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 3 - FORUM 3


Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Forum Question for Week 3
Date:  2002-02-21 11:31:55
Message Id:  1105
Comments:
Forum Question for Week 3

The director chose certain visual shots, scripted dialogue and personal interactions to convey a message about your character. (Rachel, Bev, Lori, Carla or the judges) What is the director attempting to ?say? about your character?

BMC students: please take a moment to read the e-mail sent today that gives important information on the final paper and the format for next Wednesday?s class.


Name:  zoe
Username:  zmeyer@smith.edu
Subject:  week 3
Date:  2002-02-21 12:42:01
Message Id:  1109
Comments:
I remember reading in the article that Rachel was the whiny one that was seen as a cheat and as someone who would do anything to win, and i think that everytime the director had her say something, it was to emulate that aspect of her personality. I think the director was trying to show the catty, more stereotypical side of women by making Rachel all about the sexuality side of the competition. She was all about the winning at any cost, and not so much her integrity and I think that's what the director wanted to show her as.
Name:  Meredith Jason
Username:  mjason@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  question for week 3
Date:  2002-02-21 13:20:53
Message Id:  1110
Comments:
The director of Pumping Iron II depicted the bodybuilder, Lori, as a very competitive and at the same time a very sweet person. Lori very many favorable characteristics compared to the other women bodybuilders. She had a role model, Rachel, and was not afraid to share her feelings with her (while Rachel was in the tanning bed). She is also very respectful to her boyfriend and trainer and wishes to win the competition in order to receive enough money to stop him from stripping. Even though she disapproves of his job, she is always respectful and loving toward him. In general, Lori approached the bodybuilding competition with integrity and determination. She trained hard.
Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Forum question fro week 3 from professor Shelton and the Smith discussion
Date:  2002-02-21 17:02:23
Message Id:  1113
Comments:
Define --as your assigned character would define them, and you may
use examples--
Sexuality
Sensuality
Feminity
Name:  Stephanie Kristal
Username:  skristal@email.smith.edu
Subject:  Rachel
Date:  2002-02-24 19:35:19
Message Id:  1123
Comments:
I think that the director was trying to portray Rachel as the hostile character. THe winner that got to ben d the rules when she pleased. She stated that she wanted to look like wonder woman and I think that was what they were trying to make her look like. The fighter at all costs.
Name:  RR
Username:  
Subject:  Rachel
Date:  2002-02-24 22:02:23
Message Id:  1131
Comments:
Rachel's character was on the more "traditional" side of the women's bodybuilding debate, as she was constantly remarking on the necessity of looking feminine and was frequently taped worrying about her phsyical attributes, such as her hair or makeup. I think, in creating Rachel's character as whiny and iritating, the director was showing the "femininity" side of the debate as negative and silly.
Name:  Balpreet Bhogal
Username:  bbhogal@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-25 13:04:52
Message Id:  1146
Comments:
I don't feel like Lori portrayed anything extraordinary in the film. I do believe that she portrayed sexuality, sensuality, and femininity, but that is all she had. I think the reason she didn't win the competition is because that is all she had; she portrayed the same aspects in a bodybuilder as everyone else, but she didn't show anything else. I guess you could say she was average, the median of the bell curve. Also, the main reason she was competing was to get enough money for her boyfriend to stop stripping. Personally, I feel like he didn't mind it much, but that's beside the point. Although the movie made her out to be the emotional favorite, in the end, it wasn't a big surprise that she didn't win. The movie didn't give her a personality, a character, something that makes her stand out. And because of that, it was obvious that she wasn't going to win the competition.
Name:  Abigail Claiborne
Username:  aclaibor@smith.edu
Subject:  Week 3
Date:  2002-02-25 17:45:48
Message Id:  1160
Comments:
Our character Rachel was portrayed as one who would do anything to win and get the attention. In the very first scene when she was posing for the magazine cover, while she looked annoyed and unhappy to be there, I think inside she was basking in the glory of everyone looking at her body. She said in the movie that she wished that she designed her body image to be like Wonder Woman and she thinks that every woman wants to look like her. Many of the director's shots focused on her abdominal and I think that she was trying to emphasize that she is skinny and that all women should aim to be skinny. Rachel's interactions with Christian made her look like an idiot, saying that should would marry him, but only if she knew him. Her numerous references to religion, I felt, were forced and fake. She wanted people to think that deep down she was a spiritual character, but from her portrayal in the movie, she seemed very superficial. Also, Rachel always seemed to act as if she was superior to everyone else..trying to enter with a padded uniform, leading discussions in the locker room. While many women probably did look up to her, (i.e. Lori), I am not sure why because while she might win, she does it through flaunting herself, flirting with the judges and not through hard work. We saw all of the other girls working extremely hard in the gym and we rarely saw Rachel working at a high intensity. If the director's goal was to make Rachel look superficial and snobby, then the director succeeded.
