Monday, April 28, 2008

WMST Media Analysis

Brittany Carter
April 27, 2008

The movie Love and Basketball is one of the most popular movies among teenagers and young adults in the twenty-first century. Love and Basketball is about a young girl and boy who grow up together as next door neighbors and both share the same passion and love for the game of basketball. They also share love and passion for one another. As they undergo high school and college they both go through different trials and experiences that break them apart to eventually bring them back together in the end. The leading male in the movie, Quincy McCall, whose father is a professional basketball player, finds out that his father has been lying to him and his mother for years about his whereabouts. While the leading female character, Monica Wright, struggles at home with her mother thinking she is a lesbian because she “would rather wear a jersey than an apron.” Monica struggles with the idea that her mother assumes she is a lesbian just because she grew up as a “tomboy”, and as a result, she and her mother do not have a strong relationship throughout Monica’s childhood. Love and Basketball shows a spotlight onto the contrast between men's and women's basketball. While Quincy plays college ball on huge courts to cheering, sold-out crowds, Monica sweats, tears, and endures sheer physical dedication in front of tiny audiences in small gyms and second-rate auditoriums because of gender differences. Although this is a fictional movie, the issues taken place happen in real life. A lot of people make the assumption that female athletes, especially basketball players, are lesbians. All genders make this assumption and it is assumed for all races as well. This paper argues that the assumptions that are made about women who play sports or just try to advance in this world by fulfilling their dreams are lesbians or homosexuals. Although there is a great amount of women who are athletes and there are women who do not follow the “norm” in gender roles are lesbians, those assumptions are not always true.
Gender expectations and roles is what keep things being “normal” in society. People are afraid of change as well as things that are different. There is a traditional role of gender. When a baby is born, the world treats that baby a certain way according to what sex organ the baby is born with until the day that baby dies. The only way to change the way the world views you is to become a transsexual and play the gender role that is expected with being a male or female. Gender is a choice. An example of that is Lincoln May Scott who was born a hermaphrodite and was not given the chance to choose her sex. The doctors simply did what society at the time said was the right thing and made Lincoln a male. Fifty years later, Lincoln made the choice to live his life as a woman. From the beginning time gender rules where set. Men work and make the money while the women stay home to cook, clean, and watch the children. Women are supposed to wear dresses and high heels with makeup and nail polish according to gender expectations and roles. Women are to act “ladylike” which includes the crossing of legs, not speaking in a loud tone of voice, and making sure their dresses are tucked neatly under her buttocks before sitting down. Women are to act and be feminine. Traditionally the rules are for the women to submit to their men and do what they say. The gender expectations and roles for men include working the jobs, fighting the wars, bringing home the money and being “the boss”. The rules for them are that they sit with their legs wide open, act tough and macho, and most of all act and be masculine in everything they do. God forbid if a man were to cry, he would then look as though he is less of a man. These are just some of the gender roles and expectations of how men and women are supposed to act according to society.
To me, the gender roles and expectations are more like rules. Rules are made to be broken right? What happens when you break a rule? You face consequences. The same thing applies when rules are broken when dealing with gender roles and expectations. People are treated differently when others find out they are different or not “normal”. When people are different and don’t stick to the so-called system they are put through things and they are tested whether they are right or wrong. I believe that whether they are right or wrong is nonrelevant; it’s just the fact that they are testing the system (the system in this case being society). When they test the system they are putting out the possibility that the system is wrong. People then begin to look at their own lives and ask questions, and soon more people begin to think on their own. What follows next is the system falling apart and what used to be the “norm” is merely a thing of the past. I believe this because of personal experiences that do not have anything to do with gender roles and expectations but has the same reasoning, outcomes, and sadly, the same consequences. In the movie North Country, a situation dealing with gender roles was one of the main issues. When women were being mistreated, one woman stepped up and took a stand. She paid consequences for her actions but at the end more women followed her and took action as well. In this movie men did not want women to work in the mine with them. Although legally they had to allow women to work with them, they did not welcome them and make their jobs any less difficult than it already was. The women in North Country were seen as not performing a women’s job and referred to as playing a man’s role by working at the mine.
When women step out of their expected and normal gender role they are often called lesbians. What is a lesbian? According to the Radicalesbians, a lesbian is “the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion. She is the women who, often beginning at an extremely early age, acts in accordance with her inner compulsion to be a more complete and freer human being than her society.” I have found that the word lesbian is associated very strongly with female athletes. I am a heterosexual female athlete so the assumption that all female athletes are homosexuals is not true. One reason that a lot of people think female basketball players specifically live a homosexual lifestyle is because of the resent “coming out” of WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes. Swoopes told NBC Sports that she “quit pretending” and stated “I feel like I’ve been living a lie,” in October of 2005. Because Swoopes was the face of the WNBA at one time she is very popular. I personally don’t think that it is anyone’s business that she chooses to have a relationship with. I also don’t see the point in her coming out and letting the world know that she is a lesbian.
In Love and Basketball Monica grew up differently than most girls her age. She was able to beat all the boys in the neighborhood in basketball. She hung with the guys growing up and she played rough and tough. Through it all she still remained heterosexual. She was forced to wear dresses, even though she hid them in the garage under a box of rags. She dressed comfortably in a pair of jeans and t-shirt daily and she carried a basketball wherever she went. She even made the mistake of sitting with her legs wide open while wearing a dress at the school dance in high school. Monica and her mother were total opposite, as well as her sister. Her mother and sister were really prissy and feminine. Although Monica and her mother did not get along very well, she and her sister were like best friends. Monica may not have fit the “norm” or followed all the rules on how to be a girl but she still remained heterosexual and over time fell in love with her childhood friend and neighbor, Quincy.
In conclusion, I would like to state that assumptions are not very reliable. I believe that all people should be able to pursue their dreams and be what they would like to be in life. Because time has changed more women have become more independent and stepped out of the “norm”. This doesn’t mean that all women or any of them want to be involved in a homosexual relationship. This simply means that women have talents, goals, and aspirations just like men do and would like to have the opportunity to pursue those things and not worry about being called a lesbian.

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