June 1

Blog #156 – Battle of the Sexes

Battle of the Sexes' Review: Emma Stone Outshines Steve Carell in Tennis Drama - The Atlantic

This fun movie focused on the real tennis battle between aging men’s tennis champion, Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell), and #1 women’s tennis star, Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) in Houston, TX in 1973.  It was a huge extravaganza, with corporate sponsorships and huge prize money ($100,000 if King won, over 1/2 million in today’s money), possibly 90 million people watching at home and over 30,000 in attendance at the Houston Astrodome.  Their battle was a reflection of what was going on at the time period:

  1. Women’s liberation was making big headlines – part of liberation meant that women didn’t need men to be complete.  It’s one of the reasons why radical feminists burned bras, refused to follow typical Western beauty standards, and protested sexist American traditions like the Miss America beauty pageant.
  2. The Equal Rights Amendment had been passed by Congress in March 1972 which called for an end to all sexual discrimination.  By the time the match happened, 30 states had approved the ERA before the momentum stalled and approval finally expired in 1983.  A total of 35 states would approve the ERA, three short of the needed total of 38, and there was significant resistance from ladies’ groups and conservative politicians who saw the amendment as opening up the door to unisex bathrooms, gay marriage, and women fighting in the military (funny how we have all three of those things w/o the amendment today).
  3. The 2nd wave of feminism had made significant strides in getting women elected to high positions, leading corporations and unions, and pushing for wage equality, day care centers, an end to sexual harassment, and equality in education and sports (Title IX).

In a New York Times review of the movie, the opening line of the review was this: “Every so often an exceptionally capable woman has to prove her worth by competing against a clown.”  Maybe I’m a little biased, but this made me think of the 2016 Election.  Hillary Clinton was a very talented and experienced candidate for the presidency, but unlike Billie Jean, Clinton would not triumph over the clown.  Here’s a NYT article that finds parallels in the film.  It’s a wonder if the filmmakers made it this way intentionally.


The film also really focused on the gender wage gap – using one tournament in particular, the men’s prize money was 8x that of the women’s prize money.  The reasons that Jack Kramer (pictured above) and his cohort gave were pretty lame and were easily shot down by Billie Jean and Gladys Heldman (played by Sarah Silverman), and Kramer finally settled on the weak reasoning that the men’s game is more exciting.

There was also the love stories in the film – that’s the one thing that surprised me the most about the film – was that there were three love stories going on: one between Billie Jean and Marilyn, another with Bobby and his wife Priscilla, and the third between Billie Jean and her husband.  Each has their own resolution with only Bobby and Priscilla ending up staying together.

The True Story Behind Billie Jean King's Victorious “Battle of the Sexes” | At the Smithsonian| Smithsonian Magazine

One of the things that made me wonder was how accurate was the portrayal of Bobby Riggs.  Steve Carell does a great job of making him seem like a real human being w/ faults and flaws.  I also wondered how much of this challenge to women’s tennis players was real sexism, a gimmick, a chance to get back into the limelight, a way to feed his gambling hobby, or a combination of all of them.

Your job: Pick three of the questions below and answer them w/ specific examples from the movie. 

  1. How did the film portray the gender wage gap?  Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing?  Why or why not? 
  2. How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn?  Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair?  How have things changed since 1973? 
  3. What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match?  Explain why you reached this conclusion. 
  4. After reading the article on the supposed parallels between the election of 2016 and the film, do you buy the author’s assertion that this was an intentional nod to the election?  Why or why not?  

Due by Tuesday, June 6 by 11:59 p.m.  350 words minimum for all three answers.  

