Gender Representation: Love & Basketball

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Media Analysis Paper: Love & Basketball
The movie Love & Basketball was released in 2000, however the events in the film take place starting back in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. Monica, one of main characters, moves in next door to Quincy, the other main character. At this time, they are both 11 years old with big dreams of playing in the NBA, just like Quincy’s dad. As they both attended the same schools, their love-hate relationship lasts into high school, only their attitudes separated them, except when Quincy parents argue and he climbs through Monica’s bedroom winder to sleep on the floor at night. As high school ends, they become a couple, but within a year, when they both begin college at USC, things take a turn for the worst after Quincy’s relationship with his dad takes an ugly turn, which caused him to break up with Monica. After five years, both of their professional careers come to a crossroad and Quincy and Monica meet again, leading up to a final game of one-on-one with a lot at stake. This movie shows different representations of gender roles, falling somewhere in the middle of a resistant representation and a reaffirmation of gender roles. As the two main characters were the same age, same university, both at the same class standing and both play the same sport of basketball, gender performance was clear by Monica’s treatment throughout the movie.

In the opening scene of the movie Love & Basketball, three young boys, Quincy being one of them, are playing basketball outside at a neighborhood court. As their mothers had informed them that girls were moving into the neighborhood, the boys were both pleasantly surprised and confused ad the “new kid” walks over and asks to join them. They are playing; the “new kid” walks up and asks to join. Wearing a say shirt and a LA Lakers hat, purposely portraying to be a boy, the “new kid” removes the hate and reveals herself as a girl. One of the boys shout, “Aw man she is a girl!” Then young Quincy says, “Girls can’t play no ball!” It turns out that the girl, Monica, is an outstanding basketball player and Quincy reacts to her winning by pushing her down, as her talent threatens him. This may be a scene out of a movie, but it accurately portrays real life circumstances many children face, in which most of the time they continue into adolescence and then adulthood. This is called performing gender, or not. In the piece, “Night to his Day”: The Social Construction of Gender, which excerpts from chapter one of Paradoxes of Gender, author, Judith Lorber, argues, “To explain why gendering is done from birth, constantly and by everyone, we have to look not only at the way individuals experience gender but at gender as a social institution. As a social institution, gender is one of the major ways that human beings organize their lives (Lorber 55). By gendering being done since birth, children, not even knowing exactly what they are doing, categorize others based on their assigned gender. Therefore, this scene depicts three young boys performing gender correctly and a young girl performing it incorrectly and because of this, she is thought of as weird. This is shown as Quincy asks Monica questions like, “So, how come you can play basketball” as if the sport should be foreign to her. Michael E. Messner, author of “Boyhood, Organized Sports and the Construction of Masculinities” from the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, discusses masculinity when it comes to gender and how families influences and relationships with fathers affect the decision of males to partake in athletics (Messner 103). Different men were interviewed and many of them said that seeing uncles, older brothers and other male relatives influenced them to play sports. Relationships with fathers played a pivotal role as many young men grow up playing sports for leisure with their fathers. Because of these events, many males feel obligated and or sometimes forced to...
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