15. Female Masculinities


April 30
1. FILM: Girlfight (view before class HOMER PN1997 .G565 2001)
2. READ: Gregory Rodríguez, “Boxing and Masculinity: The History of (Her)story of Oscar de la Hoya” from Latino/a Popular Culture PRESENTATION Lisette Espinal & Carlos Restrepo

Download presentation: Boxing and Masculinity

3. READ: Judith Halberstam, “An Introduction to Female Masculinity: Masculinity without Men” from Female Masculinity PRESENTATION: Skylar Smith & Audrey Allyn

Download presentation: Female Masculinity

May 2
1. FILM: Girlfight (discussion) PRESENTATION: Nelson Veras & Ernie Abreu
2. READ: “Representation of the female masculinity in the boxing movie Girlfight

Download presentation: Girlfight

71 Responses to 15. Female Masculinities

  1. Amber Jones says:

    First and Foremost I would like to say I love the movie “Girlfight” I remember as a kid watching this movie and just being inspired by her and how she went against the norm of what was expected of a female. She didn’t care what others thought about her and she stayed true to herself no matter what. Many associate the her character as being manly because she performs actions that are categorized as manly such as boxing or she dresses in a tomboy way , but we see as the movie progresses that she isn’t merely a woman desiring another woman. So many times people judge how you look and determine your sexual preference. Although she dressed a certain way or acted a certain way did not take away from her desire to have a love that many women desire. According to Judith she explains how gender conformity is pressed upon girls, ” gender conformity is pressed onto all girls, not just tomboys, and this is where it becomes hard to uphold the notion that male femininity presents a greater threat to social and familial stability than female masculinity” (Hablerstam 358). In reading this I could not understand how does does and why does male femininity more of a threat to family stability than female masculinity? I honestly think that society would accept a female who dresses manly than a male who is feminine … why is that ? Is society’s image of males so fixed in this one box and the image of females is more fluid and able to transform and change without as much scrutiny than males?

    • Imaani Cain says:

      I think that maybe male femininity is seen as being more of a threat because it’s simply seen as disgusting to have “feminine” behaviors (even occasionally for women it’s like this–although this happens in different circles, such as queer ones etc). It’s seen as admirable to employ masculine behaviors, because that’s what our society has pride it (being that it is male-dominated). It’s not that femininity is fluid so much as that it is discouraged.

      • Romy Garcia says:

        I agree with you that male femininity is seen as being more of a threat because a man can be considered “less than a man” for having feminine qualities. But, female masculinity can also be a threat because female masculinity shows a potential threats towards the male community. So either way, acting against or outside of the binary can have potential consequences.

    • I truly did enjoy this movie as well. She is truly going against the norm and standing up for her rights. I believe that she wanted to stand up for her mom and never let anyone even her dad treat her in such a manner that belittles her. I do agree with you about that society does look down upon a man who dresses like a women but is fine with a women dressing like a man. I believe this is due to the fact that it makes the man seem less masculine which in society is demeaning.

      • crestrepo1991 says:

        I understand where you are coming from and I agree to most of it, but I do not agree with the part where you say they look down on a man dressing like a woman but not vice versa. In reality, both are heavily shunned by people in general, and you can see both cases of being shunned for : 1) The cross dressing pictures of Oscar de la Hoya and the huge impact it had upon the machismo ideologies of the mexican american community 2) the daily interactions and lack of respect received in regards to Diana’s life. As you can see in both cases both individuals endured heavy criticism and disrespect from the peers and communities that they both associate with, and I dont think one is less scrutinized than the other because society in general shuns both men and women equally whenever they do not conform to the gender norms that the are both assigned too.

      • It is seen as demeaning because our society is so used to equating manliness to being rugged, hairy, rough, and sometimes dirty. This is a pretty widespread view yet obviously not the only version of masculinity. With Oscar de la Hoya we see him try to highlight a differences of masculinity. Like Gloria Anzaldua says in the article, he brings light to cultural syncretism and the fluidity of gender identifocation with Meztisaje. He portrays a Heroic ideal in which he claims that “[He’s] not just any fighter. [He] work to make [his] money and [justs wants] to live well. But [he’s] not going out to put on a show…” pg 268. Its almost as he is “downplaying” or discrediting other peoples representation of masculinity in the boxing industry. He essentially rebranded masculinity.

    • sorlyz says:

      I think that maybe male femininity is a bigger threat to families because our society is homophobic. When a young boy shows signs of being more feminine, the family begins to panic because a boy is supposed to be masculine. Because men are still the dominant people in the workforce and in the supervisor positions, families may want to make sure that their sons are masculine in order for them to get well paying jobs and take care of their future families. When a young girl is seen as a tomboy, it is expected that she will “grow out of it”. It is also not a threat because women are still believed to be lesser than men.

      • Male femininity absolutely poses a bigger threat because like we mentioned in the bieggining of class. Masculinity is defined by what Femininity is not. People dont really care if a women behaves guy-ish. They think its a weird phase and ignore it. So when we see a male such Oscar de la Hoya exhibiting feminine quality such as caring “too much for his aethetics” we start getting concerned. We begin to question his masculinity because of his “Pretty Boy Mexican” traits. Why does Oscar “shy” away from “fighting with his face? His Mexican audience wants to see him take punches to prove he isnt fragile. In this day in age fragile consequently means to be delicate and almost “lady” like. These are things one does not want to associate a boxer with; especially one with Mexican descent.

      • i think male femininity is more of a threat because we live in a patriarchal society. Men are supposed to be the masculine so that they can be the provider and more importantly carry on the family bloodline and name. So if a man is seen as feminine he will be considered week and unable to do that and fail his family.