Works Cited: 

Fact vs. Fiction in the movie – http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/09/25/fact_vs_fiction_in_the_movie_battle_of_the_sexes.html

NYT Review – https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/movies/review-battle-of-the-sexes-billie-jean-king-bobby-riggs.html?referrer=google_kp

Wikipedia page on ERA – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Rights_Amendment

Comparison of Battle and 2016 Election – http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2017/09/21/battle_of_the_sexes_reminders_of_the_2016_election.html

True Story behind Billie Jean King’s Victorious “Battle of the Sexes” – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/true-story-behind-billie-jean-king-battle-sexes-180964985/

Posted June 1, 2023 by geoffwickersham in category Blogs

57 thoughts on “Blog #156 – Battle of the Sexes

  1. Jenna Rivera

    1. The wage gap is set as the premise of the movie because the women’s professional tennis team’s prize money is set much lower (Iblevive it is 8% less) than the men’s even though they produce the same amount of sails. Due to this inequality, the women’s tennis division began a boycott. Fighting against this wage gap was the right thing to do because if they don’t fight for change for something so unfair change will never come. By going against the gap they are showing that women are not less than men and they deserve to be treated as such. They are also setting an example for the generations of women to come to not just conform to what society expects of them but fight for equal rights.

    2. The film portrays the love affair as a private thing between Billie Jean and Marilyn. The film only shows them showing real affection toward each other in private (as seen when they hold hand in the elevator but quickly let go when the doors opened) and yet they do share glances at each other when in public. Now however private their relationship might seem many people including Billie Jean’s husband seem to understand that an affair is taking place. With people knowing comes many warnings given to Billie Jean to be careful as if the affair became public it would ruin her tennis carrier because the public would not be acceptable during this time. Times have changed since 1973 and if someone like Billie Jean were in this situation now there is likely that the public would be more understanding but there would still definitely be backlash.

    3. Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for the match is to assert his toxic masculinity. It is clear from his gambling and relationship with his wife that Riggs like to see himself as in charge and you could even say an alfa male. Going against the top women was of proving to himself and in his eyes, the public, that men are better than women. Being older he also wishes to show everyone that he still has talent. I reached this conclusion right after he won his first match because he went how to his wife and was bragging about how good he was, then quickly said he would up the prize money of the match if any other woman would be brave enough to face him. Showing how egotistical he is.

  2. Maggie R Holloway

    How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?
    They showed that the men were more exciting to watch, and used biology as an excuse to pay women less. I think the women tennis players totally did the right thing. Making their own tournament at the same time was absolutely the play, and made a point to the people who wouldn’t let them get equal pay. They went off a whim, not knowing if they’d get paid in the end, but they ended up figuring it out with prize money of seven thousand dollars– more than just the dollar that they started off with.
    How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?
    It started off as casual conversation at a hair parlor, and slowly escalated into dancing and actual love between the two. Then they go up and she has an affair with Marilyn, and they hang out for a while– it was portrayed as something to keep secret. Being any kind of homosexual at the time was frowned upon so much that they could kick you out of any job you had– especially one that had you out in public. Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair for that reason. Things have changed a good bit– you could be public with your sexuality now and probably won’t get fired from your job, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your job and how you perform. There are a few jobs still that you could be fired from for being gay, but for the most part, its nothing like the 1970’s- where you could be killed for being gay.
    What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match? Explain why you reached this conclusion.
    It feels like he wanted to thrill of the gamble again– he wanted to be younger and playing like he was as young as Margaret or Billie Jean. No matter the cost, he wanted to spend the money he had, like a gambler, to feel good about himself– that he beat the number one girl player. That’s what it seemed like, since he even went somewhere to work on his gambling problems. In the end, he didn’t fix his problems, and continued with them in a new way– through that match. It’s difficult to pinpoint it exactly, but he seems very frantic about getting it done, which makes me think that it’s associated with an addiction.

  3. Juno Saulson

    1. The wage gap within the film was portrayed as a kind of common antagonist for those in the sports industry (specifically within the Tennis world). Despite being equally as popular among viewers, the Women’s team was paid and awarded considerably less than their male peers, even though both teams have the same kind of popularity and economic gain. By beginning to boycott this unfair treatment, the women in the Tennis world proved that a change in the way female athletes are paid is necessary for the success of the industry. No players -> no matches -> no money. They proved that women are strong and capable just like their male peers, and that they deserved to be paid and respected as such.

