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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FORUM ARCHIVE

WEEK 2 - FORUM 4


Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  NEW FORUM QUESTIONS FOR WEEK 2
Date:  2002-02-14 12:57:37
Message Id:  985
Comments:
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:  Sarah Katz
Username:  skatz@smith.edu
Subject:  Diana and Adrian's rooftop conversation
Date:  2002-02-15 22:02:21
Message Id:  1001
Comments:
How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

This question makes me think of the conversation Diana and Adrian have on the rooftop of the gym when they are arguing about boxing against each other. Diana wants to fight him, and demands that he fight her legitimately, with his best effort. However, Adrian does not want to fight Diana.
THe stakes, in some ways, are higher for Adrian. He is stuck in his male construct of sport, that winning is everything, so if he gives his best effort and loses, he loses respect from his peers. But, he is also stuck in the construct of machismo, where it would be horrible to legitimately fight a woman, (thereby treating her as an equal), so if he fought his best and won, he would also lose the respect of his peers. In contrast, DIana's roles are not as clearly defined, in fact, she is in the business of destroying her constructed roles. She knows that if she gives her best, the outcome will be important to her, but it will not be everything. And the social origins she brings to the situation are no longer as much the central focus as they may have been at the beginning of her boxing. SHe is more comfortable within the difficulty of her struggle to win respect.
In this case, DIana and Adrian both come to the same sport with separate male and female social origins, but with class and race origins being equal, (latino, underprivliged) and the gender polarity/polemic stands clearly on its own with its own questions.


Name:  Chris Shelton
Username:  cshelton@smith.edu
Subject:  Week Two Questions
Date:  2002-02-16 07:03:20
Message Id:  1003
Comments:
Hello to all on Forum 4 and thank you for the thoughtful comments from last week. I want to add to the questions that Amy Campbell posed and ask you to please post on any two of the four that are listed this week.

1. What is your reaction to the following statement by Casper in her
review of the movie "Girlfight" (from the review "Knockout Women"" by
Monica Casper in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Feb. 2001.
pp104-110):

"...girl boxers are not just boy boxers without penises. And women who box are not just men behaving badly. Boxing, when women do it, constitutes a different version of the feminine-indeed, a serious challenge to the feminine-as well as an explicitly feminist politic. Rewriting the script so that the girl wins is not just a plot device; it suggests profound reconfigurations of gender and sexual relations."

2. The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many
questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be
their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the
sport of boxing?


Name:  Katie Montgomery
Username:  kmontgom@email.smith.edu
Subject:  Week Two Questions
Date:  2002-02-16 12:00:12
Message Id:  1005
Comments:
First question:
How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

Sports are so many things to so many people. Sometime they are jsut stree relieves, sometime they are a job or a way to get a job or into college. These meanings are affected by the so many different things. With race/ethinicity sport can be a place to shine or a place to prove oneself. Throughout history certain races where throught to be better at other things. There are the sterotypical ideas that black males are good as basketball and the white women are swimmers. However but going against any of these sterotypical ideas, a person can lead a new movement and cut down some boundaries. As we saw in "Girlfight" and also in the "Dare to Compete," gender has always played a major role in sports. Since title IX women are now showing that they can do everything and in some sports better then the men. However these boundaries that must be confronted first can cause many to back away from their dreams. Class can also affect sport since there are unfortunately some sports that are more expensive or that need differnt types of equipment which can put certain people at a disadvatage. However, sport can also be a way out of the ghettos or whatever for people. This can be seen with Adriane in "Girlfight." Sports can open doors to careers and college that could have once been closed because of money issues.

Second Question:
What is your reaction to the following statement by Casper in her
review of the movie "Girlfight" (from the review "Knockout Women"" by
Monica Casper in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Feb. 2001.
pp104-110):

"...girl boxers are not just boy boxers without penises. And women who box are not just men behaving badly. Boxing, when women do it, constitutes a different version of the feminine-indeed, a serious challenge to the feminine-as well as an explicitly feminist politic. Rewriting the script so that the girl wins is not just a plot device; it suggests profound reconfigurations of gender and sexual relations."

