Call for Writers: Women in Sports

For some reason, Netflix keeps giving me a list of Sports Movies I Might Like. It took me about nine years of scrolling through the list to find a single Sports Movie featuring a woman—A League of Their Own (which is also the only woman-centered film Complex included on their list of “25 Best Sports Movies Streaming on Netflix Right Now”).
A League of Their Own, however, is not the only Sports Movie ever made about women. (And not to knock it, but the most famous scene in the film revolves around a dude—a drunk Tom Hanks yelling “There’s no crying in baseball” at one of the players). The lack of availability of these films, though, especially on a large-scale platform like Netflix, is yet another instance of women’s stories not being taken seriously.
And while there are a number of important articles that appear when you google “women in sports movies,” the second hit that comes up (after Wikipedia) is “Top 10 Hottest Women in Sports, Movies, Television and Whatever.” The one after that? ESPN’s ridiculously titled, “Evil Women of Sports Movies.”
There are, fortunately, so many amazing organizations counteracting this nonsense by supporting women and girls in sports, from the Women’s Sports Foundation to the Feminist Majority Foundation.
Of course, we couldn’t have this conversation at all if it weren’t for Title IX. The law, passed in 1972, states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

This has undoubtedly influenced and empowered women and girls, and people are more willing to push back against discrimination now; Cassy Blythe’s Facebook page, “Let Her Play”—in honor of her 12-year-old daughter Maddy—has almost 50,000 likes.
But Dave Zirin wrote in his article for The Nation called, “Serena Williams and Getting ‘Emotional’ for Title IX” that in 1972, the majority of the public agreed with sports columnist Furman Bisher’s opinion of Title IX when he wrote:
What are we after, a race of Amazons? Do you want a companion or a broad that chews tobacco? What do you want for the darling daughter, a boudoir or a locker room full of cussing and bruises? A mother for your grandchildren or a hysterectomy?

Okay, bro.
We’ve certainly made great strides in girls’ and women’s participation in sports, but those stories aren’t showcased as often as they should be onscreen. Even when those stories are told, they tend to be problematic—either reducing women to objects or painting them as manly, tomboyish, and therefore unattractive. (There are notable exceptions, of course, and feel free to write about them. Just don’t feel bad for wanting to write a scathing piece about Adrian’s relationship with Rocky, for instance.) In order to more fully explore some common tropes about women in sports movies, male-centric films aren’t necessarily off limits—as long as the focus remains on how the women characters are most affected in the film.
Take a look at the oh-so-incomplete list below for general ideas about a potential topic. And if you’re especially feeling the Sports Theme, watch Julie Foudy, Olympic gold medalist and World Cup star, talk about the importance of Title IX and the necessity of educating our youth about its history.

As a reminder, these are a few basic guidelines for guest writers on our site:
–We like most of our pieces to be 1,000 – 2,000 words, preferably with some images and links.
–Please send your piece in the text of an email, including links to all images, no later than Friday, August, 23rd.
–Include a 2-3 sentence bio for placement at the end of your piece.
Email us at btchflcks(at)gmail(dot)com if you’d like to contribute a review. We accept original pieces or cross-posts. We look forward to reading your submissions!

Here are some potential films to write about but please feel free to suggest your own:

Against the Ropes
The Bad News Bears
Bend It Like Beckham
Blue Crush

Bring It On
The Cutting Edge

ESPN’s Nine for IX Series
Heart Like a Wheel

The Hot Flashes
Ice Castles
Just Wright
A League of Their Own
Love & Basketball

The Mighty Macs
Million Dollar Baby
National Velvet
Off the Rez
Pat and Mike 
Personal Best
Quarterback Princess
She’s the Man

Soul Surfer
Trouble with the Curve

Venus and Serena
When Billie Beat Bobby

Whip It


  • Posted August 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    While this wasn’t a women’s sports film per se, Juwanna Mann used the women’s professional basketball league as a major part of the film. Wasn’t a great movie by any stretch of the imagination but it did put a bit of spotlight on the sport.

  • Posted August 5, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Everyone knows the greatest women in sports movie ever made was 1989’s Perfect Profile, starring Nancy Lieberman

  • Posted August 6, 2013 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Would the subject have to be a movie, or could it be about a woman in sports from a television show?

  • Posted August 6, 2013 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    A television show would be great! Please feel free to send your pitch to us at btchflcks[at]gmail[dot]com.