Women, Title IX and Film

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Women, Title IX and Film

When I was younger I can remember watching old movies with my mother every Sunday. I loved watching the dashing men sweep away the pretty women and the extravagantly cheesy music. However much I loved the romance part of the story, it always struck me as kind of funny the way the woman was usually a very passive part of the whole relationship making model. She waited for him to kiss her, and the (or I should really say perhaps then) the ball is in her court and she has the ability to make decisions. In countless movies the woman is mad at the man and so what does he do? He grabs her and kisses her passionately. I always thought that it looked like it hurt. Some guy mashing his face into yours when you really do not want to be kissed? Not pleasant. My point in all this is that if you look at movies like these and then watch, say, Bend it Like Beckham or Girl Fight, the woman is actively choosing her sport, her path in life, and her relationship. Women now have the right to be empowered in film (despite the still pervading Hollywood kitsch) and on of these ways, is inherently, through sport.

Sport empowers women. That is a proven fact, and for many of us Title IX babies, a no-brainer. The question is why? When Title IX was still a fresh, new thing, for women sport served as something once denied them that they could finally experience. It represented getting the ball and being able to play just like "one of the boys." Now women were on an even playing field, and that is always empowering. For these women it represented a chance more than anything else, but women of my generation get something else out of sport that makes the modern woman different.

In films across the board, sport or no, the image of woman is changing. She is thinner, yes, to keep up with the Hollywood standard of the waif, but she is also fit and muscular. Jada Pinkett-Smith is my favorite example of the new Hollywood body. She has muscular definition in her body but she is still very feminine. Women are expected (not just in Hollywood) to go to the gym regularly and work out. A woman who is not physically fit is not as attractive in today's modern world and that is the truth.

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