I agree with many of the points Casper makes in the above quote. I belive that women athetes are not just men athletes missing an appendage, but they ARE female athletes. Therefore they should be taken seriosuly and given everything that the men are given. For a women to box, it doesn't mean that they want to harm anyone or that they are "unlady-like" (in todays world what does it mean to be a lady?) it means that they like the sport and therefore want to play it. And there is nothing wrong with that! I was so happy in the movie when Diane won the fight because it was a beautiful illustration of how strong women are and how capiable we are. Movies like this help the country see that gender and sex relations do not define sport, they are part of it. I'm not necessarilly saying that everything should be gender-blind, however I'm saying that people do not need to focus as much on it.


Name:  Debbie Siu
Username:  dsiu@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-17 01:55:31
Message Id:  1007
Comments:
QUESTION: How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

I think a person's social origins definitely have an effect on their orientation towards sport. A person's class definitely plays a role. If a person comes from a wealthy family, then she has opportunities to do whatever sports she wants. Money will probably not be the problem here. But if a person comes from a lower-class family, she is probably limited to certain sports that don't require you to spend as much money on. So if that person really wants to participate in a sport that requires you to spend lots of money, then she has a higher obstacle to overcome. I also think that a person's race has an effect on their orientation towards sport. I myself as an Asian American knows that there are certain sports that Asian Americans just do not flock to. For example: basketball and football. I'm not saying no Asian Americans play those sports, but there are just not as many who do.


Name:  Jackie Raymond
Username:  jraymond@smith.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-17 15:16:22
Message Id:  1009
Comments:
#1 How does a person's social origins (race, ethnicity, class, gender, etc.) affect their orientation toward sport?

I do not feel that race or ethnicity really affect a person's orientation toward sport all that much. As you can see, there are plenty of athletes of different races and ethnicities today playing in highschools, colleges, and pro. However, i do feel feel that class and gender are different. A person's class can prevent him/her from having equal opportunities to others. A lower class person will most likely struggle more when attempting to play a sport. In the movie "Girlfight" this is shown when the trainer tells Diana how much it will cost her to train, and she tells him that she doesn't have that kind of money. Her low class status affects her because, unlike other higher class people, she cannot just come up with money to pay for training. Diana also steals money from her father because she doesn't have her own.
One of my friends played basketball at Holyoke Community College for her first semester, and she was unable to keep up with the expenses. Therefore, she was forced to quit the team. If she'd had the money to play, she would have continued.
Gender obviously plays a strong role in this movie. People do not feel that she will be able to box because she is a woman. However, she proves them wrong. Diana believes in herself, and she is willing to do what it takes to prove herself in the sport of boxing. The trainer discourages her from boxing at first, as well as her brother, father, and other trainers throughout the movie. This is only because she is a girl. If she was a boy, all of the conflict would never have taken place, which proves that gender greatly affects a woman's orientation toward sport.

#2 The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by te sport of boxing?

It is hard to tell whether or not the two will continue to box. I think that they will because they are working together. Even though Diana won the match, they talk about it, and everything turns out okay between them. If they are willing to fight each other in an official match, and Adrian is willing to accept the fact that he lost, they can overcome anything in boxing together, which makes me believe that they will continue. If they continue to work hard, i feel that boxing could be their ticket out of the projects. There are many famous athletes today that grew up in the projects, and are in the WNBA and the NBA, as well as other sports. All of the struggles they overcome to prove there abilities in sports pays off when they are finally able to get move out of the projects and up into higher class areas. Boxing transformed Diana mentally as well as physically. Her body was not too defined in the beginning of the movie, but by the end, she was very muscular and defined. The ongoing training was very apparent physically. Mentally, Diana never let her guard down. She fought throughout the whole movie to do what she wanted to do. In the beginning however, she didn't have as much confidence as in the end. At first she was a little nervous it seemed, and she couldn't even throw a proper punch. By the end, she was able to do all of the moves, and was even willing to fight Adrian, which required a lot of mental strength. He doesn't want to fight her, but she is willing to do anything it takes to prove herself to others as well as to herself. She wanted to box, and she did, and overcame all of the struggles that a female athlete was forced to.


Name:  Em Friedman
Username:  efriedma@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-17 15:22:11
Message Id:  1010
Comments:
1. What is your reaction to the following statement by Casper in her
review of the movie "Girlfight" (from the review "Knockout Women"" by
Monica Casper in the Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Feb. 2001.
pp104-110):



"...girl boxers are not just boy boxers without penises. And women who box are not just men behaving badly. Boxing, when women do it, constitutes a different version of the feminine-indeed, a serious challenge to the feminine-as well as an explicitly feminist politic. Rewriting the script so that the girl wins is not just a plot device; it suggests profound reconfigurations of gender and sexual relations."