    2. The affair between Billie and Marylin is depicted as it would be at the time: inherently taboo. They love each other so deeply and yet they can’t be open about that kind of love and affection they share with each other due to the homophobia ingrained in the social culture of America in the 1970s. If Billie Jean King were to come out and be open about her relationship with Marylin, it’s highly likely that she would be fired as well as constantly ridiculed and insulted. Being a public figure makes her more susceptible to acceptance, yes, but it also puts an enormous target on her back for any kind of discrimination and degradation from anyone who wants to. King’s husband is fully aware that an affair between the two is happening and provides them with several warnings–to help them understand that if their relationship were to come to light, everything would simply collapse on top of them. Though, times have changed since 1973: anti-discrimination laws prevent an employer from firing someone due to sexual orientation or gender identity (as well as workplace discrimination). But as for the cultural values in America, there have been increasingly extremist ideologies rising among those in power, and by proxy they are spreading to their supporters, creating a wave of anti-LGBT rhetoric in the country. It’s likely that if the pair were around today, they would face prejudice and discrimination from said groups.

    3. Considering that Bobby Riggs was a washed up has-been of a Tennis player, the only conceivable reason for his match against Billie Jean King was to declare and maintain his sense of masculinity: further proving that he’s the best, and is surely better than some woman on the court. He uses this kind of delusional rhetoric to justify his continual insulting comments towards King as well as other Tennis players from her division. He uses his deeply ingrained toxic masculinity as a justification to degrade and insult his wife, treat the women in his life like flat characters with no personality (merely the stereotype of the “emotional woman”), and constantly gamble in faux Tennis matches behind his disapproving wife’s back. He has this deep seated urge to prove how good he is, to prove he’s not some washed up hack, to prove he’s better than “some woman with a racket”.

  4. Enzo Morucci

    1. It portrayed the wage gap in the form of a press release that led to a subsequent confrontation right in the beginning of the movie. This confrontation involved Billie Jean and Gladys Heldman facing off against Jack Kramer and his associate. They threw down every single one of the points that Jack Kramer made, and ended it by saying they would do their own tournament to prove them wrong. I think the movie could have been more creative in portraying the whole conflict at the start, but movie-wise, I think the tennis players definitely did the right thing in making their own tournament. It was a very effective way to garner attention to their cause and advance it.
    2. The film portrayed the relationship, the best way I can describe it is, dreamlike. Most of the shots of both together included some sort of sunset behind, or slowdown of time, sort of making their relationship seem surreal, like it was much, much more than a regular relationship. They couldn’t go public with the relationship because of the time period, for one, because pretty much everyone hated LGBTQ+ people and their entire existence. Another reason was that Billie Jean was already married, so her relationship with Marilyn was an affair, which is very frowned upon then and now. Things have changed now because it’s much easier for LGBTQ+ people to be out, because a much larger majority are open-minded, even though there are still some people that keep the old mindset.
    3. I think that his true motivation for setting up the match was to get through a rough patch he was going through, at least looking from the perspective of the portrayal of him in the movie. I make this assertion based on what was happening in the movie at the time of his challenge. He had just been kicked out of his house for gambling, snapped at a gambler’s anonymous meeting, and the only thing that had brought him any sense of purpose and true fun had been playing tennis against his friends while the other bet on who would win. He was having a midlife crisis, and the only way he saw of getting out of it was tennis, and the only thing that would give him the attention he wanted was playing in the major event occurring at the time, the women’s tournament, or more specifically, playing the winner. After the first game, he became drunk with glory at having won the game so late in life, and kept going as far as the wave would take him.

  5. antonia p

    1. At the beginning of the movie, Billie Jean King finds out the men are paid 8 times more for the tournaments so she then sets up her own. I think the women tennis players did the right thing because if they really didn’t stand up for their pay, then who would have?
    2. The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn as true love as from all their scenes together you could see that they were madly in love. Though she was hiding the relationship her fellow players and husband could tell there was something more going on between them. Billie Jean couldn’t go public with her relationship because of the immense homophobia worldwide. She was also, at the time, married. If she did come out then she would probably lose her tennis career. Since then you are free to date/marry whoever while playing a sport, but there will probably still be some sort of homophobia from closed-minded people.
    3. I think he really just wanted to show his wife that he could make money without gambling. The matches also felt like a way for him to make a fool of women as, up until Billie Jean, he had won every match against a woman. He also reached a very anti-feminist news commentator that was well known to make snarly comments about women. He also stated before the match that the match was “for all the men that feel the same way”. Stating that he felt men were oppressed and he needed to win the match to prove their strength when it was the other way around. I came to this conclusion after he first reached out to Margaret Court to do the match. She had recently given birth and her son was still quite young but agreed to the match mainly because her husband was “friends” with Bobby Riggs and they gave him a job to babysit since his wife kicked him out. Nearing the beginning of the second game it also showed how he underestimated her and didn’t think Billie Jan would actually win the match.

