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Women, Sport, and Film - 2004
Student Papers
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Remember the Titans 2: Invasion of the Gorgons

Dustin Raup

Years after the heart-wrenching tale of young males overcoming racism by bonding over sweat and spandex pants comes the sequel, Remember the Titans 2: Gorgons. Instead of addressing the racial issue, it will follow the integration of women into the tradition of football. The unification comes about when a professional football is given the choice to drop out of the world altogether or merge their male and female teams due to new law that states that all teams must be coed.

The story opens in the locker room of the women's football team. The team is fairly new, shown by new equipment and jerseys, with their mascot, the Gorgon, proudly emblazoned in green on white jerseys. Redefining Title IX years before had brought about this change. Women must have exactly the same sports as men, with the same funding. Somehow, it all worked and women's sports are finally on par with men's sports; even as women draw the same size crowds, however, they still maintain a physical and strategic difference from the men. Women, in football especially, play a quicker, more strategic game than men. Men over the years have gotten bigger, stronger and more stupid. Strategy developed into a clash of shoving bodies. But now, the schools have run out of money. Also, the fans have become restless, waiting for the sport's new development.

When the team integrates, it becomes doubly sized and doubly staffed. No one wants to give up his or her position, least of all the coaches. In the tradition of the original movie, the non-traditional coach becomes the leader of the team. With a female as head coach, men, especially the drugged and technology enhanced male players must learn to cope with this loss of authority. The movie medium is perfect for representation of this situation; the coach berates an unruly player while he towers above her, roughly three times her size even as she puts him in his place. With such a size difference, drama ensues, as some female players get hurt. Women's status as an equal sex is tried and triumphs as the men and women learn to work as a unit and stop trying to kill each other.

The public wants none of the political or economic burden of the shift. They want their old sports back; sports as a whole evolved since the first movie. Many sports not only integrated, but classic aspects of the games were tossed as the players grew too strong for the traditional rules. For example, three-dimensional coed soccer dominates Europe. With all the changes, the public doesn't notice at first the integration. But soon the traditional gender battle arises. The equality of genders is attacked as well as the place of the genders. A movement is started to send women back to the home.

Gender identity plays a huge role in this film. Men become aggressive brutes, creatures of pure testosterone, and women become adaptable, thinking players. There are crossovers within the teams; a lithe man who forms strategy ahead of muscle and a woman who enhances her strength like a man to gain the edge must both find their way into the team and together.

The relationships will differ in form from Remember the Titans. Heterosexuality, no longer the oppressive regime of 20th century sexuality, still dominates but same sex couples must face the bigotry that minority brings. This is also addressed in the intra-team tensions that arise. The team must learn to cope with all of their differences to function as a unit.

As championship nears, the team must now face the public. They've come under fire in the end for their integration and now they must show, for the greater good of humanity how wonderful and fuzzy integration has been for them. After all, Disney owns the rights to the first movie and likely, in keeping with tradition, makes the awful sequel.

The movie ends with the championship won and tragic accidents all around. A riot breaks out in the game and a player is killed trying to calm the crowd. Players become injured, especially the women. While the game is won, football itself dies, becoming two separate sports for the genders. This seems to calm the masses and the players must now cope with the loss of comrades. The women move on to a tactical game with shifting terrain and new rules to make strategy more creative. The men begin augmenting their bodies to become half machine, beating the heck out of each other and bringing a coliseum feel to the game. They begin to face stigma for this and the shift in status between men and women changes.

The moral of the story is that men and women are different but face the same issues, especially in sport. They must cope with the same racism, homophobia and gender roles that have plagued them all through history.

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