Diana's coach at one point makes the comment that women might make better boxers in one sense, because they have a lower center of gravity. The very "limitation" (i.e. lower body as opposed to masculine upper-body strength) that was used to justify keeping women out of the sport could be thought of not only as "protecting" women from stronger adversaries, but protecting the masculine from a different and unprecedented way of approaching the sport. Thus, I was glad that it was through technique and not a resounding KO that Diana won -- instead of transforming into the ideal masculine boxer, she won on subtler terms.




2. The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many
questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be
their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the
sport of boxing?



Once can only hope that both will be able to use their talents to leave the projects. I have no doubt from the ending that they will both continue to box. However, it can be implied that Adrian, losing so early in his career to a woman in a sport where that still carries a stigma, will suffer in consequence.


Name:  Chelsea Brown
Username:  cbrown@email.smith.edu
Subject:  week 2 questions
Date:  2002-02-17 16:47:49
Message Id:  1013
Comments:
2) How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

Personally, I don't think any of these factors should affect a person's orientation towards sport, yet they do. We read in Hoop Dreams, that the WNBA is made up of mostly african american, middle class women. The NBA is also dominated by african americans. Certain sports are associated with certain classes, golf is considered a white, upper class sport, however tiger woods is breaking down that barrier. Crew is usually associated with a white race as well, but as we saw in the Chronicle, Brannon Johnson is out to prove that wrong as well. Boxing, a men's sport, was challenged in Girl Fight. For so long sports have been individually stereotyped because people feel most comfortable where there are other people like them. It's almost as if if you are black you are expected to run track or play basketball and if you are female you are expected to stay away from sports like boxing. I think that these stereotypes have been in existence for so long now that it's hard for people to step over the boundaries and try something new, it takes an extremely courage person to do so.

2. The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many
questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be
their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the
sport of boxing?

Diana was one of the courageous few who stepped over the lines in order to pursue her dreams, not the expectations of others who might have assumed that since she was a latino female she would be running track or something similar, not boxing. The movie throws in the whole love situation to keep those not interested in the boxing, interested in something. Because of the relationship involved it is hard to say if either Diana or Adrian will get their ticket out of the projects through boxing. They will both continue to box if they are truly passionate about it. Professional sports are a difficult way to get a ticket anywhere unless you are among the best and from seeing so little of the competion it is difficult to say just how good Diana and Adrian are. Certainly there may be some changes in their fighting now but it's really hard to say just what kind of changes those will be.


Name:  Jennifer Banas
Username:  jbanas@smith.edu
Subject:  girlfight
Date:  2002-02-17 21:09:54
Message Id:  1019
Comments:
2) How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

Sports affect people in many ways. They play sports because they are passionate about some aspect of the game or to overcome a challenge. Race/ethnicity, class, and gender may sometimes hold people back from a particular sport because they think that they can't do something or they are not supposed to participate in a sport because of their social origin. Perhaps this is why some women don't participate in male dominated sports or for the same reason that women try so hard to participate and be good at male sports. Social origins mean different things to different people and have a significant effect on their reasons for participating in sports.

4) Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box?, can boxing be their way out of the projects?, How was Diana transformed by the sport of boxing?

I have a feeling Diana will continue to box because she became so passionate about doing it, she put in the effort and hard work and accomplished a big goal, however, I am not so sure about Adrian. He had mentioned that it was his way out of the projects, but after losing to Diana, I think he changed his view of boxing and himself. I think he realized that it might not take him anywhere. Diana was certainly transformed by the sport of boxing. She never really took into account what being an female meant and she had so much anger and hostility built up inside her that boxing was her way out. She was fighting in school and decided that maybe she could do something useful with her anger by taking up boxing. She was angry at first when she found out that girls couldn't box, but she was persistent and kept with it. By the end, she wanted to prove that a woman boxer could beat other women as well as men. She didn't want Adrian to go easy on her, she wanted him to hit her hard. She wanted to show that women were just as tough and could handle the pressure of the sport of boxing.