  6. Sofia Marx

    1. The film portrays the wage gap as a massive form of disrespect and a statement that women are biologically less than men. The man in charge of the tournament outright stated that women were less entertaining, less competitive, slower, and weaker than men, even though they sold the same amount of tickets. This idea that women are inherently inferior to men was used as reasoning to pay women less than 13% of what the men were making. The women tennis players definitely did the right thing. They deserved more, and they decided that they wouldn’t take that immense level of economic discrimination. By putting on their own tournament, they were eventually able to show that women deserve the same funding and pay as men, and it was brave of them to take an action that would leave such a positive and long-lasting impact. If they had decided not to take those actions, then all of the positive change that resulted from the separate tournament wouldn’t have occurred. They fought for what they believed in and it paid off. They earned respect.

    2. The film portrays this affair as a result of a close relationship formed between the two tennis players, as well as a socially unacceptable occurrence during this time. At the same time, it’s portrayed as a betrayal to Billie Jean’s husband. Despite this, it still represents something positive throughout the film. This affair is a significant part of the movie that develops throughout the entirety of the movie. The reason Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair is that they risked losing funding for Billie Jean’s tennis tournament. If the affair was to go public, that funding would go away because of how socially unacceptable said affair was. It would cause all of the sponsors to withdraw funding. Things have changed since 1973 in a few different ways. First of all, obviously, there have been some positive changes regarding publicly being out. In 1973, coming out as gay would have significant negative impacts on one’s public image. As shown in the film, whether it be withdrawn funding or ostracization, many different challenges came with being out. Today, these challenges still exist, and it would be a false statement to claim that bigotry doesn’t still impact gay people to a large extent. However, socially, significant changes have been made, and it’s much more likely for people to be accepted than it was back then. At the same time, sometimes this can lead to tokenization with the intent for certain organizations to make more money. Overall though, things have improved.

    3. Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for the match was to utilize it to prove that men are superior to women. He wanted the tournament to end with Billie Jean being forced to play him, and he wanted to beat Billie Jean to show the world how “inferior” women really are, although he failed. Following a win, Riggs outright stated that the results confirmed men to be above women, and from the start, this is an open belief he’s held. In addition, as the movie goes on, his opinions become more and more blatant, and he hides his motivation less and less. Even before the match, he felt forced to comment on the idea that men are just better than women.

  7. Will Dabish

    1. The film showed the pay gap as being massive. Even though women’s tennis was massive, their pay was 8x worse than the male tennis players’ pay. The women definitely did the right thing; change doesn’t happen by staying stagnant. The executives at the league they were in were not going to have a change of mind without some serious convincing. They were sexist to their core, and nothing would change that. If they were to simply keep playing, whether they protested or not, they would’ve been complacent. Even if they were to go on strike or stop playing, the league simply would’ve continued on with the male division; it wouldn’t have seriously affected them in the long run. Creating their own league may have been a little rash, but the end result ended up working quite well for them.
    2. The relationship between Billie Jean and Marilyn was shown to be incredibly important to Billie. It wasn’t a simple affair; it had a large impact on her tennis and her life. She couldn’t go public with the relationship for a few reasons. Being lesbian (or LGBTQ+ in general) at that time was incredibly frowned upon, and her reputation as a public figure would’ve been destroyed over it. She was also still married, which would’ve been even worse for her if she were to not only be gay but be cheating on her spouse.
    3. Riggs’ real motivation for the match was to feed his own ego. It was clear throughout the film that Riggs was a deeply troubled person, and being past his prime clearly affected him. He picked what he thought would be an easy target, and doubled down on his misogynistic behavior. He hid his true intentions behind the idea of “the battle of the sexes”. It also would’ve given him a large sum of money, which he probably would’ve used to gamble away into nothing. Bobby was a pretty selfish person throughout the film, so winning this match would’ve both given him the validation he so dearly wanted and given him money to go waste gambling.

