Women, Sport, and Film Course

Sponsored by the Department of Athletics and Physical Education at Bryn Mawr 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 1

 


Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Dare To Compete
Date:  2004-01-29 18:18:22
Message Id:  7827
Comments:
1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.
2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is teh culture of sport still changing?
Name:  
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  This is me, hello.
Date:  2004-02-01 20:50:52
Message Id:  7881
Comments:
1. Intro

Hello, My name is Dustin Raup and I'm a Bryn Mawr sophomore in Rhoads. I am a chemistry major and I come from Harrisburg Pennsylvania, home of the nation's lowest air quality. Oh and it's the capital of Pennsylvania because Philadelphia was being sacked.

I've played a lot of sports in my time because I have a sickly brother and my father needed someone to male bond to. (They were Ballet, Gymnastics, Soccer, Basketball, Softball and (if this counts and I think it does) Marching Band). I didn't have the grace to be a dancer and I scared myself by dislocating a couple toes and spraining an ankle in gymnastics so I moved on to "safer" sports like soccer and basketball. And then everyone had a growth spurt and I never did so I finally settled on softball and band, hoping not to be killed. I played shortstop for about 5 years and then got shipped to every position on the field, finally finishing off high school as a catcher/center fielder/designated hitter/benchwarmer. My band was a competitive drumcore style band. Believe it or not, band kept me in better cardiovascular shape than softball. I try to swim now and again because I'm still kind of a jock deep down.

I'm taking this course because I like movies and sports and female athletes.

So yes. That's me.

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?

While great strides have been made, primarily that women are now allowed to be athletes, there is still a stigma on female athletes. If a girl is tough and muscular, she's automatically labled a "dyke" or some equivalent thereof. Even girls who play more than one sport get this, no matter what they look like. It sickens me because I was at the recieving end of all that and as if high school wasn't hard enough already I had to deal with vicious rumors about the softball team as well. (those involving the massive orgies we had in the locker room --- how come I wasn't invited?!) Seriously though, remember when the US won the women's world cup? And the one player unshirted herself? And everone got all upset? That was the silliest thing I'd ever seen because I know I've seen a woman with less clothing than that on prime time tv. I mean honestly.

The changes are evident however. Take the Gatorade commercials. Now they show sweaty women in the same cool lighting and colorful sweat effects as the men. And they had Mia Hamm on equal footing with Michael Jordan. If that isn't the greatest compliment to a female athlete ever, I don't know what is.


Name:  Dustin Raup
Username:  draup@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  oops
Date:  2004-02-01 20:52:14
Message Id:  7882
Comments:
I posted my message without filling out who I was, sorry!
Name:  Megan Lasher
Username:  mlasher@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  hello
Date:  2004-02-01 21:26:16
Message Id:  7883
Comments:
1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

I'm a sophomore, I'm from northwestern Pennsylvania (near Erie), I live in Denbigh. I played soccer and softball and did ballet when I was really young and played travel ice hockey when I was in middle school, but that's it on my sport resume.

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is teh culture of sport still changing?

The culture of sport has to keep changing because there is still a long way to go before women get equal respect as far as sports go. I think there's a serious issue of body image that goes along with women in sports... it seemed counter-productive in the documentary we watched to refer to the Soviet Union participants as being "hefty" and other things like that; it seemed to be a film that was to inspire women to be proud of their femininity within the "masculine" bounds of sport. Sports can be very empowering to women as far as giving them self-esteem, and to comment on other women like that seemed very strange for such a feminist film. Maybe it was because they were communists? Anyway, as I said in class, the thing that struck me the most during the film was that sports where a woman's body is covered and not recognizable immediately as a woman's are not part of the group of accepted sports. Add this to the sitcom-stereotype of men sitting around watching women play tennis and you have something to think about.


Name:  Heather Price
Username:  hprice@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  hi
Date:  2004-02-01 22:16:54
Message Id:  7884
Comments:
Hi my name is Heather Price, and I'm one of those seniors Amy Campbell warns you about (don't wait until the last minute like me!). I live in Glenmede and am a Russian major.

I think that the developement of women's sports is really important for the development of the women's movement in general because it has broken down so many pre-conceived barriers from long ago. If you told any guy today that you couldn't do something physical because your ovaries may fall out onto the floor, he'd just laugh and call you lazy. It's almost hard to believe how quickly things have changed from just 80 years ago. I think that as time passes, women's sport will develope along with women's rights. Right now, most men would rather shoot themselves then watch "women's professional" anything, but I think that too will hopefully change. Men's sports are still glorified, but as more and more women play, I think the recognition will have to follow.