Name:  Brooke Coleman
Username:  mbcolema@mtholyoke.edu
Subject:  Response #2
Date:  2002-02-17 21:30:47
Message Id:  1020
Comments:
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.


I think much of the issue that we run into when attempting to have an open dialogue concerning race and class in sport, is that no one wants to make any assumptions. As a white, middle-class, American, college student, I feel as though I'm in no position to make any generalizations concerning the experience involved in being a part of another race or class. Excluding gender, these categories put me in a position of what I, and most others would consider, unearned priviledge. Looking around our classroom(and acknowledging that this is a broad assumption) it appears to me that most of my classmate are in the same position. So, for the most part, once we have discussed the stereotypes and stigmas that have prevented certain races/classes from equal competition in sport, we seem to reach a dead end. I'm not saying that it isn't possible for us to have an interesting discussion, but I'm hoping to point out the fact that most of us are the product of the similar priviledges(be it, the option, whether or not we chose to take it, to play karate or join a soccer team when we were 7). We've heard about, and can probably sympathize with the fact that, certain races and classes are far less likely to have access to certain sports, but most of us cannot necessarily relate to that experience. If an entire room full of men were to sit around and have a discussion concerning the oppression of women in sport, they could probably have a very intense, very interesting discussion, but a diversity of experience would be lacking. In this same sense, I don't doubt that we can all have a very intense, very interesting discussion, but the seeming lack in diversity of experience limits how in-depth we can go in our discussions.


2. The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many
questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be
their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the
sport of boxing?

I thought it was very interesting that the writer leaves us one step short of a completely happy ending. There was an honesty to the movie that I believe was preserved by this fact. The movie didn't make any definitive promises about boxing being their "ticket out", but kept the focus more on Diana's experience in the sport. I guess if they had wanted to keep complete focus on Diana & boxing, they would have steered away from her romantic involvement with Adrian, but I think the focus on their relationship helped to highlight Diana's character change throughout the movie. I'd like to believe that they continues to box, and that they moved out of the projects but I think the movie made no promises about that, much like sport makes no promises about being a sure ride out for everyone. While Diana's intensity in training increased throughout the movie, I think her character softened over time. It seemed that her strong connection with boxing opened her up to various friendship/relationships(coach being a good example).


Name:  Roberta St. Peters
Username:  rstpeter@smith.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-18 11:26:14
Message Id:  1026
Comments:
1. a person's social origins...

In terms of gender, the movie "Girlfight", shows that Diana was able to overcome her father's opinion of not wanting his daughter to box - even though his son could. In many other cases, this opinion held by a parent, may have affected a daughter's orientation toward sport - making a daughter not even try to pursue the sport. But Diana was not going to let being a girl get in the way of something she wanted to do. Also, class could have affected her orientation toward sport, but Diana (even though stealing may be wrong) was also able to overcome this barrier. However, I think that Diana is a rare case for being able accomplish what she did. In reality, I think it is very difficult for many parents to afford to pay for lessons in certain sports.

2. The final image...

I would like to think that both Diana and Adrian will continue to box, but I have a feeling that Adrian will get too frustrated and give up. He realized that he could get beat and he had a hard time dealing with it. If Diana and Adrian both continued to box, I think the ticket out would probably only happen for Diana. Like Hector was saying, there are many male boxers, which I think makes Adrian's chances slim. On the other hand, Diana may have a better chance - female boxers are on the rise and women are looking for other women to box. Diana was transformed into a stronger person. She put her aggressions into boxing and eventually developed a passion for it and she learned to stand up to her father.


Name:  Erin Ragoza
Username:  eragoza@smith.edu
Subject:  Week Two Questions
Date:  2002-02-18 17:39:08
Message Id:  1038
Comments:
2) How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?

A person's social origins pretty much decide what kind of sports that a person will play. As much as we all would like to believe that this is not true it certainly is. There are some sports that just are not available to women, such as football. A person's gender has a lot to do with the kind of sports that are available and accepted. Ice dancing is available for men, but it seems that there is a stigma associated with men ice dancers, many are thought of as gay and that is not fair to them. Class is a big determinant to what is available to children in sports. People from lower class backgrounds may not have the facilities or equipment to play certain sports, like riding horses or skiing. Sports like basketball may be more accessible to lower class because they only need a cheap outdoor court and a ball.

