The Female Athlete: The Image and the Ideal
The ideal images of female athletes presented in the films for this class have had a strong connection to the images of ideal women in society in general. Like the ideal image of women, there are many variations of the ideal image of female athletes. While Dare to Compete tracked the evolution of the role of the real female athletes, the feature films we watched presented varying views of the ideal female athlete, which has been different in different times and places.
Remember the Titans was set in the seventies, and the female characters were appropriately demure. Coach's daughter was a football fan, but never actually played football. She was, at best, a well-informed cheerleader. She could follow the plays--more than I myself can do--and would probably have made some quarterback a great girlfriend some day. While the ideal here is not of a female athlete, it is still relevant to the course. The ideal is of the female spectator--the athletic support. She went to the games and cheered on her father and the team. As a young girl she acted as a mascot.
Bend it Like Beckham depicted a young, beautiful girl who just wanted to play. Jas retained a high degree of femininity in spite of her athleticism. She girlishly falls for her off-limits coach, and is terribly ashamed of her body, especially the scar on her leg. She is a girl first--not even really a woman--then an athlete. The development of the character in the film is minimal. It is the world around Jas that...