Name:  Jessie
Username:  Anonymous
Subject:  
Date:  2004-02-01 23:45:12
Message Id:  7889
Comments:
Hi all, I'm Jessie, I'm from Rock 2nd 1st. I'm a sophomore, and a hopeful Fem/Gen major. Just a warning, I'm not so much into sports, but I'm definitely into the other two categories of our class ;)

What I think of when I think of athletic connotations, qualities of the archetypal athlete are words like strong, courageous, bold, and competitive. All of these words are also strongly associated with idealized masculinity. Indeed, put them all together and you've got a rough definition of virility. I think what Amy Campbell said about sports being central to American life is very true. Athletes are idolized in our culture, as are the values they represent. And these values are nearly exclusive to men and masculinity. In this way, women are denied associations with athleticism, and the central position in American culture it represents. Although women have obviously made great progress in entering the athletic spotlight, women athletes are still necessarily marked by their gender and conflicting connotations that their gender role has in this culture.


Name:  Sarah Kim
Username:  skim@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2004-02-01 23:51:01
Message Id:  7890
Comments:
Hi! I'm Sarah Kim. I'm a sophomore, and I live in Rhoads South (Deep South). I'm pretty sure I'm majoring in Psychology, but I haven't declared yet.


Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?

I have to say the documentary we saw on Thursday really had an impact on me. I really thought about how hard women struggled to be where we are today. The women who were highlighted, the pioneers of gender equality in sports, were under so much pressure! Each failure and each success stood as such a representation of ALL women. That's such a burden to bear, and it makes me appreciate my freedom so much more because I only have that freedom due to these exceptionally brave women. I think the culture of sport IS still changing. There is still a marked gender difference in sports, but I strongly believe that it IS getting better with time.


Name:  Rachel Robbins
Username:  rrobbins@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Batter Up
Date:  2004-02-02 01:08:30
Message Id:  7892
Comments:
My name is Rachel Robbins I am a transfer student, and Fine Arts major from Philly living in Radnor. I signed up for the class because I am taking a Film and Video course this semester, and I thought that the two classes would compliment each other nicely.

2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?

I have to be completely honest on this one. I was a Title 9 baby just like (presumably) all of us taking the class. So in true form when I was 6 years old, I gave up my point shoes and pink tights for stirrups and a softball glove. I played on the softball team for 7 years, and for all seven years my team was, and I'm serious, The Creampuffs.
The Creampuffs.
Thanks to the Fairmount Sports Association (those fields by the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Parkway), the Creampuffs would play the Good Girls, and the Sugar Plums and so on and so on. To make matters worse, if the boys ever needed the field for a game and the scheduling did not work out quite perfectly, even if we had a game in session, we would have to forfeit the field so that the boys could use it. This went for the boy's league our age or younger. However, if we, the Creampuffs were playing the Darlings, we had to wait for the boys, (who by the way had great team names like the Jets and the Dodgers.)

I think that "society's" view of women and sport has changed dramatically in the past 80 years, however, I think women, and often girls especially are given a "soft"ball and a lollipop, and told we look cute with such a big bat. And while a lot has changed, that "women" and female athletes as well, are still perceived as passive, sexual objects or mothers, and ultimately non-threatening (with or without a javelin).

The danger occurs when female athletes are held not to the standards of their own ability as living beings, but to the standards deemed acceptable by "society" in response to them as women. The question then becomes not, what can you do? But, what can you do as a woman? (--That's not a bad throw/time/score-- for a girl)
This can be extended to as a Latina woman? -- As a black woman? --And even to Professions and Titles and the infinite other compartments that we press ourselves/are pressed into.


Name:  Jenna Rosania
Username:  jrosania@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2004-02-02 18:35:59
Message Id:  7904
Comments:
I'm Jenna Rosania and I'm a junior majoring in anthropology with a concentration in environmental studies and a minor in biology. I played sports when I was younger, basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, also ballet and tap, but I pretty much stopped when I came to Bryn Mawr. I don't mean for that to be a statement about Bryn Mawr, although I guess it kind of is. I'm from San Francsico, CA and I live in Rock.

I never really felt the glass cieling of being a girl in sports, but I guess that's because I had no brothers, my dad was always eager to practice with me, and our leagues were always well funded and well attended by our parents and friends. The only time I felt frustrated by any inequity among our teams and the boys teams was in football, but our school's football team was incredible so there was no competition, and I didn't want to play football even if I could. I think the more competitive and professional the sport gets, the more women feel the differences in rewards between the men and the women. In professional leagues, it's still true today that in many cases the women's leagues are much less funded and regretably much less publicized than the men's leagues, probably because the men's teams have been around so long and admittedly seem more legitimate because of their roots. Hopefully once the idea of strong, passionate competitive women as an accepted norm in our society takes hold, people will stop seeing women in sports as something they have to get used to and instead as just another manifestation of an important aspect of womanhood and humanity in general.


