I was in middle school when I first viewed “A League of Their Own.” The film dramatically changed my view of the role of American women during World War II and helped me understand how people of my grandparents’ generation interacted with one another and viewed gender roles.
The film is a drama featuring fictional members of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). The ladies in the league stepped in to play and preserve the American sport of baseball while male players were called to war. Just as women took to factories and offices to fill positions typically held by males, women represented baseball and drew in many new fans, including girls.
The movie documents team drama and interpersonal relationships, often enhanced by the tension of war.
“A League of Their Own” caught my attention initially due to Tom Hanks’ superbly-foul language (Hanks portrayed Jimmy Dugan, a team manager). I thought the baseball uniforms were cute and as a child of the ’80s, I was still receptive to the influence of Madonna in the early ’90s. I was also interested in the fact that Geena Davis was stunning and beautiful in the movie-without being stick thin.
While many people view the women’s suffrage movement in terms of winning the right to vote in 1920 and women’s lib in the ’60s and ’70s, most don’t think about the time between those decades as an important moment for female equality.
This is perhaps due to the amount of advertisements focused on women and the materialism and home ownership epidemic that came to define the era. By focusing on a specific time frame, “A League of Their Own” provides an opportunity for the audience to view women during World War II through what might have been their own perspectives.
While I’m hardly decent at sports, “A League of Their Own” certainly gave me an appreciation for female athletes who work at a professional level. Media coverage of contemporary athletic females like Chelsea Baker are less surprising-after all, by the end of “A League of Their Own,” it’s implied that some of the ladies playing baseball could certainly keep up with many of the men.
When women achieve non-presidential positions in congress or in the president’s cabinet, there isn’t usually a headline-and this is good news. It means that women in politics have earned a regular place in both major political parties, thanks in part to the very different but equally substantial influences of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. I hope that Chelsea Baker represents the first of many qualifying female baseball players-by the time I have kids old enough to understand sexism, maybe they won’t be able to identify it in baseball.
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