Sociology of Sport Film Review

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Sociology in sport

Film review: bend it like Beckham

Bend it like beckham is based on Jess, a 17 year old British born, Sikh girl who has an undying passion for football, her favourite player is David Beckham and he is exactly who jess wants to be. But jess’s parents have taken every effort to stay in touch with the families Indian heritage. Jess' father and mother are after their daughter to go to law school, learn to cook a traditional Indian dinner, and settle down with a nice Indian boy -- the latter of which is high on the agenda of her older sister Pinky, who is soon to wed her long-time beau Teetu. However, her family is unaware that Jess has a secret passion ,football. Her parents don't know that in her spare time she likes to play a friendly game in the park with some of the boys in the neighbourhood.

One day, while Jess and her pals kick the ball around, she meets Jules, who is quite impressed with Jess' skills. Jules plays with a local semi-pro women's football team, the Hounslow Harriers, and she thinks Jess has what it takes to make the team. Jess knows that her parents would never approve of their daughter playing football, so she doesn't tell them, and starts spinning an increasingly complex series of lies as she tries to keep up a double life as a student and a footballer. Jess soon discovers a number of her new friends have their own problems to overcome; Jules dreams of playing pro ball in America, but has to deal with her stubborn and disapproving mother, while Joe, Hounslow's Irish coach, still struggles with the disappointment of a career as a professional athlete which was dashed by a knee injury.

Throughout Bend it like Beckham, clear sociological factors all appear, from stereotypical ideologies through to race, class and gender, bend it like Beckham is a enjoyable, funny film that can be used to explain more clearly how ideologies, identity, power and social influences all have a part to play in everyone’s lives.

Ideologies are beliefs and ideas that people form to give meaning to their life experiences and make sense of the world, there are different types of ideologies, including class, race and gender ideologies and these ideologies form identities.

‘Identity is about belonging, about what you have in common with some people and what differentiates you from others. At its most basic it gives you a sense of personal location, the stable core to your individuality. But it is also about your social relationships, your complex involvement with others’ (Weeks 1990 p. 88 cited in Rutherford 1990 p. 88)

Class ideologies are the beliefs that people have to understand economic inequalities, identify them in terms of their class position and evaluate the manner in which economic inequalities are and how they should be integrated into the organization of social worlds.

Class ideology is not an as important factor in the movie as the other forms of ideology but it picked up upon slightly when the father mentions that they are not rich, also the environment in which the movie is filmed portrayed her family as working class, however she is planning to go to university and wins a scholarship at the end so her education is pretty good.

Racial ideology is one of the main ideologies depicted in the movie, it is a set of ideas and beliefs that people use to give meaning to skin colour and to evaluate people in terms of racial classifications. Racial ideologies vary around the world, but they are powerful when people use them to classify humans into racial categories. In the film, jess is Sikh, this means the family generally follow strict cultural life preferences due to their religion and these preferences cause restrictions in jess’s freedom, she shouldn’t even show as much skin as a football kit reveals in general, let alone play football itself, with girls from other cultural backgrounds, she is seen as disgracing the family for her participation.

Racism is touched...
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