Name:  Abigail Claiborne
Username:  aclaibor@smith.edu
Subject:  Week 3
Date:  2002-02-25 17:45:49
Message Id:  1161
Comments:
Our character Rachel was portrayed as one who would do anything to win and get the attention. In the very first scene when she was posing for the magazine cover, while she looked annoyed and unhappy to be there, I think inside she was basking in the glory of everyone looking at her body. She said in the movie that she wished that she designed her body image to be like Wonder Woman and she thinks that every woman wants to look like her. Many of the director's shots focused on her abdominal and I think that she was trying to emphasize that she is skinny and that all women should aim to be skinny. Rachel's interactions with Christian made her look like an idiot, saying that should would marry him, but only if she knew him. Her numerous references to religion, I felt, were forced and fake. She wanted people to think that deep down she was a spiritual character, but from her portrayal in the movie, she seemed very superficial. Also, Rachel always seemed to act as if she was superior to everyone else..trying to enter with a padded uniform, leading discussions in the locker room. While many women probably did look up to her, (i.e. Lori), I am not sure why because while she might win, she does it through flaunting herself, flirting with the judges and not through hard work. We saw all of the other girls working extremely hard in the gym and we rarely saw Rachel working at a high intensity. If the director's goal was to make Rachel look superficial and snobby, then the director succeeded.
Name:  Jessica
Username:  jlpadget@mtholyoke.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-25 19:19:53
Message Id:  1167
Comments:
Rachel was portrayed as very snobby. She was very aware that her body was fit and attractive. She was the favored bodybuilder at this contest, and she kenw it. Rachel tested the judges by having the wrong swimsuit and by blowing kisses to the judges and audience after they were asked to return to the center stage. I believe Rachel's constant refference to religion was a front. I think it was strictly for attention.
Name:  Aimee
Username:  Aimdogger@aol.com
Subject:  Rachel
Date:  2002-02-25 19:43:53
Message Id:  1168
Comments:
The person our group choose was Rachel. She was shown as very bratty. She was one of the favorites to win the contest, so she was very dissapointed when she didnt come in first. then used her religous belives to try and cover it up. I would say the directors used her character to show the sexuality in sport. since she was the one who played to the judges. as well as the shots they choose of her. in the contest the first time she was asked to step forward, i dont know if anyone else heard this but someone said "you cant flex bones rachel" i thought this was quite interesting and played into our societys view of what attrative is didnt fool somepeople into thinking she was best deserving to win.
Name:  janet
Username:  kwan4life2@yahoo.com
Subject:  Rachel
Date:  2002-02-26 00:35:18
Message Id:  1187
Comments:
I think the director was in someways reinforcing the ingrained stereotypes about how women should look and do? I dont know if she was doing this on purpose or this was just something she conscously did? It seemed as those that Rachel's behavior as a women was portrayed as in accepted way of thinking there was not really any obvious opposition from a majority of the group. I think the director made Rachel the defintion of feminity.
Name:  lforough
Username:  lforough@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-26 10:51:23
Message Id:  1204
Comments:
I think we were supposed to be rooting for Lori to win all throughout the movie. THough at times I did I think in the end she lacked the spark that would halp her get the title. There was nothing about her that was really special she was just like everyother bodybuilder. Plus her main reason to win it was for the money. SHe just did not seem to have the love and passion for bodybuilding.
Name:  Natalie Merrill
Username:  nmerrill@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Week 3
Date:  2002-02-26 19:01:40
Message Id:  1224
Comments:
My character's (Lori) purpose in the film was to help establish Rachel's femininity. Feminity was a major focus of the film and trying to establish a clear and distinct line over which Bev crossed showed us that. Lori openly admitted to immitating Rachel. Lori was a perfect example of the majority of the women there. There was nothing significantly different from her or the other women's bodies. The reason she is integral to the story is that she is "more feminine"- as are most of the other women. Rachel was perhaps the "ideal feminine" body character and by having Lori immitate Rachel it was established that that "ideal feminine" body was very important. At the same time, Rachel did not win and neither did Lori, but another woman similar in body size and "femininity" won the contest. It was clear what was more important. The body shots used for my character were nothing remarkable or different than those of the other women withought highlighted characters. She was representative of the mainstream female bodybuilder.
