Textual Analysis

For my final project, I decided to research the complexities of female athletes; particularly their coverage in the media. I examined some biases that exist in publicity, treatment based on gender, and the force to “feminize” the category of women in sports.

BACKGROUND

I was motivated to do this project when I recently learned about Title IX. “Title IX is a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972, Public Law No. 92-318, 86 Stat. 235 (June 23, 1972), codified at 20 U.S.C. sections 1681 through 1688, U.S. legislation also identified by the name of its principal author as the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act” (Wiki).

Title IX states (in part) 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. . .”

More specifically, this was a push to end discrimination in sports based on gender. This movement was over 40 years ago, and as a result the laws have changed, but the social, political, and ideals of this realm have not. Instead, the media has brought more attention to the women’s physical features, rather than their skills and/or performance.

INTRO

I chose to start my short film by playing the audio from a Nike commercial that was released in 1995. The commercial was created in honor of Title IX. When I first saw the commercial in a class at UCSB, Feminist Studies 144 taught by Professor Bobo, I immediately fell in love with the content. I was inspired to create a motivational and creative piece. The commercial displays young girls who desire to play sports. The girls are continuously saying, “If you let me play,” with a follow up on how this could potentially change their life. (ie. If you let me play, I will be more likely to leave a man who beats me”). When I first watched this, I asked myself who “you” was referring to in this commercial. My interpretation was that it was to anyone who was against seeing women in sports, seeing women as competitive, strong, and having power. This is not just limited to men and the media; the “you” could be referring to a mother, father, teacher or governments. A mother or father, for instance, may not want their daughter playing a sport because they might feel that it is too dangerous or should not be a hobby for a “young girl.” A teacher might encourage the boys and girls in his/her class to play specific sports during lunch (ie All the young girls will jump rope and the boys will play basketball). The government might structure society in a way where they don’t feel intimidated by seeing women in dominate role because of systemic ideals. I felt this was a good introduction because as young girls, they see, admire and aspire to be like popular women in sports.

For example, if well-known athletes such as Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker, and Natalie Coughlin are role models to young children, the manner in which they are represented in is extremely important. On one hand, if the media is constructing them to be positive athletes, children can learn from this and try to be like them. On the other hand, if media is making them out to be sexy or always dressing provocatively for every photo shoot, children too, may follow their lead. If the media continues to reproduce these negative stereotypes of women athletes, at what point will they focus on the message being sent out? These aspiring athletes may ask themselves: “Do I need to look like that to be successful? Do I have to dress like that to be noticed? Will my sexuality make a difference?”

SOUND

In the beginning of the film, the viewer hears multiple sounds. These extra-diegetic sounds are a mix of the following: a ball bouncing, water splashing, and a woman yelling “yes,” and an a capella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, singing, “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest.”  My goal of the opening was to make the viewer feel that they were part of this film and to give it a live effect. It gives the viewer an introduction to the content that is discussed in the film: Motivation! Change! Grassroots!

Throughout the project, I chose to play multiple instrumental songs in the background of the interviews. I feel like music can either be a distraction or be powerful in a film. I chose these particular instrumentals to expose the interviewees’ feelings, actions, and the overall film’s tensions. For example, during an interview, one individual was discussing the difference between the support of the school during a basketball game, music was playing in the background, however when she said, “…at a women’s basketball game, we have like two students.” I silenced the music while she said that so the viewer was able to focus only on the seriousness of the issue.

LOCATION

The entire project is filmed at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) Recreation Center. I chose to do it at this location because the media rarely portrays women in their craft. Often times, they are seen out of uniform, or with their family, or husband to feminize this category. For example, when Candace Parker (WNBA Los Angeles Sparks player) was pregnant, she received  much more media coverage than she would have during her basketball season. There is an undertone that many ignore. This undertone also relates to women getting sponsorships and/or endorsements. The message behind getting them with a family and/or with a man can be implied that they are not lesbian and they too, are “women” outside of their professional work in sports.

CHARACTERS

I chose an all-women cast to break the boundaries of having men as the dominated commentators in sports. The costumes were too chosen to break the barriers of women being feminized and only seen as doing domestic works, and wearing skirts, dresses, etc. The costumes varied to show there are many different women, rather than what the media may push to portray as an ideal woman. Some viewers may not notice these purposely chosen costumes:

  • one woman has on jewelry v. woman without any jewelry.
  • Suit v. Informal attire.
  • Heels v. Tennis shoes

These choices represent the diversity of women because they are a “silent majority,” as bell hooks would describe them. I didn’t want to ignore the existence of the fact that there are many ways to embody being a “woman.”