    • I think it has a lot to do with what we talked about in class. femininity is seen as a performance and is not a natural inherit trait like society believes masculinity is. A man is seen as the supporter, the provider and protector and when a female is seen as masculine it is assumed that if a women can do these things that are suppose to be natural for a man it belittles masculinity. I find the idea of gender conformity very interesting. People fear not being accepted even in cases where they disagree with what society desires.

      • It is interesting how people naturally feel more comfortable with the idea of just behaving of soceity expects. A lot of the time I dont think its fear of acceptance but just the idea that there is a nature (innate) element to masculinity. Meaning I think its often more natural for a man to assume stereotypically masculine roles because its not so much an act but something more biological. I think gender is not actually socially constructed. I feel that if soceity perceives man or women a certain way is because through the dawn of man not much has changed in terms of behavior and what a man or women is more adept at.

      • Imaani Cain says:

        I can’t seem to leave a reply to Lisette’s comment, so I’m putting it here. How gender not socially constructed? Masculinity and femininity are not biological–taking in the cultural differences of other countries, that’d be a nonsensical statement to make. Gendered behaviors are learned throughout our society. I can’t speak for other places, but in the U.S., people are encouraged to strive towards masculinity and ‘acceptable’ behaviors (‘femininity’ is only allowed within masculine constraints, also). It’s not necessarily “more natural” for a man to assume traditional masculine roles, it’s just expected. There is no innate, instinctual urging towards masculinity–just merely what you are taught.

    • Audrey Allyn says:

      I think that wanted to do things that men do and dressing more boyish aren’t considered qualities that define your sexual preference. Being a part of something that isn’t the norm for your gender should be applauded. I dont understand how people in society bases so many characteristics off of someones general appearances. The fact that she fights and falls in love in this movie shows that you can’t judge someone off of their appearances. There are always underlying factors for the way they act and dress the way they do. I think that the fact that male femininity is looked at as more of a threat than female masculinity because females have more leeway in how they are percieved. It is more understandable for a girl to dress up as a boy and have more masculine characteristics growing up than it is for boys to dress more feminine.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      I agree with you. Masculine females are more acceptable in society than feminine males are. A prime example can be Hilary Clinton. When Hilary Clinton was running for president critics called her a “b****” because she used very aggressive language and took initiative. You typically expect this from a male so seeing her take charge only drew critiques, but are they necessarily bad? On the other hand, a feminine male is usually made fun of or bashed. Oscar De La Hoya took a lot of negative criticisms for his cross-dressing because it was very feminine and not expected. That alone goes to show the how society accepts these individuals and how they are critiqued.

  2. Iris Foley says:

    I had never seen this movie before but I really enjoyed it. Even though I was watching it for class and was trying to focus on the themes of female masculinity present in the film, I found myself getting wrapped up in Diana’s story – her mother’s past, her father, her brother, her school life, and her relationship with Adrian. As we learned more about her family life, her past, and her difficulties in school, it was easier to understand how she was drawn into the world of boxing. It gave her a release for her feelings and her anger and later in the film, we realized that Diana’s mother had committed suicide to escape the abuse she suffered at the hands of Diana’s father. Diana refused to be a weak woman who a man could take advantage of. She embraced her masculinity in order to become a strong woman. She trained to be strong physically and mentally.

    Diana was an inspiring female character for other girls and for guys. Her story was simply one of hard work, perseverance, and personal success. Regardless of her sex, Diana knew what she wanted to do and didn’t let anything or anyone get in her way. She completely disregarded what her female peers at school thought of her. I thought it was important too that Diana had a relationship with Adrian in which they were viewed as equals in their sport. It seemed like the movie had created this strong female character and then weakened her by making her an emotional female in love who would let her romantic feelings in the way of her boxing success, so I was so happy that Diana was able to fight Adrian at the end of the film and beat him. They both knew that they had given their all in the fight. Adrian didn’t let up just because Diana was a girl. It seemed like a fitting victory for Diana after all the hard work she had put in. Nobody let her win.

    • Although Diana is seen as masculine and not truly embracing her feminine side she does not forgive her father for leading her mom to suicide. I believe that even though she was more masculine I believe she just does not want to have anyone beat her and force her to also commit suicide like her mom was lead to. I truly enjoyed that she went back and beat her dad almost killing him to show him what her mom felt and what what went threw having someone treat her like she was nothing.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      I find it very interesting how you said “It seemed like the movie had created this strong female character and then weakened her by making her an emotional female…” Even when she falls in love with Adrian she still displays masculinity as we originally see from the movie. She stayed true to herself and carried herself as masculine throughout the movie because she didn’t want Adrian’s emotions and the fact that she was a girl interfere with how he treated her in the ring. At first, we see he takes her lightly and couldn’t hit her. He then realized how strong of a woman she was and how bad she wanted it, so he fought her giving it his all. He came up short in the fight but that is because Diana wanted it more all along and consistently showed it.

      • I agree with Nelson. Diana`s character is very strong minded and she does not take any b.s from anyone. She is hot tempered and violence which are traditional Latino male qualities. Her falling in love with Adrian brings us back to the fact that she is a women. I agree that she stayed true to herself because instead of allowing Adrian to date her and the other girls she does not allow him to do so and does not show any weakness during the scene where he comes to her school to try to win her back.

      • Iris Foley says:

        You make some good points, Nelson. I think you’re right. Diana’s character, regardless of her emotional attachment to Adrian, was not willing to let her feelings get in the way of her boxing. She was very consistent throughout the movie in showing how hard she was willing to work for her wins. I think Adrian recognized this from the beginning. That might be why he was initially scared to get seriously involved with her and brought Karina to Hector’s birthday party. He was more comfortable with a more feminine girl who didn’t challenge him or his masculine role in the relationship.