2. The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many
questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be
their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the
sport of boxing?

I do think that Diana will continue to box. It seems that in the begining of the movie she started boxing because she had a lot of pent up aggression that she needed to deal with. Throughout the movie I think that she learned to deal more with her aggression and boxing became more of a statement. She continued and fought to get the same treatment as men in boxing. I think that she will continue to box to prove that women are as good as men and because she is passionate about the sport. As for Adrian, I don't really think that he will continue boxing. He never seemed to be passionate about the sport, he just wanted a ticket out. Even if he did continue, I don't think that he would get hos ticket out because he lacks the passion and determination. I also think that in addition to Diana'a drive and passion, there is more of a chance for boxing to be her ticket out because there is more of an opening for women boxers because there really aren't many out there.


Name:  Tina Tan
Username:  tptan@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Week 2
Date:  2002-02-18 20:17:30
Message Id:  1047
Comments:
2) How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender etc.) affect their orientation towards sport?
I think in many cases, class and gender play into the kinds of sports people decide to pursue. There are sports that most families could not afford, and there are sports anyone could pick up at any park in the neighborhood. There are sports obviously that aren't offered within all communities; for instance, growing in a working class urban setting, I hadn't heard of sports like lacrosse and crew until my sister went away to boarding school. Even then, if I wanted to play these sports, I really had no opportunity to near me. As for gender, there obviously are hardships for women and men to enter sports that are traditionally considered masculine or feminine. Thinking of Girlfight and Billy Elliot, isn't it the conflict of gender that makes the storyline? I guess what makes it hard to talk about these issues is that no one really wants to really be the bad guy and really admit that those stigmas and generalizations exist.

2. The final image of the film "Girlfight" leaves us with many questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the sport of boxing?

Before boxing, Diana was a lit firecracker; she was explosive and volatile. Boxing was an outlet for that anger, a way for her to reflect all the troubles and hardships she had. I think because of boxing, she developed; she began to build relationships she hadn't really experienced, romance with Adrian, friendship with her coach, and began to become closer to her brother. It seems as though Diana was able to push all the rage out and make room for confidence in herself.


Name:  emily rumph
Username:  erumph@smith.edud
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-18 20:51:30
Message Id:  1049
Comments:
I think that both diana and adrian will continue to box. this is because of two reasons. the first reason is because boxing is an element of both the characters that serves to define who they are. through boxing, diana and adrian met, and formed a bond and love for each other. for both of them, boxing plays such a major role in thier lives, it would be a huge life change if they decided to quit.
the second reason links to the second part of the question (is boxing thier ticket out of the projects?) if diana and adrian are to get out of the projects, i think boxing is a very good opportunity to help them accomplish this move. If adrian can continue to box very well, he can become a star; which will inevitably move him "up in the world". In diana's case, because she is a girl and a boxer, this in itself may help her to rise out of the situation she is in now.
diana was transformed in a very positive way. through the sport of boxing she gained confidence, in a way, she gained fame, and she aquired traits such as perseverance, stamina, and strength. She became stronger both literally through all the training she did, but also strength as a woman who is successful in a field where women normally weren't. she also was strong enough to eventually stand up to her father, who showed sexism and disapproval in diana. diana was also transformed in one more way and that was through adrian. she let her guard down enough to be vulnerable and becuase of that she found love.
Name:  
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-18 23:56:19
Message Id:  1063
Comments:
Lorian Jenkins

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

I think that it all depends on the athleteÖ.If an athlete really wants to achieve success in the sport they are playing; they will succeed no matter what the boundaries are. Iím not saying that gender, class, and ethnicity donít play a big factor, because they do. Some children grow up in more fortunate family than others enabling them to have the best equipment, while other children are less fortunate and have to make do will some older equipment. Some athletes are told that they wonít succeed because they are female or because they arenít tall enough. Although I still believe that being a successful athlete comes from with in, and again if someone wants to succeed badly enough they will find a way to do it no matter what is in their way.

3. The final image of the film "Girl fight" leaves us with many
questions. Will both Diana and Adrian continue to box? Can boxing be
their ticket out of the projects? How was Diana transformed by the
sport of boxing?