 

PLATFORM

In the past years, YouTube has become a main source for not only entertainment, but many individuals are turning to YouTube for their news and current events. YouTube is popular because of the following:

  • Its on the web
  • Flexibility of time in which you can view it
  • If you are tired of watching other people’s works, you can make your own (aka. User-created content)
  • Its FREE
  • Endless possibilities of creativity and content discussed

 

These reasons, amongst others make YouTube a perfect place to broadcast my project because it will be visible to many YouTube users and visitors. My goal of this project is to educate and bring awareness to this issue. With all of the elements, format and techniques I used, I wish for this to be entertaining and groundbreaking.

 

RESOURCES

If I had more time, I would have added many more topics, which would have led to a longer documentary. The following topics would be:

  • More speakers (professional female athletes)
  • Female athletes in NCAA
  • Women who might have extra chromosomes and their perspectives of this
  • Large wage gap between men and women in sports
  • Female coverage in Sports Magazines, ESPN, and other media for sports

 

Advertisements
By breyannacarter
Aside

I must admit that when I first started putting everything for the project together mentally, I assumed it would be a fairly simple task. Unfortunately, I ran into a lot of road bumps that I wasn’t expecting and obviously was not prepared for.

My first steps to complete the project are as followed:

-Write out questions that I wanted to ask the interviewees.

-Find the interviewees (road bump)

-Record Everything in UCSB Recreation Center (road bump)

-Edit in Kerr Hall (road bump)

Finding individuals was not the challenge. The main challenge was trying to convince the athletes that whatever they spoke on would not be publicized anywhere. I had to get contracts for them to sign in order to record them which took longer than I anticipated. As far as the desired location, I too, had to get permission to record in the Recreation Center. I had to talk to people in charge and explain the project and get an OK from them. The close editing was fun, however, this particular weekend Apple had just encountered a virus and Apple is the only program that UCSB Kerr Hall uses. Perfect right? I was able to go around that and used Firefox Add-On for the programs that were down for Apple.

Due to the short amount of time and lack of resources at the time, I was not able to include everything I wanted, but I encourage everyone to follow this project. I plan to continue working on this documentary for Fall ’12 and Winter ’13 quarter as an Independent Study.

If you want to offer input or collaborate on this project with me, feel free to email me breyannacarter@gmail.com

Afterword Analysis

By breyannacarter
Image

Women in Sports

Women in Sports

The creative piece will encompass women in sports and the biases and difficulties that exist in this field. More specifically, I will examine some biases that exist in publicity, treatment based on gender, and the force to “feminize” the category of women in sports.

I will be creating a film, that will be structured between a mix of a short documentary and live reporting. Throughout the project, I plan to bring awareness and start a change to this male dominated field. I will be breaking boundaries by having an all female cast, the commentators will be women, their attire and accessories will vary to show that there are many different types of women and each one is unique in their own way.

By breyannacarter

if you let me play

Hello Everyone,

I thought this Nike commercial was interesting and found it relevant to some research I am currently doing for Female Athletes

It has been over 40 years since Title Nine, a legislation to end discrimination in programs based on gender. Ironically, the world in which we live in, the discrimination of women in sports have not changed because of its often seen as a male dominated field. Instead, the media has found a way to ‘feminize’ the women in this field. For example, there is rarely any female athlete coverage in sports magazines, let alone ESPN.

It seems to me a crucial point with women in sports, on one hand, [we] are happy that we can play sports, on the other hand, everyday [we] have to focus on [our] representation. (representation as far as sexuality, physical features, etc.)

Any thoughts on this?

By breyannacarter
Image

SiSePuede!

SiSePuede!

I chose to add this picture because it is the Chicano/a version of Rosie the Riveter. This iconic figure typically represents the “American” (in this particular photo, Chicano/a) woman who worked in factories during the WW2.

This historical reference  to women of color labor workers is relative to myself (feminists) because as a feminist I can apply an intersectional analysis to women forced to work under harsh and unjust working conditions. Reflecting on third world feminism I interpret the reading as a tool to connect to other women of color who may be experiencing similar conditions either in the work place or within different cultures. For example, as an American woman, it’s critically important that I am able to understand an Iranian woman’s perspective in her decision to wear or not wear the hijab. We must be able to ally with other women in other countries in order to break down barriers amongst women. This is particularly useful because in order to attack and resist structures of power such as masculinity, and gender restrictions, we must first be able to understand how our actions may affect or influence other women. I compare this cross-cultural communication to the concept of a fist vs one finger, ‘one finger may pick at the issue but a fist will strike a mighty blow.’ When we communicate many of the issues that could  create distractions from our goals for equality would be eliminated. Third world feminist analysis is also important because when we are aware of the issues affecting us, we can use our resources to assist others. I learned about the women’s issues in the Maquiladoras in Ciuaded Juarez from watching a documentary put together by the third world women’s alliance. Knowledge allows us to apply pressure on government officials to take action against injustice.

