Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Just stuff

1. If you live in Maine--well Maine is a big state--if you live near Waterville, ME, I should say, then go tomorrow at noon to The Center to see a screening of the documentary Kick Like a Girl and a chance to hear and talk to co-producer Jennifer Jordon.
It's not that I think I have a great following in Maine, this news item was just a good chance and a reminder to me that I needed to mention and extol the virtues of this film which I ordered myself and watched over a month ago.
The documentary was directed and shot (largely) by Jenny Mackenzie who is the coach of her daughter Lizzie's soccer team in Salt Lake City. The team, after beating soundly every team in their league one year decided to try their luck in the boys' division. The film chronicles their season.
And it's very compelling. I showed it in my sport sociology class and we were running out of class time and no one was moving. I turned it off when class time was up and I actually heard complaints: "But I want to see what happens. What happens?" One student actually borrowed it from me so he could write a paper on it for another class.
My only concern came at the end when the girls on the team say what they learned from playing with boys and how they adjusted and most of them just reified the idea that girls are more passive and there is less competition in an all-girls league. In other words, these girls are anomalies. But in general, the film implies, girls do not have the aggression and competitive drive to compete with boys. This serves to reinforce the status quo. Yes, some girls are good but the majority are not. The potential threat to the social order that girls may present is thus contained. Some of this gets lost among the overall feel-goodedness and the compelling commentary from the players, the parents, and the boys the girls beat along the way.
2. So in case anyone didn't see the feel-good story of the week month year (?) check out (this link is to a brief video) how some softball players helped a member of the opposing team around the bases after she hit her only career home run but tore her ACL rounding first. The sportswomanship has been lauded on blogs and in the news--national news. Of course there are those that like to point out that such a thing would never happen in men's sports and that what the women did wasn't really sportsmanship (sic) because there is nothing in that ethic that requires such efforts. Whatever. Maybe it goes beyond sports--maybe it was just a good thing to do--to help someone succeed, to reach a goal.
3. (With thanks to JB for passing this info along.) So Sports Illustrated began the swimsuit issue to fill some proverbial dead air: "it seemed like a better idea than the dog shows and winter sports in Russia we were covering," said Mark Ford, an SI exec. And they have made billions off it. So while they could have been covering women's sports--something they clearly didn't even consider, they opted instead to buy into--and profit off of--the objectification of women.

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