  3. Imaani Cain says:

    I really liked the movie “Girlfight”, although the casual misogyny did make me uncomfortable. Diana mentions that she hates Veronica, a girl at her school, because she spends all of her time doing makeup and is too feminine. Although it’s easy to see why Diana dislikes Veronica (being as she sleeps with the boy Marisol likes and then lies about it), it’s interesting to see just why she does–not because of Veronica’s personality, exactly, but because of her “feminine” habits and because she’s “slutty”. Also, one of the boxers in training remarks to Diana that “I guess you never learned how to be a lady”, while criticizing her aggressive behavior–one of the trainers even says that she would not be a good boxer because of her gender.

    Maybe it’s because Diana is so heavily criticized for being ‘masculine’ that she seems to hate anything that comes with femininity–which, of course, is reasonable but is still indicative of internalized misogyny.

    • I someone agree with you I believe that the reason why Diana hates Veronica besides from her sleeping with Marisol. I believe that she truly hates her because she is not worried about what happen to her. Her mom committed suicide because she was not worried about learning to fight and was more worried about her self image. Thats the reason as to why she hated her so much because she truly wanted her to be able to protect herself.

    • sorlyz says:

      It is unfortunate that just because she is a female, people were already doubting her. On the issue about the strong dislike towards, Veronica. Diane hates Veronica because of how feminine she is. There is a saying that goes along the lines of: You only hate people that display the things that you hate about yourself. Maybe Diane wishes she was more feminine and was able to put more effort into her look.

    • crestrepo1991 says:

      I agree that you do make a very good point about the reason behind Diana’s hate for Veronica, but i do not completely agree that the sole reason behind her hatred is because she is too feminine. Other than sleeping with the boy Marisol like and lying about the act, I think another reason for it is that even though not directly displayed, it is implied that Veronica looks down and does not have respect for Diana because of the way Diana chooses to life her life (through toughness and boxing rather than femininity and make-up). Diana dislikes her not because she is feminine, but because Veronica is a horrible person morally and socially as she is a loose woman, a liar, and disrespectful, yet its a woman like Veronica that men and society in general tend to value and choose over. So just the thought that someone as horrible morally as Veronica is what everyone desires for and wants Diana to be is extremely frustrating and agitating to her, which is likely the real reason why she hates her so much. Plus there are many feminine girls like Veronica in Diana’s school, but she does not hate them to the extent that she dislikes Veronica

      • Imaani Cain says:

        “A loose woman”? Wow. That’s an incredibly slut-shaming statement to make. Although I agree that there are other traditionally feminine characters in the film (not many though, the ones who appear with significant speaking roles are Diana, Marisol, and Veronica) that she doesn’t seem to dislike, she seems to hate Veronica for reasons beyond her habit of having casual sex. The movie really never goes into the reason why, but it isn’t entirely necessary–both Veronica and Diana seem to practice girl-hate and delight in picking at each other.

      • sorlyz says:

        I agree with Imaani. It is unfair to call Veronica “loose” because her character, as big as it is, does not divulge full information about her life. This movie does not revolve around Veronica and her life. Its main focus is about Diana and her decisions to become a boxer. If this movie had been “Veronica’s Diary” or something, we could be able to understand why she makes the choices she does. Unfortunately, Carlos, saying Veronica is loose just because she made some iffy choices is judgmental and wrong.

    • Romy Garcia says:

      I believe that the reason why Diana hates Veronica is because of her femininity. She is very feminine, wearing a lot of make up, wears shirts and is considered “slutty”. In Diana’s eyes, Veronica is setting the wrong example of femininity, and she is upset that Marisol looks up to her. I feel like she lives by this notion of “not being lady like” because she refuses to look, express, or live by the same femininity that she has seen other girls portray.

  4. John Wilkinson says:

    The background of Oscar de la Hoya presents an interesting scenario regarding not only masculinity, but also its relation to the perception of minority groups and immigrants in the United States. In reading the opening pages, de la Hoya seems to have developed a public image similar to that of the model minority label often applied to Asian Americans. The label is usually used to describe immigrants and minorities that are perceived as “hard working” and striving to succeed in “legitimate” ways – think the over-achieving Asian American student stereotype. As it’s mentioned by one of the people interviewed in the article, he will always be perceived as a Mexican American. All of his determination and work will still result in him being a model minority rather than being simply a hard working individual.

    What becomes really interesting is the manner in which this model minority status alienates him. His work ethic and personality distanced himself from some of his fans, notably those in East L.A. for not being working class. Though he attracted others, he became isolated from his community for them not seeing him as their representative. Oscar de la Hoya’s image becomes complicated in the many different ways it is assembled, appealing to certain boxing fans and for certain minority and immigrant groups. His success and “cerebral” boxing style have applied to some fans and immigrants would want the same. The image he cultivated as a family man and having positive relationships with women had garnered him a large female following. However all of this further distanced himself from his original community as much as moving out.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      Oscar de la Hoya can be describes as the face of Mexican-American boxers, which isn’t a bad thing. We learn that he wanted to be like Sugar Ray Leanord, meaning humble, family-oriented, and hard working. We associate all these words with machismo or Latino masculinity because these are things we expect out of Latino men. However, why as soon as Oscar cross-dresses is he frowned upon when he has an established family and career that most men couldn’t even compete in? The cultural differences make it hard for some Mexican-Americans to “respect” Oscar as much as he should be, however he does represent latino masculinity in many ways. His nickname “Golden Boy” derives from his success in the 2000 Barcelona Olympics when he won gold, therefore who are we to question his masculinity when he’s successful in the most masculine sport we have?

