A Step for Equality
Battle of the Sexes (2017) is a film that flew under our radar - but was a real delight. You should check it out to see the history of a small but an important step towards equality.
I finally finished it. I have a bad habit of starting a film and taking a few weeks to watch the whole thing. Getting older makes watching movies before bed a chore. Often the story-line is one that I don't get that involved in and often forget some of the characters in between viewing, but this time was different.
Battle of Sexes looks at a very famous real-life match held between Billy Jean King and Bobby Riggs. At the turning point for equality as women were gaining more rights and suffrage was winning, females were paid only 1/5th of their male counterparts. And as Billy Jean points out, still draw in the same audiences at the stadiums.
This movie does a good job of holding onto the sexist attitudes of the past and lets them sit on screen unaddressed. Viewed from today's socially progressive lens, it creates a discomfort that simply did not exist back then. A very poignant scene can be witnessed in the final match, where the announcer of the match is paired alongside one of King's female competitors. They are both offering commentary, as they are superimposed on the field behind them - in iconic 70s-style sports coverage. What is deeply unsettling about this scene however is how the male sports caster has his hand tightly gripped around the back of the female athletes neck - clearly dominating her role in commentary. This scene plays out several times over the course of the match, and the director is almost screaming at the audience - begging the question "Why was this ok?"
But it is a triumph of how far we have come, and at the same time, emphasizes the fact that we are still have these same pay equity debates. Women in Hollywood today, still, are not paid equivalent to their male counterparts. We now have a lower tolerance however for the attitude that men hold some superior value over women and changes row closer to us on the horizon.
This year at #DYNAMUN2018, it's very likely some of these themes may come up. I suggest if you have time, checking out Battle of the Sexes. Even if you need to watch it over several weeks as I did.