A teachable moment in Sochi

Next week, the United States will signal its opposition to repressive anti-gay laws in Russia by including a number of openly gay athletes in the official American delegation to the Sochi Winter Olympics.

By transforming the world’s greatest athletic stage into a powerful showcase for political equality and human rights, these athletes are guaranteed to inspire hundreds of millions of people around the world – while also serving as a powerful reminder of the long line of activist athletes who came before them.

 

As attention turns to the Olympics on February 7, don’t miss cultural historian Dave Zirin’s stirring look at this tradition of activist athletes in our film Not Just a Game. (Check out the trailer).

In a direct rebuke to those who argue that sports and politics don’t mix, Not Just a Gameexplores how U.S. sports culture has glamorized militarism, sexism, racism, and homophobia while also serving as a spectacular site of political resistance to these same regressive forces at key moments throughout history.

Zirin’s riveting description of Billie Jean King’s courageous work as a feminist and LGBT activist who in the 1980s became one of the first professional athletes to come out as gay is just one of many inspiring stories he shares in the film.

King will march in the opening ceremonies next week as part of the U.S. delegation.

MEF’s film Playing Unfair may also help to inspire classroom discussion around these issues over the next couple of weeks. Offering powerful insights into the highly charged relationship between sports and politics, especially sexual politics, Playing Unfair explores how women athletes have defied sexist and homophobic stereotypes in U.S. sports coverage and in the process threatened traditional male power.

For more information about each of these films, please visit our website.

Playing Unfair

Playing Unfair

How mainstream media misrepresent, and under-represent, female athletes and women’s sports. More…

 

 

Not Just a Game

Not Just a Game

How American sports culture has glamorized militarism, sexism, racism, and homophobia while also serving as a key site of progressive activism. More…

 

 

It Takes a Team

It Takes a Team

An educational kit designed to help identify and address homophobia in sports culture. More…