      • We problably are not cut out to me determine if his masculinity is lacking especially since non of us really know or understand the amount of “masculine strength” it takes to be a Golden Boy. The biggest issue however, I believe is one of identity. For instance, Oscar de la Hoya is a second generation Mexican-American. This problably influnenced his perception of masculinity. It also problably influenced why he chose to emmulate Black Masculinity. He said he wanted to be like Sugar Ray Leneards who was clean cut. In the American world I think its easier to perceive not taking punches as being untouchable as fighter. This means that no one can actually get close to him to actually hit him. Whereas for Mexican audiences it translates as him being a “punk” who can’t take a hit and prove that he can get back up. In the article it also mentioned that he failed to rematch people which is why he was seen as sell out or pretty boy.

    • Ernie Abreu says:

      I like the comparison you made between the Asian American hard working and striving for success and relating that to De La Hoya. However, working hard and becoming successful is not the end of a career. Maintaining that status is the hardest part of being success. Although De La Hoya have broken milestones in the boxing sport, and strives to become this positive role model for his family, he failed to maintain his image. The drag pictures are a good example of how he has ruined his credibility as being hypermasculine.

      • You’re right about the drag pictures. When I researched this topic for my presentation I was taken a back by the images. This was not surprising because I had never seen something like that before, but because it is so unheard of for someone of Mexican descent where machismo dominates, to cross dress. I had to see it to believe it and even then I still don’t really comprehend why he did it. As a boxer you are viewed as hypermasculine and cross dressing (often associated with being a transgender) is the opposite of “manliness.” Its almost like admiting that being “male” is unfit. Yet if you look at the pictures in a different way it could be seen as hypersexual. Hypersuxuality is a masculine trait. In the that sense Oscar fit his presumed stereotype before that scandal in 2007.

      • sorlyz says:

        It is unfortunate that De La Hoya’s image was ruined just because he decided to play dress up and take pictures. When we were discussing this in class I felt we were just overanalyzing and thinking too much of Oscar dressing up. Honestly, who are we to say that dressing up on days other than Halloween is wrong. When you get bored stupid things happen and dressing up happens. Therefore attributing those pictures to drug abuse, homosexuality, or sexual expression is false because I know a large number guys in class would dress up like this for Halloween and for fun without hesitation.

    • crestrepo1991 says:

      You do make very good points, but I do not agree with the Asian American model minority comment. I feel that its more of a social appeasement strategy that ODLH implemented rather than the model minority strategy, even though I will admit that many of the characteristics of ODLH’s approach derives from the model minority ideology. I say this because even though ODLH did many actions to create a positive image of himself, such as working with children and many philanthropic organizations, not all of his actions reflect that of a model minority. A model minority image implies that the person is a nonstop hard-working individual whom cares for those around them, and that is not necessarily the case for him. Yes ODLH was a very hard-working person who did what he had to in order to achieve success, but he isn’t a model minority because of the many actions he performed without making consideration of the general public and communities he associated with. Examples of these are: 1) abandoning his chicano roots and community for residence within a suburban and white-dominant community 2) Lavishly spending money for maintaining his appearance and social activities such as drinking, lavish and luxurious dinners, etc.. 3) taking the many cross-dressing pictures without acknowledging the possible backlash it could cause. Actions like this do not reflect a model minority figure, as such a figure implies that the person remains as a hard-working person with a strong sense of humility and consideration for those around. ODLH represents more of a social appeasement figure, as many of his philanthropic actions were done to please those whom idolize and follow him, but nonetheless engaging in acts to please himself while not placing consideration for his peers and followers, such as engaging in drinking and substance abuse. He even stated that he doesn’t care what his fans and followers think and that he will fight the way he wants to. Shunning the opinions of your peers, engaging in selfish acts like these, and only giving back to the community just on the sole reason to better your image means that he is not a model minority, but rather a wealthy and successful social appeaser

      • To addresss your second point, Oscar De La Hoya’s lifestyle change paved the way for his lack of maniliness and respect. The article said that due to his new found wealth and his implementation of safe tactics, Mexican American fans lost respect for him as a fighter and as a man. Also it said that it was due to his millions of dollars, movie star looks, he had a negative representation of the masculine and machismo ideologies upheld by the mexican american and mexican national communities accprding to Mexicans. That thought his “wholesomeness” was cowardly.

      • John Wilkinson says:

        I agree that the drag pictures threaten the possibility of Oscar being a model minority, but his actions prior represent a method of American acceptance that would not threaten a white population. His success without resorting to traditional Mexican forms demonstrates a separation from something that could be viewed as barbaric. Further, his moving out of East LA and his increased participation in consuming and being a commodity and a more lavish lifestyle, even if predominately for himself, is indicative of the hardworking success of the American Dream. His work ethic and success are something that native-born white populations can point to as upward social mobility being easily attained by all through hard work, despite boxing talent, success and fame being a more rare story.

