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Women, Sport, and Film

Good Essays
Women, Sport, and Film

In this course we have examined the changing cultural ideal of the woman. Throughout the course, there was an important relation between being female and feminine dress. We saw that those female athletes who were able to compete athletically on the field while retaining a feminine appearance off of the field were more easily accepted as female athletes. In many cases, this feminine quality attracted the male spectator. Having a male love interest that reciprocated these desires validated these athletes as females. Despite the evolution of the female ideal, women are still pressured to demonstrate their femininity. Feminine dress remains the symbol of femininity to which women retreat. For men, sport takes on the role of revalidating one's masculinity.

The cultural ideal of a woman today is much more complex than years past. An ideal woman in the fifties was expected to be the ultimate homemaker. She should support her husband and children, cook delicious meals, keep a spotless home and embody an attractive, immaculately dressed wife and mother. A perfect example of this woman is Julianne Moore's character in Far From Heaven. Her days are spent perfecting homemade birthday cakes and catering to her family's needs. However, the movie takes a twist when she suddenly abandons her perfect life and perfect family. The ideal woman of today is no longer expected to fit the homemaker mold. In fact, many women who do choose to stay at home full time experience social scrutiny for not developing careers of their own.

In the movies today we see two images of the modern woman, yet only one of these two is today's ideal woman. The first, as we saw in Love and Basketball, is the mother homemaker. She, much like t...

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...ty is dealing with these changing gender definitions, people find comfort in distinguishing certain characteristics that prove a person's retention of the traditional gender roles. For females, this is primarily make-up and feminine clothing, for males, a deep interest in sport. While it is now common for both sexes to take an interest in the other's "gender defining characteristic" a strong interest in this area, if not counteracted by traditional gender behavior, makes Americans very uneasy. As we have seen in Bend It Like Beckham, when a female defines herself primarily through sport, society jumps to the conclusion that she is a lesbian. Likewise, a male "overly interested in his dress" is labeled gay. Hopefully, as more females participate in sport, and as more males take an interest in their appearances, these two gender frontiers will continue to break down.