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.”
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.
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?
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.
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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
Bring It On
The Cutting Edge
ESPN’s Nine for IX Series
Heart Like a Wheel
The Hot Flashes
A League of Their Own
Love & Basketball
The Mighty Macs
Million Dollar Baby
Off the Rez
Pat and Mike
She’s the Man
Trouble with the Curve
Venus and Serena
When Billie Beat Bobby