The Billies, the annual awards celebrating positive media portrayals of women in sport sponsored by the Women's Sports Foundation, will take place April 15 this year in LA. The WSF just announced the finalists in the three award categories.
In the Breakthrough & Innovation category, honoring images and portrayals that challenge the status quo of females as athletes, we have:
1. "Women's Soccer Team -- The Greatest Team You've Never Heard of"; Nike's advertising campaign from the 2007 World Cup. I was not a huge fan of this campaign. I thought it condescended to the many soccer fans who knew exactly who this team was because we don't show up for soccer every 4 years.
2. "Boom Boom Tap" Under Armour's first campaign for female team athletes. This was catchy and simple and it featured sports like field hockey that get very little attention.
3. "GKA" a television series on Fuel TV dedicated to women's participation in action sports. I don't get this channel and have never heard of this show but given the declining numbers of women in events like the X Games it's good some attention is being paid to female action sports athletes.
4. "Female Snowboarding" Quicksilver/Roxy's print ad campaign displaying female snowboarders performing tricks. Also one I did not see.
In the Entertainment category which judges entrants on "insightful portrayal of women in sports, impact, originality and overall quality of work."
1. "Chak! De India" A film I still haven't seen (will have to put in my Blockbuster queue if it's out on video yet) depicting a group of girls who forgot what it was like to play simply for the love of field hockey.
2. "Generation IX" A documentary exploring the influence of Title IX on women athletes from the 2005University of Washington's national champion volleyball team. I heard this was good but alas have not gotten my hands on it yet.
3. "Women in American Horse Racing" A documentary showing how women are shaping the horse racing industry. Never heard of it but it sounds intriguing and quite different from other docs on women's sports.
The Journalism category "honors insightful portrayals of women in sports, originality and overall quality of work that has been aired, broadcast or published in 2007.":
1. "Mamachas" from ESPN Deportes. The tale of the Peruvian women's national soccer champions, who play in traditional skirts and sandals made of tires.
2. "Marathon Woman: Running the Race to Revolutionize Women's Sports" The story of Kathrine Switzer, who helped introduce women's marathon into the Olympic Games and was the attacked when she tried to run the Boston Marathon when women were not allowed into the race.
3. "Pregnant Pause" which aired on ESPN, looked at how college and universities respond to
student-athletes becoming pregnant. Not well was the answer, by the way. It was a good piece. And the issue remains pertinent as the NCAA continues to refine its policy on pregnant student-athletes.
4. Article Series, Chicago Tribune, Melissa Isaacson
5. Article Series, ESPN.com/Kansas City Star, Mechelle Voepel
I'll have the winners for you next month!