I think that Diana and Adrian will continue to box, and hopefully they will get out of the projects. I believe that Diana realized that if she really wants to accomplish something she has to give everything she wants to get it. She demonstrates this through out her struggle to become a better boxer and in the end by beating Adrian in the match. Not only did she succeed in the athletic arena, she also became a stronger individual who was able to stand up for what she believed in.


Name:  Liz Marcus
Username:  emarcus@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Limits
Date:  2002-02-19 09:56:46
Message Id:  1074
Comments:
One of the biggest reasons that I feel there are not open discussions on the role of race and other factors that limits a person's access to sport is that many people do not want it to be a factor. Therefore, if it is addressed, then it is being aknowledged as being a factor. With regards to ethincity and location limiting people in sports, yes it may be a factor, but I think this is a factor that is being overcome more every day. Or course there are instances where people can not participate in something because of money or resources, but in my experiences schools are making more of an effort to make sure that those who wish to participate can. Therefore, although there are still barriers to break down as far as steroetypes and limits, these are being lessened every day.
Name:  Jennifer Chang
Username:  jchang@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  "girlfight" response
Date:  2002-02-20 19:18:44
Message Id:  1100
Comments:
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.

Discussing race or class in the context of any subject, including sports, is a very touchy situation. Since, in recent decades, we attempt to maintain a politically correct society, talking about social, racial, and gender, etc. differences has become a very taboo subject, one which is difficult to discuss in depth. Even movie titles such as "White Men Can't Jump" that have blatantly racial implications can be funny to some people. However, for others, this title might send up a "red flag." How did people come about this title? How has society evolved in order for this statement to be humorous? Why is it that "black men" supposedly can jump, and "white men" can't? Are these perceptions about jumping and basketball ability false or misrepresented?


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

A person's social origins can affect their orientation or even interest towards a sport in a number of ways.

One example for which this happens is social class. Simply, families with little money cannot afford sports that require money. Take skiing, for example. Even for those who decide to rent skis instead of buying skis need to spend hundereds of dollars. This doesn't include lift tickets or housing, if you go somewhere far away from home. In addition, it is probably smart to spend some time (costly time) with a ski instructor at least in the very beginning. All of these costs add up, and are thus unaffordable to a large family with little money.

Besides cost, accessibility is an issue. For children living in the city, there are basketball courts practically on every block. The only piece of equipment needed is a ball -- and even that can be shared among a large group of kids.

Gender can also be an issue. In "Girlfight," boxing is seen as man's sport. In the movie "Billy Elliot," ballet is seen as a woman's sport. Why the gender discrepancy? Why was it that Diana's father only encourage her brother to pursue boxing? Why did Billy's father fear that his son was gay? In this case, societal norms and values are what affects what parents encourage their children to do. When parents say they treat their children equally, they actually treat sons differently from daughters. In the "old days," sons learned to play ball and were encouraged to be active, but daughters learned to stay at home to cook with their mothers. In today's word, some of this unfortunately still exists.

As can be seen, there are a number of different social factors that may affect how an individual views sports.


Name:  Chris Keating
Username:  ckeating03@hotmail.com
Subject:  i want feedback on my comments
Date:  2002-02-21 12:18:39
Message Id:  1108
Comments:
Response to the question: How does a person's social origins (race/ethnicity, class, gender, etc.) affect their orientation toward sport?

In reading this question, the first thing that came to my mind was the idea that people in fact orient themselves toward a sport. Meaning, in my perception, that depending on a personīs race/ethnicity, class, gender, etc., individuals orient themselves differently toward a sport or the idea of sports in general. I am an Anthropology major and I have therefore been trained to think about ideas by breaking them down from a big picture concept into a small chunk and how that small chunk affects the individual in the society or culture in which they are living. I think that a personīs social origins have a significant impact on how they orient themselves toward sport. In addition, I think that the way in which individuals were raised to think about their need and methods of survival does in fact have a siginficant impact on how someone orients themselves toward a sport. I am going out on a limb by saying this next sentence - but does the fact that men were "traditionally" raised (traditionally in the sense of the earliest moments that humans inhabited the earth) to hunt and to gather and to defend their families (women are of course included in the bunch that I call "families"), and have therefore been socially and/or culturally trained to be aggressive, to be defensive, to be competative, and are they therefore more comfortable with these human characteristics (yes, human - no gender attached) within themselves? Do the behaviors of people in the earliest days of human existence have ANYTHING at all to do with how one orients themself toward sport?