  8. Samantha Jacobs

    1. How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?
    The film demonstrates the gender wage gap right off the bat. The movie opened with “negotiations” about increasing female wages in tennis. However, it was stricken down and practically laughed at by the men they were meeting with. I don’t know if they did the right thing. As a woman, It’s expected for me to say that they absolutely did. You have to stand up for yourself and fight for what’s right. However, as someone with high aspirations, I know that I probably would not have made the same choice. You have to think about whether the benefits outweigh the risks. If they had failed to create their own “league”, for lack of a better word, their carers as professional tennis players would likely have been over. However, if they succeeded (as they did), they would have had the opportunity to show the entire world that women are equal to men, and they deserve to be treated as such. I don’t know if I could make the same choice that they did, knowing that what I’d worked for my entire life might be over. However, they were happy with their choice because they made the right choice for themselves. So, yes, I do think the women tennis players did the right thing.

    2. How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?
    Billie Jean could not have “revealed her secret” without getting enormous backlash, likely destroying her career. Society in the early 70s was very misogynistic. While they had been a part of the working world for some time then, women were still often thought of as happy housewives who clean and cook dinner for their husbands each day. (Emphasis on the husbands.) The idea that a woman was supposed to marry a man and that they would remain together for life, was still largely prevalent. (Society was largely homophobic and stuck in restrictive mindsets.) Nowadays, these ideas are still ingrained in our society. While there are still many people who support them religiously, much of society opposes them. There is open resistance to them. Different gender identities and sexualities are accepted. People can marry whomever they want. Most married people go through divorce. The things that would have made people balk in astonishment and outrage in Billie Jean’s time, often aren’t even noticed anymore.

    3. What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match? Explain why you reached this conclusion.
    Bobby Riggs was a misogynistic jerk. He was also old (55). While many people would say “that’s not old! You’re old when you’re 70!” However, in sports, 55 is old. Really old. In sports, once you reach a certain age, an age that Bobby Riggs had definitely surpassed, you’re out. You can’t keep up with the competition, you’re aged out of the program, people talk about you less, etc. I believe that Bobby was afraid of fading, so he tried to use the momentum of and popularity of the movement that the women tennis players had created, to remain in the limelight.

  9. Giovanni Baldini

    1. The film portrayed the gender wage gap in a few ways. First of all, the female players clearly state throughout the movie how women are paid a fraction of the amount that men get paid, even when they raise the same amount of money from viewers. They argue for the ability to get the same benefits and prizes that men get, but they just get an avoiding response where they either ignore the topic or state that they can’t afford to pay both men and women equally. Another way we can see the gender wage gap is Bobby’s house and wife. He is living extremely lavishly, almost as much as a celebrity, and got his own fancy car. He has a lovely house with a nice wife and 2 sons. Billie, on the other hand, really was just living in normal, middle-class apartments, and was eating and normal cafes. She didn’t really get recognized throughout the movie, despite being literally better than the male counterpart who is drowning in wealth and has a decent amount of fame.
    2. The film portrayed the relationship as almost a tragedy. Partly because Billie didn’t want to divorce Larry for Marilyn, but mainly because Billie’s love for her couldn’t be accepted. They were very avoidant of each other after Larry became an issue between the two of them, but they clearly still liked each other. So, the film portrays this tragedy of how they couldn’t have gotten together almost as a somber tragedy, where a potential relationship went to waste. Jean couldn’t go public with the affair because the homophobia at that time especially was extremely high. Being a woman sports player was already hard enough and was discriminated by many men and even women, but being a lesbian sports player would’ve made things ten times harder, and she would’ve lost many supporters. Things definitely have changed since 1973. For sports, television, and things like that, homophobia has definitely been reduced. Obviously, things aren’t perfect, and there are definitely many people who aren’t ok with homosexuality, but it wasn’t as bad in 1973. In politics, however, things are basically the same. A large percentage of people definitely wouldn’t be comfortable with a homosexual president or congressman, mainly conservatives. A homosexual politician would definitely be hated and slashed publicly by many.
    3. Riggs’ true motivation was definitely just for fame. He obviously wasn’t a feminist, and was a bit misogynistic, because anybody who runs around with male chauvinist signs and screams women belong in the kitchen and bedroom isn’t good, but I don’t think his main intention was to put women down and make them lower, but to get a last glimpse of fame. He was in his mid-50s, and his skill was definitely not going to keep shining bright for so long. So, in a last-ditch effort, he tries to face a bunch of women to get the support of misogynists for a last chunk of fame. We can see this with all of the cocky outfits, quirky interviews and photos, and strange obscene photos. All of these things show how he was trying to maximize the amount of attention he was getting as much as possible so he could get a lot of attention.

