Images of Women in Sports Essay

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Images of Women in Sports

There is, of course, a huge difference between the ways women are typically supposed to act and what is expected from a typical athlete. Whereas women are expected to comply to their gender role prescribing passivity and compliance, athletes are connoted with an aggressive, competitive nature. Furthermore, society trains women to be ashamed of their bodies and supplies an unrealistic ideal body type and encourages restricting feminine clothing, whereas athletes must have a keen understanding and appreciation of their bodies. In this way, athletes are implicitly coded as male. Though women and men can both be great athletes, of course, gender roles limit the social image and expectations for individuals based
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If a woman can still be subject to and controlled by the "male gaze" (that Laura Mulvey and so many other art historians have written about), she is not a threat to the status quo and male power. According to this "theory of the gaze," the male protagonist in a film is generally used as for the presumably male viewer to project his own desire of control over the female image. Through the onscreen male's gaze, the woman's image may be appropriated and the viewer may have the illusion of control over the woman. In these films, then, the woman, though she is seemingly in control of her own body and image through her character in the film, is still ideologically subjected to male control.

Interestingly, none of the films touched on the issue of homosexuality significantly. This is a conspicuous absence and one that needs to be considered. In fact, according to movie trivia, homosexual interest between the two main characters was specifically written out of Bend It Like Beckham (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00005JM2Y/002-7618151-4303264?v=glance&vi=quotes-trivia). Additionally, Love and Basketball was fraught with heterosexual interest and featured what many in our class would agree was gratuitous sex scenes. All of this is to emphasize the women's adherence to traditional values.

Significantly, the only established athletic authorities depicted in the film were men. The star athlete in Love and Basketball,

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