Name:  Katherine Macdonald
Username:  kmacdona@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2004-02-02 22:00:45
Message Id:  7913
Comments:
1. Please introduce yourself to your 'team'.

Hey all. I'm Kat Macdonald, a junior in Rhoads North. Sports-wise... I play chess. And. Um. Yeah.

In all seriousness, I have the physical skills of a melted creampuff. I've done a little dance here at Bryn Mawr, and I enjoy swimming, but that's really the end of it. Oh, and I'm taking badminton this semester. On the other hand, I love movies, and I'm looking forward to the interaction between Something I Know and Something I Don't.


2. Respond/react to: Societies view of women and sport has changed significantly in the last 80 years. How do these changes impact women today and is the culture of sport still changing?

While I think that the long history of women's troubles in sports has lead to a period of freedom unknown to any of the generations of the past, I also find myself troubled because the generally cyclical nature of the women's sporting tradition (the trend in positive and negative views on women's athleticism, which we've seen time and time again) leaves me in some doubt as to the permanence of this current freedom.

This leave me in the unfortunate position of knowing that we are in a society of unbelievable physicality for women... and at the same time, I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop. It's been a little over thirty years since Title IX was enacted, and as many others have pointed out, even with that measure we still aren't in a position of equality with male athletes. For that matter, it's _only_ been about thirty years -- I want to believe that this time, women will prevail over the domination of societal structures and historical values, but I have serious doubts about our chances.


Name:  Sarah Martin
Username:  smartin@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  First Class
Date:  2004-02-03 13:33:34
Message Id:  7939
Comments:
Well, first I need to apologize for posting late-- the world was working against me this weekend. My name is Sarah Martin and I am a frosh living in Erdman basement, A-diamond. I broke my wrist last semester in a dance course I was taking for P.E. credit. I decided that this semester I would take a course with a low possibility of breaking a bone.
I think, at first glance, society's view of women and sport has changed since the 1920s. Women are able to play all different kinds of sports without society being disgusted or calling them "unladylike". I think, though, if we look at the sports today, women are allowed to compete but they need to look beautiful doing it. Today, all women, athletes or not, are really only considered beautiful by the media and a large portion of society if they are thin with finely toned muscles. I think this puts an unhealthy pressure on women to be perfect.
Name:  Amy Campbell
Username:  acampbel@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  what are the next questions???
Date:  2004-02-03 14:18:29
Message Id:  7942
Comments:
Great comments by all-- it-- the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". I'd like to toss out (yes another sports metaphor..) how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??
Name:  Sarah Kim
Username:  skim@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Sports, Women and Film?
Date:  2004-02-03 22:20:52
Message Id:  7953
Comments:
...how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another?

Hi, well, okay, I didn't really add anything about my athletic abilities (or lack thereof...) in my introduction so I guess I can add it now. I most definitely do not consider myself either an athlete or athletic; I was just never into sports. Oh, I did the obligatory year or two of ballet and gymnastics when I was about 5 years old, but that's about it. I did do some horseback riding when I was in 4th, 5th and 6th grade, too, but I don't feel like it was that physically exerting (for me at least, I can't speak for the horse). Overall, I wouldn't consider myself a lazy bum per se...but...well, okay, maybe I would. :)

OKAY, now girls, I have just GOT to mention something that I saw today. It was a review discussing the LINGERIE BOWL...yes, that's right, the Lingerie Bowl. It was the equivalent of the SuperBowl, except for women. OH, not just ANY women either, these were MODELS who were scantily clad in bras and boy-short underwear, running around playing football. I think Sarah earlier mentioned how women are allowed to play sports, but they're supposed to "look pretty" while playing them...is this not case and point right here? I just laughed when I saw it. I can't believe that the female equivalent of the SUPERBOWL is the LINGERIE BOWL!!! I suppose it's due to the fact that while in many other sports, females have made a lot of progress and are on almost equal footing with males, football is one of the last vestiges of male solidarity. What do you guys think?


Name:  Kat Macdonald
Username:  kmacdona@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Lingerie Bowl
Date:  2004-02-04 21:21:26
Message Id:  7971
Comments:
Sarah Kim:

I think that's an interesting connection to what somebody mentioned in class, about that tennis player who had her picture taken in her kitchen, in her underwear. What is it about our underwear that seems to set men at ease? What would happen if we just appeared naked?

