Rallying the battle of sexes

Zara Khan, North Editor-in-Chief

Walking into the theater on a Monday night with a Coca-Cola Icee and high expectations, I was not disappointed. “Battle of the Sexes,” released on Sept. 22, revolves around  of one of the most famous tennis players in the world, Billy Jean King and her experience with sexism on and off the court. As a tennis player, the movie automatically drew me out. It will also appeal to non-tennis players through its excellent acting and its boy versus girl theme.

The movie takes place during the 1970s with Emma Stone  playing the lead. King is a feminist icon who changed the way people perceived women participating in sports. By using her platform to fight for gender equality, LGBT+ rights and Title IX, she became the first female athlete to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Throughout the film we see her character struggle with sexual identity and dealing with the need to succeed. Stone successfully portrays the conflicting aspects of leaving  problems behind before entering onto the court. The historic match between the 55 year old Riggs and 29 year old King kept everyone on the edge of their seats. In the end, King’s drive for representing gender equality was no match for Riggs toxic masculinity.

Steve Carell,  who portrays Bobby Riggs, former Wimbledon and U.S  Champion, comes to be known as the “chauvinistic pig” throughout the movie. Rigg’s invigorating character and distaste for women playing tennis professionally leads him to challenge King, who initially declined his request.

The casting was perfect; the tennis players were not overlysexualizaed and that the directors focused on their strengths rather than stereotypical aspects surrounding actresses. Both Stone and Carell accurately represented the different strategies athletes use to win. The film focused on the game and the struggle, not the love interest. However, the directors overly romanticized Billie and her lover’s relationship and failed to portray the struggles faced with the LGBT+ community, especially during a time period where it was considerably harder to come out and be accepted by society.

 

Overall, the film provides an inspirational boost to fellow tennis players as well young women who have to  deal with their versions of Bobby Riggs on a daily basis.

 

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To watch the trailer, click here.