  5. Joseph C. Sokola says:

    In the movie “Girlfight,” it certainly seems as though Diana has a distaste for Veronica because she represents the feminine characteristics that Diana does not have. Because of the fact that she may be a little bit jealous of her and the male attention that she receives, Diana seems to assign the negative qualities of someone who embraces femininity, such as by calling her “slutty.” Unfortunately for Diana, she receives much criticism herself, because she does not fit the structured gender roles for a stereotypical female. By choosing to become a boxer, she is definitely taking a different path as a female, by challenging the established gender roles of society. However, this decision is met with much criticism by males, even the males in her own family. Despite all of this, Diana still preservers to reach her goals, proving that females can display just as much aggression, strength and masculinity as males.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      Females can definitely be as masculine as males as we see in the movie. Diana has to face all the criticism by her dad and others but remains strong enough to continue her dreams. That alone shows courage, alongside of her fearlessness of getting into a ring with another male. Diana understands the obstacles she has to overcome, especially after her first match with Adrian. She understands that no guy wants to beat up on a girl which she uses as motivation to become stronger and better. We see her making progress throughout the movie, specifically when beating up on her dad, and by the end she defeats Adrian. No one had hope in her considering Adrians trainer didn’t even approve the fight at first because she was a girl. She was not only physically tough, but stronger mentally which is why I consider her to be more masculine than anything.

  6. Nelson Veras says:

    The movie “Girl Fight” was an interesting movie that can be used to display both masculinity and femininity in females. Diana was a character that from physical appearance you would describe as masculine. She looks mean, is very aggressive, dresses more like a tomboy than a girl, and the her actions all reflect how we will describe a masculine man. At one point in the movie we see her dad tell her that wearing a skirt once in a while to be a girl wouldn’t hurt but she ignores him and continues to do as she pleases. Unlike most girls, she challenges her dad both verbally and physically in which isn’t typical amongst females. Her passion for the sport of boxing was remarkable because she did whatever it took to train and at one point we even see her steal money from her own father to be able to pay off her training session. She doesn’t represent the ideal girl image but she does value certain things girls often value which is where her feminine side kicks it.

    Throughout the movie I felt that Diana was jealous of Veronica. In the beginning of the movie we see Diana beat up on Veronica which was her only option. Veronica was your ideal girl; she was pretty, popular, and got any boy she wanted. This is why Diana beats up on her because she only has a physical advantage over her while Veronica had more of a social advantage over her. Diana ends up falling for a male boxer which i did not expect. Becasue of her actions and the way she carried herself thorughout the movie I expected her solely focus on boxing or if falling in love it be with another female. I was quick to stereotype based off her appearance and the fact that she boxed enhanced my opinion. However, Diana does show femininity by falling for another guy and being jealous of Veronica when feeling threaten, a trait we typically see amongst females (don’t mean to offend any females).

    • Ernie Abreu says:

      I must agree that her affection for Adrian was very unexpected. I didn’t go as far as stereotyping that Diana was going to fall for another female, but I believed that she did not have any feeling towards nothing but boxing. As for your jealousy case, I do see some truth behind it. She could have easily been jealous about Veronica’s popularity and status. However, this can also be interpreted as being annoyed or upset at Veronica. Diana can be upset because Veronica is reinforcing feminine attitudes behavior, which Diana do not poses and deny to live by. She is also annoyed at the fact that her friend Marisol looks up to Veronica because she feels that her self-identity is more important.

    • Imaani Cain says:

      I didn’t think that Diana was jealous of Veronica–I thought that maybe she was just adverse to femininity because she possibly thought it was weak or unimportant. Also, Veronica did sleep with the guy her best friend liked, and although she shouldn’t have fought her over it, she was trying to protect Marisol. I don’t think that falling in love is indicative of femininity, either; Diana’s relationship with Adrian doesn’t ‘feminize’ her whatsoever, her personality or appearance doesn’t change. She remains resolutely herself.

      • Yea I see your point jealously was not so much a factor as she was rejecting her idea of weakness. Yet i disagree her falling in love does feminize because it means she was over taken by her “feelings and emotions” which is associated with females. The fact that she’s angry or violent is masculine or hyperemotional if you think about in that sense.

    • I’m completely offended. No not really, but I see what you mean. I think its instinctually natural to be territorial over relationships. I can’t neccesarily say that’s purely feminine or masculine. Jealously however is rooted in lack of trust or self esteem. Which I can imagine Diana felt when in comparison to Veronica which esssentially was everything she wasn’t. Feeling competative because of jealously is her masculine side. Overall Diana is not as butch as a straight girl can get, so that idea that a girl boxing equates to being masculine is a little retro. I knew a girl that couldn’t go without her make up but kickboxed as well. I still say she’s as femme as they get.

      • Romy Garcia says:

        I like your point about jealousy Lissette. Jealousy isn’t just a female trait. Man experience it too. Jealousy is a lack of self- esteem. A good example that comes to mind is Adrian’s other girlfriend. She is very pretty and lady like, which are traits that Diana lacks. She feel threaten by this, and as a result she feels jealous that Adriana takes her out to public settings instead of Diana.

  7. Ernie Abreu says:

    Although the movie Girlfight was a good movie, I felt that there were some flaws to the story. First off, Tiny’s story was completely ignored. I understand that the main character of the movie is Diana, however, the story introduce some conflicts with Tiny that never really got solved. Tiny completely quit his boxing career because he decided that the money for his lessons could be invested for his sister Diana, who will take more advantage of the lessons. However, the conversation between Tiny and his father never occurred. He kept it hidden from his father as long as he could, until his father enter the gym to catch his daughter Diana boxing instead of his son. Where was the altercation between father and son? I felt like this was completely ignored, which could have build more suspense and more family conflicts that could have enhanced the story of the movie.