  10. Lindsay kennedy

    1.In the film Billie Jean consistently shows frustration towards the wage gap.The prize money for tournaments was disproportionate between women and men. Men got way more money than women players did.The wage gap was only one of the ways women were at a disadvantage compared to men. The women tennis players were just as angry as Billie Jean and engaged in boycotts and raised awareness for the inequality women experiences. These women did the right thing fighting for their rights, and their fight went beyond the tennis courts.
    2.The movie portrays Billie Jean and Marilyn’s relationship as bittersweet. These women obviously have a connection and very deep genuine feelings for eachother but due to the circumstances they cannot act on their feelings. Billie Jean’s career is too important to her to jeopardize it. Her romantic relationship with Marylin would attract a lot of push-back and hate. Billy Jane is already fighting against sexism in her career being a women’s tennis player, added criticism would simply be too much. Billie Jean is also symbolic to women across America. Women are inspired by Billie Jean and look up to her, if she can do it so can they. Today society has become accepting of LGBTQ relationships and the pushback isn’t nearly what it was in 1973. For example many famous people have openly shared their sexuality, encouraging others and normalizing it.
    3.Its painfully obvious Bobbys motivation was fueled by proving mens suppository and in his own self interest. Bobby has a nonchalant attitude when it comes to playing against Billie Jean because of his previous victory against Marget. In interviews with Billie Jean and Bobby Riggs he has a careless attitude not seeing Billie Jean as real competition.In part because of his status as an athlete, but also his gender. His status as a successful tennis player boosts his ego. However his career is fading, which is also why he’s so motivated to win the match against Billie Jean. The whole Match revives Bobby Riggs career, giving him the attention and most importantly money he’s so desperate for. Bobby sees this match as the perfect opportunity to get money to maintain his lavish lifestyle he can no longer afford.

  11. Addison Wolfe

    1. In the movie, the wage gap between the women and men was shown through how much prize money they would potentially win. Even though the women in it produced a very similar amount of sales as the men, they still had to face this awful issue of being shown as less than through their prize amount. The women chose to boycott this gap because they believed it was completely unfair how they were being portrayed. I think that this boycott was the right thing to do because it is so horrible how the women have to try harder than the men to succeed in their lives, but still don’t get the same results. By them doing this, they were some of the first to fight against this gap and set a precedent for many more generations of women to come who would fight for their equal pay and rights.
    2. The love affair between Billy Jean and Marilyn was portrayed as a very secret and private part of the movie. They were never romantic in public and acted like they hardly knew each other when they were around other people. Billy Jean told everyone that Marilyn was just her hairdresser and that she was irrelevant to her love life. If Billy Jean had gone public with their relationship, she would have potentially lost all of her sponsorships for tennis and would loose so many of her supporters as well. Nowadays, there are so many different types of relationships, and even though it is still challenging for some to go public with these relationships (and face major difficulty once they are public), they are supported way more than Billy Jean and Marilyn were in the film.
    3. I think Bobby’s main purpose in participating in the matches was just to prove that he was better than all of the other women who played tennis. He didn’t want to be looked at as weak or in a bad way because of his gambling issues, so he wanted to do something that he knew he had a good chance at winning. In his case, this was playing tennis. And since he didn’t know if he would beat all of the new men players, by playing the best women he would be looked at as this amazing player once he beat them.

