Boyle%2C+Millington%2C+Vertinsky+2006+Million+Dollar+Baby

Boyle%2C+Millington%2C+Vertinsky+2006+Million+Dollar+Baby -...

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99 The authors are with the Department of Human Kinetics at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6K 2J9 Canada. Sociology of Sport Journal, 2006, 23 , 99-116 © 2006 Human Kinetics, Inc. ARTICLES Representing the Female Pugilist: Narratives of Race, Gender, and Disability in Million Dollar Baby Ellexis Boyle, Brad Millington, and Patricia Vertinsky University of British Columbia Clint Eastwood ʼ s Million Dollar Baby won f ve Academy Awards but also came under attack from female boxers and disability activists. Ostensibly a drama about a tenacious woman ʼ s quest to become a professional f ghter and the male coach who assists her, Million Dollar Baby appears to insert a radical portrayal of femininity, female athleticism, and power into the male-dominated genre of boxing f lms and, more generally, a media that has been largely hostile to female boxing. We explore the extent to which the female lead can be viewed as a trans- gressive f gure along with the discourses of containment that reduce her threat to longstanding cultural myths about boxing as a male preserve. Our analyses of the f lm ʼ s racial, gender, class, and disability politics contend that its focus is not women ʼ s boxing, disability, or the right to die; rather, like boxing, this f lm is about the male struggle to protect masculinity in a sporting world deeply shaken by the increasing presence of women. Le f lm de Clint Eastwood Million Dollar Baby a remporté cinq prix de l ʼ Académie mais a aussi essuyé les critiques de la part des boxeuses et des activistes défendant les causes des personnes vivant avec un handicap. Un f lm portant of f ciellement sur une femme tenace cherchant à devenir boxeuse professionnelle et sur son entraî- neur, Million Dollar Baby semble insérer une vision radicale de la féminité, du pouvoir et des capacités athlétiques de la femme dans un genre cinématographique dominé par les hommes et, plus généralement, au sein des médias plutôt hostiles à la boxe féminine. Nous explorons jusqu ʼ à quel point la protagoniste peut être vue comme personnage transgressif alors que des discours de contrainte réduisent sa menace à de vieux mythes culturels au sujet de la boxe comme chasse gardée masculine. Nos analyses des politiques raciales, de genre, de classe, et de handicap au sein du f lm nous amènent à suggérer que son centre d ʼ intérêt n ʼ est pas la boxe féminine, le handicap ou le droit à la mort. Ce f lm, comme la boxe, concerne plutôt la lutte des hommes pour protéger la masculinité dans un monde sportif profondément ébranlé par la présence grandissante des femmes. 01Boyle(99).indd 99 01Boyle(99).indd 99 5/17/06 7:23:25 AM 5/17/06 7:23:25 AM
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100 Boyle, Millington, and Vertinsky Clint Eastwood ʼ s latest motion picture, Million Dollar Baby (henceforth MDB ) , received critical acclaim, winning Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Actress (Hilary Swank), Best Supporting Actor (Morgan Freeman), and Best Director (Clint
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