    Another flaw to the movie was Diana’s purpose and reasoning behind wanting to pursue boxing. For Adrian, it was evident that boxing has reformed his life. He was a very aggressive child and a trouble maker. He used to pick fights as a hobby. He wanted to box because he knew that he can make a profession out of it and potentially make money. But his real reason behind boxing is to find inner peace. In the boxing ring, he could unleash all his aggressiveness and channel it into something positive. He learned how to control his anger. Whereas in Diana’s case, I never understood why she wanted to box. When she was asked by her trainer Hector, as to why she wants to box, she answered with a simple, “I don’t know, I just like it”. To me this shows poor character development with the story writers.

    Even though the message portrayed was positive, the movie could have been much more engaging. The story jumps from scene to scene, sometimes having no connections. The story focuses more on the romance and the gender norms, when it should have focused more on the character development and cohesiveness.

    • crestrepo1991 says:

      Very good post! I agree with many of your points and while I agree that more should have been dedicated to character development to raise the suspense and intrigue, in a sense I can understand why the director chose not too. I respect the choice on the director’s behalf to focus more upon the intricate and controversial aspects of her experience within the gym and the boxing ring in general, as I think the director was aiming more to show how the struggle is for feminine boxers in general rather than placing the spotlight solely upon Diana’s life, as perhaps the director wants us to reflect personally upon this struggle for all women boxers rather than losing sight on that and focusing upon Diana and her peers. So instead of analyzing just one person and their struggle, he uses Diana’s story as a representation for many women boxers, which perhaps is why he chose more focus upon these gender norms rather than character development

      • Ernie Abreu says:

        I understand your point Carlos, and I understand the intentions of the director. I am not suggesting that he dedicates the complete two hours of the movie to explain character developments, because I do agree that the social norms were more important to analyze. I just didn’t like how the director left TIny’s situation up in the air. If he would have concluded it with a father/son talk, I would have been satisfied.

    • I assumed Diana`s reason for wanting to box had a lot to do with her temper and wanting to fight all the time. In the movie the principal mentioned that the fight we seen her have in the beginning of the movie was her fourth fight that semester. Diana relieves her tension and anger in the boxing ring. Although Adrian`s reason was a bit more obvious boxing was a safe heaven for Diana. With her father causing her mother`s suicide and the resentment she has against her father, Diana is a very angry and violence young lady and boxing is a way for her to release this anger and not get in trouble for doing so.

      • Iris Foley says:

        I also think Diana wanted to box because she wanted to succeed at something. Her brother seemed to be the one in the family with good grades and good behavior and the one their father could justify spending money on. Diana struggled in school in and out of class and had no hobbies because she took on the role of mother in the household. She also failed in terms of being a “girl,” according to Marisol and the other popular girls because she didn’t dress like them and look like them and the boys didn’t have any interest in her. Boxing became a way for her to prove that she could be good at something on her own and that she was worth something.

      • Amber Jones says:

        The anger that she experienced towards her father contributed to her being a man hater. When I say man hater I do not mean she disliked men in a sexual sense but in a more complex way. So when she started to take a liking to a male I was surprised because I thought she would shun him instead. But since they possessed similarities it assisted in her wanting to be close to him.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      I dont believe its poor character development, yet it is up to the viewer to make his/her own conclusion or theory to explain why Diana wanted to box. In my personal opinion, I believe her mother’s death factored into it. Her mother was unable to protect herself against Diana’s dad so Diana’s way to build toughness and aggression to protect herself was through boxing. She didn’t want to be taken advantage of so to eliminate that she started to box. Diana developed technique and won a couple fights so by the end of the you see a character who’s ready to take on any physical challenge and is determine to be successful.

  8. crestrepo1991 says:

    In regards to the movie “Girlfight”, I find it to be an excellent portrayal of not only the professional difficulties involved for women participating in combat sports, but also it serves as an accurate reflection of the personal struggles that many boxers (both male and female) tend to endure in their lives when it comes to their pursuit of success within the sport. Michelle Rodriguez did a magnificent performance in my opinion because she was able to channel and display the frustration and anger fueled by the lack of consideration and respect from the other boxers (they feel that women dont belong in the ring) and also her anger was fueled by the personal vendetta she had against her father in the family household, as the father is blamed for the death of her mother. I did some boxing myself when i was in Puerto Rico, and the training regime and sparring sessions that are implemented are rough and tedious as it is, so the fact that she had to juggle that, her family issues, and her overall frustration in life but was still able to achieve success in the ring is admirable, and I like it because these struggles are accurate and ongoing today in society.

    Overall I felt that the movie “Girlfight” is an excellent and accurate portrayal of the personal and professional struggles that boxers tend to endure on a regular basis, but rather the focus is placed upon a female boxer. I like this choice of focus because women’s combat sports is a realm of sports that is evolving and growing larger as we speak, so to have a featured film display and reflect these struggles and journeys is a commendable act.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      I agree with many of your points. I believe Michelle Rodriguez did an outstanding job in portraying female masculinity. She took on a unique goal that eventually was her break-out performance that paved the way to her successful career. The role of Diana brought her attention because she became one of few actresses that can take on a female masculine role. With this performance she gave herself more buzz and led to her starring in movies with similar roles such as Resident Evil.

    • Love this movie! When I first saw the movie I recall thinking “wooo girl power” lol. Now I see it not solely as an empowering role for women but as another movie in which people are not used to seeing women in sports that are considered male-oriented. Diana also has this roughness and toughness about her that is viewed as predominantly masculine traits. I also think Michelle did a great job at portraying this role. It is also refreshing to see a movie in which a tomboy is not seen as a lesbian but a female who embraces the fluidity of gender expression. This is kinda reminiscent of tombraider in which a strong female kicks butt and yet has a soft romantic side.

