Watching this film through a lens focused on race and gender issues in the media was radical. For the first time, I was able to look beyond the love story between the two main characters, Quincy and Monica, and able to see the love story between the major character Monica, and her apparatus, the basketball. She used her apparatus to get everything she wanted including her personal love interest, Quincy and the opportunity to play professional basketball.
During an animated scene in the film, in which Monica explains to Quincy why she could not break curfew to be there for him, Monica stresses that she is a ballplayer to Quincy. Although he is unable to accept that she is unwillingly to jeopardize her passion at that time during the film, he ever comes to accept her true, uninfluenced pure love for this sport. I overstate how innocent her love for this sport was in the film, because in comparison to Quincy, Monica's passion was not nurtured, taught or reinforced to her by anyone in her family, and especially not anyone else outside of her family through this entire film. Although he excelled at the sport, his parents, his fans, and the media, constantly stroked Quincy's ego. Furthermore, there were plenty of college recruiters permanently after him to sign with their school to play at the college level.
This film highlights an important factor in female inequality. Quincy was able to go to the NBA which was founded as early as 1949 as a men's professional basketball league and obviously well established during the time period of this film. He was able to do this immediately after his freshman year, and get action time on the court. However, when Monica was a little girl in the film there was no opportunity for her to play professional basketball on the US national level. Even after graduating college, she only found opportunities outside of the United States. Historically, the female league of professional basketball players titled the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) was founded only in 1996. Nonetheless, Monica Wright, had always been a ballplayer even when there was no tangible high hope for her to look forward to in the professional basketball arena of the US which was not open to female players.
I could see two major stereotypes floating through this film. The first one being that girls are supposed to fit into a perceived role that is based on male supremacy. This idea is highlighted when the youngger Quincy told Monica that she has to ride his bike because his dad drve his mom around. The second stereotype is that showing passion through your attitude as a black female is viewed as unpleasant and a problem that needs to be fixed. Her coach told her that she lost her head out there on the basketball court. Quincy told her that she has a hot ass temper. Her mom constantly told her she needed to act like a lady. Monica stated that a double standard to Quincy during a debate, pointing out that when he gets up on the court, people think that he's just showing emotion; however, when she gets upset, people think she has a bad attitude and needs to get off the court.
I identified with Monica's mom, Camille, in this film. Camille does not want to let her daughter be who she is. She seems more content on her daughter looking like her perception of beautiful. Camille has a certain way of seeing her family and doing what she can to help her be what she wants it to be. Her daughter, Monica, does not understand where she is coming from, but deep down in Camille's heart, she only wants what's best for Monica.
I think that the double standard and stereotypes stated above still exist today. Passion that is expressed verbally and in the heat of the moment is often still seen as irrational, angry, or making no sense, especially for a black female in comparison to a male and especially a white male. Even though, one of the major liberties in America is freedom of expression which is a right guaranteed to every citizen of the United States. I have experienced throwing out an idea in a conference room with three white females, one white male, and myself. When I said the idea, no one said anything. People bypassed my idea and thread out silly remarks that were off topic. A few minutes later, the white male thread out the same idea that I mentioned earlier, and the white females loved it, expressed excitement and determined to go with that idea.
I was guided to see that Quincy, began to view her as a potential partner after the night of their spring dance. Monica, who often dressed down and wore no make-up was able to shine in fashion, hair and makeup style the night of her spring dance. I was further pleased to see that even after she and Quincy started an official relationship, that Monica stuck to her true self and continued to wear the clothes and hairstyle that she was accustomed to and most comfortable in before the night of the dance. Quincy's character loved her and had just as much fun with her the way she was. They were able to carry their loving relationship all the way through their freshman year in college. I would have loved to see more of Quincy and Monica's life after she got into the WNBA and started her family with Quincy and their baby. However, I was left with powerful perfect insight with everything that was included in the film. I was able to see that the message of this film is that women should be who they are and go after what they want. Often, people use the cliché, you can not have your cake, and eat it too. Well this film shouts the opposite. There is no reason why a girl can not have love and basketball too.