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When Baseball Isn't White, Straight and Male: The Media and Difference in the National Pastime
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English Choose a language for shopping. Jump to navigation. To shut the man up, Ellen Sue Freddie Simpson fires a ball that pegs him right in the shoulder, knocking him down. Yet, 25 years after the movie premiered, women in baseball are still experiencing the sexism portrayed in the film.
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I believed them, too, but not anymore. However, even within the league itself, women endured sexism and discrimination. AAGPBL players signed strict contracts that forced them to refrain from drinking, smoking, or fraternizing with other teams.
Yet, when baseball became a professional sport, it was marketed toward white American men as a deliberate effort to exclude women and girls from the game. Part of that plan involved distinguishing softball—designed to be easy enough for girls to play without being too physical or competitive—from baseball in the late s, as the sport was being professionalized.
Now though, girls are fighting to reclaim their space in baseball. Sports journalist Jessica Luther recently wrote about Girls Travel Baseball, an all-girls baseball team that was started almost four years ago by two dads with daughters who wanted to play.
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GTB competes against boys teams, and are often met with sexism. Sometimes grown men stand on the side of the field and mock the players, a real-life version of the man on the dugout in A League of Their Own. The others were Ila Borders , in , and Eri Yoshida , in Many professional teams, including the Boston Red Sox and the Miami Marlins, have held events to honor the film.
But when it comes to celebrating the actual historical figures, Major League Baseball comes up short.
A League of Their Own never outright addresses the fact that Black women were forbidden from playing in the league. The film alludes to it with a singular scene: A Black woman walks onto the field, picks up a baseball, and fires it to Ellen Sue, who is standing much further away than the closest catcher, Dottie Geena Davis.
When Baseball Isn'T White, Straight And Male: The Media And Difference In The National Pastime
After the throw, the woman simply looks at Dottie and nods, before walking away. Until professional baseball gets comfortable acknowledging and actively promoting the women who have played baseball in the past, it will be impossible to get to a point where they are equally included in the game. Britni de la Cretaz is a freelance writer and baseball enthusiast living in Boston.