      • Amber Jones says:

        I think people were confused with Dana because here she was a female dressing in baggy manly clothes who was pursuing a male. Most people didn’t think she was a “normal girl” and this led to her social isolation. The empowering aspect of this was the fact that she did not care about society’s thoughts. I believe that Dana understood her identity and was not willing to conform. We actually see this when she tells her dad that she is not a girly girl in response to asking her to wear a dress.

      • Skylar Smith says:

        I completely agree with your post. It all stems back to the idea of normative behaviors in society. Just because she did not represent the stereotypical girl, society isolated her. Too many people care too much about what society thinks of them but in the case of Diana, she did not. It takes a lot of courage to pursue your dream when society and the ones you love are against you but Diana kept fighting. She fully understood her identity although the public did not, and kept pursuing what she wanted to.

  9. Girlfight is a great example of a non-traditional female character. In society a female that enjoys violence and does not wear shirts or dresses and prefers to box instead of being a nurse or secretary is assume to be a lesbian. In a women`s studies class I took two semesters ago, women were seen as lesbians if they spoke up for themselves and went against the norms. I am not sure which reading this was from in this class but I found that idea very interesting in relation to this movie. I think most people assumed Diana was not interested in boys because of how she dressed and acted. It is instilled in females that men are not attracted to someone who looks like them. Women are suppose to take pride in their appearance and always look pretty. In today`s society more of an edge is being accepted without someone thinking that a female is a lesbian. Diana although never appear to be a girly girl in the movie was still very feminine in some scenes while masculine in others. This made me think about our first day in class where we went around and said whether we considered ourself feminine or masculine and almost everyone said a mixture of both. Most individuals admit that they have both qualities and I think that was the case with Diana.

    I found Diana`s relationship with her father very compelling. Throughout the movie she is very hostile towards her father and I did not understand why until the scene where she has a fight with her father and it becomes apparent that she is hurt and she fears letting her father do the same thing he did to her mother to her. She is very defensive and I think this is why she is so violence and where her love for boxing derives from. I wanted the movie to end differently. I wanted to see what happened with her and her father. The ending left me in suspense which is a good tactic that I am aware of but I was also a bit confused.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      I automatically assumed Diana was a lesbian because of her physical appearence and passion for boxing. Diana was what we consider a “stereotypical” lesbian today because of her tomboy features and her aggressive behavior. We dont expect our ideal girl today to engage in any activity as physical as boxing nor challenge other men the way Diana did. It caught be by surprise that Diana was even interested in Adrian and became emotionally attached to him because it brought that femininity into her character that I thought was going to go missing throughout the entire movie. We see Diana show femininity through her masculine ways.

    • Audrey Allyn says:

      I think you make some good points. I wonder if she would have chosen boxing and a more masculine sport because she felt as though she needed to stand up for herself and make a point that she doesnt need anyones help. I think that the reason many women choose boxing and other masculine sports is because of the power and independence they achieve from it. It allows you to do something that most would deem as a “mans sport” and this is your chance to prove them wrong. I wonder if she would have gone the same route if she wasn’t brought up in that type of environment.

    • Skylar Smith says:

      In today’s society, it is ridiculous how normative standards are still instilled in everyones minds. It should not be, that if women want to speak up for themselves, that they are perceived as lesbians. The truth is, is that today, there really are no more “norms” in my opinion. With mass media falling behind due to the individualized state of the Internet, everyone is shaping themselves in different ways that no way resemble what the “norm” is. You make a good point when you brought up how mostly everyone said that they had a mix of feminine and masculine traits. I believe, that because we are at an institution of higher learning we all accept and understand that having feminine traits doesn’t mean you are feminine and having masculine traits does not mean you are completely masculine.

    • Romy Garcia says:

      I also wanted the movie to end more family oriented. I wondered how her relationship with her father ended up since they really didn’t show them making up after the altercation. I really was surprised when I saw her fighting with her father, especially listening to her words as she fought him. I also thought that was her best fight. She really knocked him out. If she could have done that to Adrian, it would have been the perfect ending. Which makes me think, if Diana knocked her father out, but she had a fair one with Adrian, does this mean that Adrian could have also knocked him out? I felt like Diana’s father preached so much about protecting himself, but he couldn’t protect himself against his own daughter.

    • My only thoughts on this is that im surprised how everyone seems to think that something had to happen to make her this way. Couldn’t she just naturally be more masculine, not like some girl going through a tom boy phase but just naturally is more into things that are considered masculine. Just like how people are born gay, they dont chose to be gay or are turned gay by a traumatic event, cant she just be born more masculine?

  10. Skylar Smith says:

    This weeks readings were very interesting as I have never really put too much thought in to the concept of female masculinities. Similar to a lot of society, I may have mainly associated masculinity with maleness. After this weekes topic of female masculinities, I have been able to change my viewpoint on the overall concept of masculinity. In the reading by Judith Halberstam, I particularly found the James Bond references very interesting. She tackles concepts that I have never thought of while watching James Bond. Whenever I watch James Bond, my main focus is, of course, on the main character James Bond and the stunts he pulls. After reading the text I fully understand how Bond is fully reliant on M and Agent Q.

    Agent Q can be represented as the “perfect model of the interpretation of queer and dominant regimes”, while M signifies female masculinity (Halberstam, pg. 357). These two characters provide a “remarkable representation of the absolute dependence of dominant masculinities on minority masculinities” (Halberstam, pg. 357). It is true how these two characters are a backbone to Bonds success on missions but I believe that Halberstam strips down Bond way too much. Her writing, coming from a feminist’s standpoint, gives almost no credit to Bonds character whatsoever. “When you take his toys away, Bond has little propping up his performance of masculinity. Without the slick suit, the half smile, the cigarette lighter that transforms into a laser gun, our James is a hero without the action or the adventure” (Halberstam, pg. 357). This, to me, is a little too excessive. She is stripping down Bond to represent nothing more than a human being. This interpretation can be be put towards anyone, like the President of the United States. Without his cabinet, without his suit, he is nothing but a person who wakes up every morning and goes to work.