By breyannacarter
Video

Shaping Feminist Theory

While I was going over bell hooks piece, “Black Women: Shaping Feminist Theory, this quote “…they accept their lot in life without visible question, without organized protest, without collective anger or rage…” reminded me of this particular video. Sweet Honey in the Rock is an acapella group who sings motivational and inspirational songs. This particular song is a dedication to Ella Baker, who was an African American civil and human rights activist.

Both, Sweet Honey and Baker are testimonies to the quote that hooks too argues against. They are protesting and showing RAGE in different manners. Rage, not in terms of being dangerous or acting irrational as many may see it, but Rage in the sense of moving forward, being vocal about particular oppressions. It encompasses the idea that each woman is different and not all women just sit and accept a position that many may try to force on them.  However it may perceived, the point that I am trying to make is that these womyn did and still do exist.

Again, this silence of a particular characteristic in a woman and type of woman is what bell hooks tries to bring a voice too. Just because they are underrepresented does not mean it does not exist, and otherwise should be assumed.

“We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest.”

By breyannacarter
Image

“Open your legs,’ he said. “Let me look.” p94 in Love by Angela Carter

 

Like we talked about in class, this was an interesting point. This passage comes the dialogue between Buzz and Annabel when they were in an intimate scene. For the first time in the reading, the woman, Annabel, was seen as dangerous to Buzz, the man. The author uses language to give a clear depiction of Buzz’s fear in this scene. He asked her, “open your legs, let me look.” He was asking to look to make sure there wasn’t anything that may harm him that was inside of her. This is a pivotal point in the book because not only in this book, but also in the world we live in, see the man as harmful to the woman. In Love, by Angela Carter, the reader has seen in previous dialogue that the woman’s body [Annabel] was seen as sacred, a temple, etc when she was with her husband and he was the one who may cause harm if anything.

This particular passage stood out to me because of two reasons. One, for the first time, we see the man, who is typically seen as masculine, being portrayed as a “woman,” who is typically seen as a more feminine role. Two, it reminded me of the article by Judith Butler, “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire,” and the concept of power and how its structure has a large influence on “imperializing gesture of dialectical appropriation exceeds and encompasses the axis of sexual differences.” Gender is a social construct and this scene is an example of how the “expectation of gender roles” are not upheld.

In regards to the picture, I added it because it seemed relatively interesting. I asked myself, what could be harmful in a woman’s body that could harm a man, excluding disease. So when my professor brought up the anti-rape condom, I looked more into online and found this picture.  It is described as “a female device with jagged hooks that latch onto a man’s penis during penetration.” (Daily News, 2010).

If anyone is interested in the article, here is the URL  [http://articles.nydailynews.com/2010-06-20/news/27067702_1_female-condom-ehlers-axe]

By breyannacarter
Video

Nia Long

How could someone not love this woman on and off screen? In this interview, she talks about sisterhood, being a mother, being fearless, flaws, Obama’s election, money, and womyn of color. We need more womyn who speak openly about these issues and gives the next child inspiration to fulfill their dreams through words of encouragement.

 

By breyannacarter
Video

The Misadventures of …..

Awkward Black Girl
Similar to bell hooks work, “Black Women: Shaping Feminist Theory,” this web series mocks common awkward scenarios that some black women may encounter on a daily bases. The “Black woman” that is depicted in “Awkward Black Girl” is not presented in popular entertainment (such as the music industry, film productions, etc) in this particular  manner. In not only todays media, but also in the world, there is a type of “stigma” of black womyn. For example, Tyler Perry, who is a director and producer amongst other things creates films and often times depicts the “Black Woman” as obnoxious, hyper-sexual, emotional, and as a Black man continues to reproduce and reinforce the negative stereotypes of the “Black Woman.”

I continuously put “Black Woman” in quotations because it shows a connection the how bell hooks explains in her work that there are many types of “womyn” and each “woman” has different wants, needs and desires. There was a notion of what “womyn” wanted in the 1950’s such as marriage kids and a house then still wanted more such as pursuing careers. However, this leads to the woman whose needs aren’t represented. The woman who will be taking care of the homes and kids (of the womyn who wanted to work) was typically going to be a woman of a certain class.

Furthermore, these womyn who were unrepresented in the feminist movement, just like some of the more positive and distinct characteristics of some “Black Womyn” goes unaccounted for in popular entertainment. The purpose of my argument is not to say that some depictions aren’t true for some Black Womyn, but rather to bring recognition to the various types of Black Women that aren’t depicted in popular entertainment.

By breyannacarter

Intro to Carter

Hello everyone

I am interested in looking more in depth the questions of gender, representation, ideologies and the connections with the cinematic world.

My potential final project will focusing on the negative representations of black women, that are reinforced in popular music. I will be looking into the concept of double consciousness and how this has an effect on the world we live in today. As well as the daily differences, as well as uncomfortable situations, different groups of people may encounter.

By breyannacarter