I dunno. On the nakedness issue, I mean. At that point, either it's pornography (one extreme), or it's just another body (the other choice -- I hesitate to say extreme). In either case, we'd say the same thing about a naked man appearing in front of us -- ooo or eh. (Of course, there's always the "ew" response, but I'm not sure where that fits into my argument, so I'm pretending it doesn't exist.)

But _underwear_, now, _underwear_ can be a fetish object, a "strictly for girls" object, a very active sign that proclaims Not All the Parts Visible On Men Can Be Visible On Women (with the unspoken, Because You Are Dirty/You Are Innocent)...

I think at the bottom of it, when a woman can equal/beat a man in something he considers his domain, seeing her in her underwear 1)reinforces which gender is which, 2)reinforces that the female gender needs protecting/does not have all the freedoms men have, 3)reinforces the sexual aspect of women, to the detriment of the physical aspect, 4)looks plain ridiculous (or, more specifically, like she is in a position where she could/should be embarrassed/ridiculed), and therefore, not to be taken seriously.

Which is all a hell of a thing.


Name:  Dustin Raup
Username:  draup@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  
Date:  2004-02-05 00:59:00
Message Id:  7980
Comments:
Great comments by all-- it-- the 'conversation' does raise some intersting 'next questions". I'd like to toss out (yes another sports metaphor..) how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??

Who is an athlete? I think athleticism extends much farther than grace, talent or dumb luck. It's all about having a love of the game at some point. It's about living the game, losing oneself in the moment of adrenaline. That is athleticism. Also, most people are athletes at some point or another, allowing for the people who just don't like to exert themselves. Nearly ever child I've ever seen has gotten lost in a physical game, even if it was one they were playing alone.

Now the self-image has many outlooks. I remember playing on my varsity softball team the year we got new uniforms. The team picked them out to be "cute." Then, there was controversy over who got what size pants and whose butt was bigger than whose. And then there was an entire day wasted on finding accessories. While I considered all of this nonsense, the entire team was bent of looking "cute." They were obsessed with remaining femme and cute while playing softball of all sports. As many of you probably know softball is a dusty, sweaty, sticky and generally gross sport. Their aptitude for it was also amazing. We had a pitcher nicknamed "Sparkle" because she wore glitter on her face. A lot of glitter. She would reapply when necessary. The most interesting aspect of this whole issue was, while Sparkle was reapplying her glitter, she was eating sunflower seeds, a decidingly uncute food. Spitting, as is necessary with sunflower seeds, is decidedly masculine and in no way cute.


Name:  Rachel Robbins
Username:  rrobbins@brynmawr.edu
Subject:  Physical Selves
Date:  2004-02-05 04:34:20
Message Id:  7983
Comments:
--how we define ourselves and who is an athlete? Do you consider yourself an athlete? athletic? and are we all athletes at one time or another? How can /do we think about our physical selves...what is the connection to the movies??


I think that these questions are poignant, especially in reference to Megan's comment about bodies, perception, and self-esteem. I think that much of the female view of our own bodies is informed by perceptions, not just the way that we perceive ourselves, but the role of the gaze, and the way that how we are looked at effects how we see ourselves.

In this respect, I think that (while there are exceptions) may women are raised believing that their body is not 'okay' as it is, performing and functioning how it does. I used to work in a bookstore, and I remember reading somewhere (and forgive me if you are familiar with this and I am citing, or remembering wrong) that Betty Friedan started an address by asking the audience to stand up. The men were then to try (while standing) to make their bodies occupy as little space as possible essentially to constrict themselves. The women in the audience were then asked to try to occupy as much space as possible. This resulted in men holding their legs together, and their arms tight at their sides, and the women puffing up their chests, and standing with their legs shoulder length apart with their arms falling from their shoulders' puffed up position. She then said that this exercise was the physical embodiment of gender difference. I think that even the most enlightened among us flips over the package of organic veggies to check for calories. It is very difficult not to bear the covert misogyny of our society in our perceptions of our physical selves.

In this respect, I think that athletics plays an enormously important role in the way that they effect not just perceptions of the physical self, but the physical body itself. By strengthening the body, perhaps perceptions of the body, and ability can also be strengthened. I know that for me, when I considered myself a practicing athlete, not only did I feel more physically able, but I felt more mentally alert, and less superficially image aware. For what is the difference of pounds,sizes, and inches when the body is strengthened from heart to lungs to blood to skin?




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