    What Halberstam fails to mention is the suave that Bond has and the very developed mind that can get him out of situations. His suit is merely a piece of clothing that makes him look clean cut. Without his “toys” he is still a very dominant figure who has the skills to fight and a background of violence behind him. Although Halberstam does make some interesting points, her viewpoints are very one sided.

    • In another womens studies class that i took we actually talked alot about this idea of how we always associate things with masculinaty and femininity just like in our class, but we went into marketing alot and the effects it has on our views a lot. We learned about how advertising tends to be very sexist and is about conforming to gender norms, like hoe make up commercials are always about some model looking girl who is essentially the epitome of what were raised to beleive women are supposed to be like, who is glamorous and elegant and surrounded by handsome men. Its supposed to subconciously make women want their product so they can have a life like that, all they have to do is look like that.

  11. Ernie Abreu says:

    I would like to extend our conversation about allowing males and females to participate and compete against each other in the same ground, boxing. As discussed in class, boxing is a very physical sport, in which career ending injuries occur in abundance. However the discussion between allowing male boxers and female boxers goes beyond injuries, weight class and training. It even goes beyond biological strength and weakness. It is true that if both men and women train hard to become exemplary boxers and both are from the same weight class, then it should be an equal and fair match. But an important circumstance is being ignored.

    At a very young age, men are taught values and morals that speak against women violence. They are taught that harming women, specifically physical violence, is intolerable and unforgiving. I am a good example of this, as my mother raised me to protect my sisters. The thought of laying my hand on a women, even if it is voluntary like in boxing, makes me disgusted. Thus, being in a situation similar to Adrian and having to fight a woman in order to gain an opportunity of going professional, must have been very uncomfortable and I would have resigned as soon as my opponent mentioned. This is not an act of being macho nor an act of pride nor shame of losing to a woman, this is an act of being respectful towards women.

    Therefore, women and men should not be competing against each other in a physical sport like boxing. Hitting a woman is just simply wrong, does not matter the circumstances.

    • I understand that you think hitting women is wrong, and so do i but can there be exceptions in sports. I’ve done Tang Soo Do since i was about 9 years old and we would fight at least once a week. We did mainly point fighting so it wasnt like you were go for pure power or just pounding on each other, though we did also do continuous occasionally which is more like kickboxing. We would mix it up all the time and since there were only so many of us boy and girls fought each other all the time. SInce it was point fighting and you werent going for KO’s it was acceptable, and the guys would hold back on power on the girls.

    • Nelson Veras says:

      I agree. We’re raised with the idea that a man should never hit a women so just because it’s boxing it doesn’t make it acceptable. Punching a girl at full force when angry and punching her at full force during a boxing match both result in the same thing, hitting a woman and hurting her. Society frowns on any man who hits a woman therefore we shouldn’t make it acceptable on any level.

      • But what im talking about is very different. Point fighting is about beating on someone it about just being the first to make a clean hit and score a point, It is far more controlled and it’s not about power we used to practice with the girls all the time, though actual competition was split into men and women. You werent going out to beat the crap out of a person and it was actually still friendly, i used to fight my best friend Monica all the time and iit was understood that the guys would hold back and not go full power on the women, so i feel that there can be exceptions in cases like this.

      • Romy Garcia says:

        I agree in both arguments made. In your case Pat, since you weren’t fighting in full strength or power, and you held back if it was to ever get too physical. But I agree with Nelson, men are raised to respect women and hitting them is morally wrong. In a boxing match, it does not make it any different. Even if it is acceptable to hit them, the boys will be psychologically confused to as to whether hit the female and lose social recognition, or lose to the female and lose pride. Either way, it is a lose lose.

      • It absolutely would mess with me since i was raised to never hit a woman. Being a fairly violent person my natural reaction to a lot of things tends to be violence which always makes it worse. THere have been times where women have done things to me that if it was a guy i would have snapped and fought him but instead ive done dumb things and puched walls which is why my knuckles have been busted so many times theyre deformed. But in karate it actually lead to a wierd situation where the girls actually had an advantage be cause they could go as hard as they want and some of them would even cheap shot you to make you angry on purpose and then you would get flustered knowing you cant hit them back and then you would get sloppy from how angry you were which could lead to them winning.

  12. This weeks topic was interesting, and was kind of a nice break after studying nothing but men for the whole semester. The movies itself was pretty good though it had a lot of cliches in it. But it was nice to actually look into women acting in a way that is considered manly after the amount of time that we’ve spent on men doing things that are considered feminine. My main thought when i watched the movie was just about the way she carried herself and dressed. I kept thinking, especially since we just read sirena silena, about how she doesn’t dress femininely but it doesnt really stick out. If a guy is wearing a dress or even a girls shit it would stick out and be really obvious but when a girl wears clothes that are more gender nuetral or more manly its not as obvious, at least not to me. SO i just kept thinking why is this, but i couldnt come up with an answer.

    • Romy Garcia says:

      I agree with you Pat, it was nice to see boxing in a different view other than it being focused on masculinity. Female presence in physical sports are getting more popular. I found a video of the first Olympic female to make it to the boxing team. Examples like these as well as Diana, make women believe that there are no binaries, and both men and women can compete on equal playing fields.

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