I didnot have any golf courses, crew houses, and lacrosse fields its just the life of living in New York City. The opportunity of doing sports such as those is very difficult. I played some basketball and played some tennis but I would not call myself a jock. I think playing certain sports is the matter of opportunity. There are people out there who have more opportunity than others.

Name:  Jessica
Username:  jlpadget@mtholyoke.edu
Date:  2002-02-18 23:26:20
Message Id:  1061
I would also like to introduce myself as I missed last weeks posting.
My name is Jessica, I'm a first year at Mount Holyoke. I've played soccer since I was 7 and continue to play at Mount Holyoke. I also have experience in coaching and officiating the sport.

2.) How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

I would say an athletes racial background, class status and gender is a major impact on the orientation towards a particular sport. When considering class, one may be denied the opportunities that are offered due to lack of funds. For example: Diana's family was not exactly wealthy. Her father would not have been able to afford to send both his children to train. If Diane did not pawn objects, steal money from her father or accept her brothers money she would not have been given the opportunity to train and be a competitive boxer.
Gender plays a major role in this movie. Society finds it unacceptable for females to participate in many sports such as hockey, boxing, football, etc. Girl Fight outlines the many gender issues female athletes face. Diana had to prove herself because she was a woman. Unlike her brother, who was accepted even though he was much smaller (hence the nickname Tiny) and even though his heart was not in the sport. Adriane was also confronted with fighting a woman. It is not acceptable for a man to hit a woman. If he loses this match, will he appear less of a man because he lost to a woman? He sees his opponent as a woman, not as another boxer.

Name:  Paula Arboleda
Username:  parboled@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-19 01:16:49
Message Id:  1066
2. Social origin inevitably influences one's inclinations towards sports especially because sports are part of education. Since inequalities in education exist, so do inequalities in athletic opportunities for different ethnic groups from various social classes and communities. Certain districts can afford to have more than the basic sports (basketball, volleyball, track, football) and because of funding these districts can provide better and more athletic opportunities to their students. The fact that certain districts have better funding has to do with issues surrounding race and class.
Although I found that the movie Girlfight romanticized and stereotypically depicted life in the "ghetto," (I was surprised that the family wasn't depicted eating rice and beans since everyone knows that that's all LAtino's eat), I did find that the movie broke some barriers. The fact that the movie was about a young Puerto rican woman trying to establish a positive sphere of influence for herself through boxing was a shift from a movie about underprivileged men who "made it big" or who didn't make it big for that matter. The inequalities in funding were extremely evident in the film for both sports and education.
Name:  Balpreet Bhogal
Username:  bbhogal@brynmawr.edu
Date:  2002-02-19 18:58:41
Message Id:  1081
2) Social origins play a huge part in a person's orientation towards sports. Class, for example, is an important social origin. In some sports (skiing, stock car racing), there are some expensive costs in which, while people in a higher social class can afford it, those who are not well off cannot afford to enjoy the sport. Gender also affect orientation towards sport. Although we have gone a long way from a time where women could not play aggressive sports such as hockey, soccer, etc., there still remains some barriers that have not been broken yet. For example, while women's ice hockey was just recently added to the winter olympics, it is illegal to check your opponents, while in men's hockey, it is allowed. These are just a few examples in how social origins (race, ethnicity, class, gender, etc.) affect orientation towards sports.
Name:  Gretchen Hitt
Username:  ghitt@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Question One
Date:  2002-02-19 20:19:43
Message Id:  1085
1. I think it is difficult for us to have a discussion of race/class and other controversial characterizations because we must confine our statements to personal experience and/or observations and information that we can substantiate when contested. No one wants to offend anyone else and so either sweeping generalizations are made or incredibly specific anecdotes are related such that nothing of substance is said. We lack facts and figures to support our arguements and will not risk being perceived as racist or classist by advanding our opinions. A common point of departure can help alleviate the discomfort surrounding race/class discussion, especially amoung strangers, which we all are to each other. If the "we" in this question is the class and not society, "Girl Fight", while it contained issues of ethnicity and class, did not address these issues explicity through dialogue nor did it juxtapose women from different ethnicities or social classes trying to learn to box. This made it difficult to cite the movie as support for an arguement regarding class/race or to refer to it as a common background for this particular discussion.