Name:  Kristina
Username:  kdavis@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  lori
Date:  2002-02-26 19:33:44
Message Id:  1225
Comments:
I have to agree with most of what has been said thus far, and say that lori was used to show a more feminine side to bodybuilders. more than any other character in the movie, lori is the one who is shown having a traditional life outside of bodybuilding. we see her interact with her boyfriend and we see more of a connection between the two of them than anyone else. bev is shown with her husband for two seconds and her trainers the rest of the time. rachel is really only shown with mirrors as her companions. she was the female bodybuilder we were supposed to identify with most, and lori was the character that we, the audience, got to know most. by the end of the movie, we know what the stakes for lori are and why she started to bodybuild. that is something that wasn't focused on by the other characters.
Name:  Kristina Davis
Username:  kdavis@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  lori
Date:  2002-02-26 19:33:55
Message Id:  1226
Comments:
I have to agree with most of what has been said thus far, and say that lori was used to show a more feminine side to bodybuilders. more than any other character in the movie, lori is the one who is shown having a traditional life outside of bodybuilding. we see her interact with her boyfriend and we see more of a connection between the two of them than anyone else. bev is shown with her husband for two seconds and her trainers the rest of the time. rachel is really only shown with mirrors as her companions. she was the female bodybuilder we were supposed to identify with most, and lori was the character that we, the audience, got to know most. by the end of the movie, we know what the stakes for lori are and why she started to bodybuild. that is something that wasn't focused on by the other characters.
Name:  Gretchen Hitt
Username:  ghitt@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Portrayal
Date:  2002-02-26 20:12:45
Message Id:  1230
Comments:
My group was assigned Lori as our character for discussion. As has already been written on this forum, she was more invested in winning the competition for the money than for the sport. I don't think this is unusual in sport films (or in sport for that matter). The elevation of one's family/loved ones by winning a well-funded competition is common among sport narratives, but I was disappointed at how trivial and comical Lori's particular situation was. She was trying to keep her boyfriend from stripping, which provoked more joking in our group than discussion. He was supportive of Lori's endeavors, but didn't seem as invested in leaving his profession as she was of having him leave. This hardly makes for a compelling human-interest story. Lori was also the only one to have a role model (Rachel). She admittedly tried to sculpt herself after the precident Rachel represented. The only real growth in her character occured when she became disillusioned at Rachel's drunkenness. I think there was some potential in this character for an added social dimension, both in her need for a role model and in her pesonal life, however the opening scenes of women's bodies gleaming naked in the blue light foreshadowed the lengths the movie would go to in order to remain superficial, to show the women's strength and work without taking it at all seriously.
Name:  Paula Arboleda
Username:  parboled@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-26 20:40:50
Message Id:  1232
Comments:
Lori seemed like the body builder who was in most need of the money. The director presented her as a somewhat competitive body builder, but she was definitely not as competitive as Rachel. Lori was muscular enough but not to the extent that she would be perceived as ďunfeminine.Ē Overall, Lori didnít appear to be such a significant figure in the movie. Her body was shaped in the image of Rachelís. Her body didnít challenge any conventions in the body-building world; Lori wasnít a very interesting character.
Name:  Gloria Ramon
Username:  gramon@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2002-02-26 22:18:57
Message Id:  1235
Comments:
Our character for discussion was Lori, and as stated already she seemed to be the one least invested in winning for her own personal goal. Winning the completion was more of a necessity because her and her husband needed money. Compared to the other women this made it okay. She had to body build to get her husband to stop go go dancing. Out of all the women, to me, Lori was the most feminine and sexual. This was exaggerated with the way she was portrayed. She had what seemed to be a very healthy relationship with her husband. At one point they were even discussing marriage, which is something, all women are expected to do. Even the way Lori carried herself was more feminine. She was more quiet and passive compared to the other women. She even had the little bow in her when she was performing individually. I agree with Paula, who said that Lori did not challenge the conventions of bodybuilding. She did not want it as bad as the other women wanted it and in the long, I doubt it really mattered.
Name:  aubrey
Username:  astrohl@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  week 3
Date:  2002-02-27 15:37:30
Message Id:  1260
Comments:
My character was Lori. She was my favorite,emotionally, because she really seemed like a nice person. She wanted to win the competition in order that her boyfriend would no longer have to strip for money. However, Lori did not seem to have much personality as a weight lifter. I did not really sense a competitive love for the sport in her.