Women, Sport & Film

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Women, Sport & Film

In some ways, women today face more pressure to be perfect than ever before in history. The feminine ideal of the past has been replaced by a new face — stronger and more independent, but under no less pressure to conform to society's expectations than her predecessors. Today's woman must be all that she was in the past, and more. In addition to being beautiful, feminine, and demure, she must also be physically fit and academically and socially successful. It is no longer appropriate for a woman to depend on anyone, for that would imply subordinance and inferiority. Instead, woman must fill all of these roles on her own. Although achieving independence is an important step for women, it brings added pressure. This is especially visible in films about women in sport. These women experience these pressures at an intense level. They are expected to be phenomenal athletes, and are not held to a lower standard than men. However, they must also be beautiful — if they are not, they face the possibility of discrimination. Added to this is the pressure that they are representative of the entire gender. Films about women in sports show the intense pressure on female athletes to fulfill all aspects of the ideal woman.

This is evident in films such as Bend it Like Beckham. Both main characters, Jess and Jules, face pressure from their families, teammates and society in general to be the best at both playing soccer and being female. The pressure to excel in sport comes from their motivations and their teammates. For Jess and Jules, it is especially important, since they are representative of all women footballers. They are on one of the few teams for women in the area. If they play badly, others will believe that wo...

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...her heritage and the rich history of womankind. The female athlete must be sensitive to this and show that, even as she succeeds in a traditionally male arena, she can satisfy this most basic of feminine ideals.

Although women today are less restricted than they were in the past, they are under no less pressure to conform to an ideal. Instead, the ideal woman has become more complicated. A woman must be successful in a nontraditional area — be it

her career or athletics — and also conform to the old standard of beauty and sexuality. This is evident in films about female athletes, who face immense pressure to be perfect both on and off the playing field, andto represent their gender in a

positive light. Although women have more options, it is no easier to be female now than it was in the past. If anything, women today face higher expectations than ever before.

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