3 thoughts on “A League of Their Own Succeeds By Showing That Everyone is the Star of Their Story

  1. I agree with every word of this. I only want to add some context to it.

    Barring the fact that, of course, TV shows have much more airtime, the “A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN” movie came out in 1992. George H.W. Bush was still the President, having successfully won the Electoral College AND the popular vote (the last Republican president to do so) based largely on the incredibly racist Willie Horton political ad. And he continued the Reagan-era dismissal of the AIDS pandemic as, essentially, “only killing people who deserved it,” the view of right wing Evangelicals, which was both wrong and cruel.

    I mention this to highlight that in 1992, the average American movie audience was not ready to accept a film from a major studio that DID make stories out of LGBTQ and/or characters of color in a 1940’s baseball movie. It would have bombed, and bombed hard. So hard ISHTAR would have seemed like a success. It was “only” 30 years ago, but it was also a different world. And knowing that, it is hard to blame the filmmakers for playing it safe so they’d have a hit. It is easy in hindsight for some to go, “_____ were already rich and successful by then, they should have taken one for the team,” but it’s doubtful a studio would have funded or distributed a flick like that.

    Even “BOUND,” one of the most openly lesbian movies of the mid-90’s, was four years away. And even that was a cult hit (and not based on any real life people). It had a budget of $6 million and only made about $7 million at the box office. And that came out when Bill Clinton was running for his second term. And yes, I know the Wachowski Brothers spring-boarded from it.

    So while I agree it is great that the TV show is focusing on those “other stories” and showcasing how much better they are, and taking advantage of a diverse cast, it is also worth remembering that 2022, in spite of all our problems, is simply a different time than 1992. And in many ways, for the better.

  2. My issue, though, is that the film didn’t just avoid the issue, it went the other way, and actively stated repeatedly throughout the movie, “NO ONE IN THIS MOVIE IS GAY, TRUST US!” You could just NOT get into it, ya know? But instead, the movie gave each character a specific “I am straight!” moment, which I think was too much. I totally agree that there’s no way it would have ever worked as a gay studio film in 1992, but we didn’t need every character (even Rosie O’Donnell’s character) to have a specific “I am straight!” moment. At the very least, there could have been some unspoken stuff that people could have clung to, but they didn’t give that even.

  3. I imagine that was an overcorrection to the ugly stereotype, that often is used for crass or “that aged poorly” style jokes, that women involved in traditionally “male dominated” athletics or sports are lesbian — especially if they are not petite and traditionally “beautiful.” I agree with your point that it was too much, but in the context of the times it wasn’t surprising that they went that way. I am glad that era is over, though.

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