  12. Ashton Denys

    Well obviously given the fact that Billie Jean was such a strong supporter of the women’s rights movement, it’s no wonder that the gender pay gap was an important aspect of the film. Well the pay gap may have not been directly mentioned in the film towards the end, in the beginning it was very prevalent. For example, the entire movie basically got started with the fact that the tennis association which Jack Kramer didn’t want to pay the women tournament winners the same as the men. This caused Jean to leave the league and create one of her own. And well such blatant examples of the gender pay gap didn’t come up as often, the main idea of the gender pay gap, that being men are better and therefore deserve more, is pretty much what the entire movie is over. The entire “battle of the sexes” match was basically about justifying the gender pay gap where Bobby wanted to show that men should get paid more by beating King and vice versa.

    Billie Jean really didn’t have a choice but to hide the fact. If it’d gotten out that she had been with Marilyn she could’ve not only lost her entire tennis career, but also her platform which she used to promote her ideas of women’s equality. Not to mention she probably thought her husband would leave her and her family would ostracize her. Before 1973, being gay was still seen as a mental illness and even after it was seen as a negative. Compared to today where I’m writing this, during a month we have dubbed pride month where it is more widely accepted than ever and pride flags are commonplace on the streets. That’s not to say that things are perfect now but I fully believe that if Billie Jean was playing today that she would be fully free to express herself without having to worry too much about any negative repercussions. Not that there should be any repercussions, even small ones, but I digress.

    I think for Bobby the match was more about staying relevant. Obviously Bobby was a big showman, turning the entire match into a show. He dressed up, had other people dress up, and played half the game in a goofy sweatshirt jacket thing. Well it may seem like he really wanted to win to prove men were better, and maybe he did, I think his main focus was staying relevant and being a showman. I mean he was nearing 60, his glory days of tennis were over, and he had a gambling addiction and marital issues. I mean we see him call Bobby to try and get her to agree to the match after his wife catches him gambling and he was maybe a little drunk. I mean from what I saw it seemed that at least the first half of the televised event was all hype and entertainment with the players being brought out on thrones and exchanging gifts, well the second half got a little more tennis, expressly when Bobby started losing. Even the things that Bobby was saying in the interviews seemed a little inflammatory and meant to hype up the match, weather he believed them or not.

  13. Lauren M

    1. In the film, the gender wage gap was prominent throughout and was actually a major inciting issue of the film. There were many reasons that Billie Jean King and the other female tennis players decided to leave the tennis association and start their own circuit, but the main reason was that the prize money for their upcoming tournament was nearly the 8th that of the men’s tournament, despite equal ticket revenue. The wage gap later expanded to be just one of the inequalities involved with the battle of the sexes. I believe that Billie Jean and the other players did right in leaving. They started by confronting and discussing the problem with the people in charge, and when that didn’t work, they left. In my opinion, this is really the only way to create the change they wanted and needed.

    2. Instead of portraying Billie Jeans’ story as a love triangle, the movie does well in highlighting the relationship between Billie Jean and Marilyn and depicting her husband in no romantic light, reflecting the lack of love Billie Jean feels for him to the audience. Billie Jean was unable to publicly express her relationship for several reasons. Firstly it wasn’t safe or viable to be “out” at the time. Secondly, Billie had become a figure for feminism and she held a responsibility to not be too “outlandish” otherwise men in her field and the public would be far less likely to support her and what she represented. She had a responsibility to show that women were “good” and married and wouldn’t be changing the status quo by receiving equal pay/opportunity.

    3. I believe that Bobby Riggs was playing to prove himself to himself and his wife. He wanted to prove that as a man, he was capable and in charge of himself and his family. He wanted to show himself and his wife that men were inherently superior and he was not only in charge but doing the right thing. We see a lot of backstory for Riggs, and even though he is framed as an enemy of the protagonist (and a rather annoying person) he is not framed as a villain. They go in-depth into his backstory to humanize him and really define his motivations as rooted in his marriage and his family.

  14. Isabella G Ruggirello

    1. In the movie, the wage gap is portrayed as the main theme. The women’s tennis team made much less money than the men’s, and the prize money was set much lower for the women. This caused a boycott from the women’s team. I believe it was the right thing to do when they fought for what they believed in. They had to fight for what they believed in, or else it might never happen. When they fought for equal pay, they were able to prove that they were just as good as men, not just at tennis, but in general, at everything. Equal pay was necessary for the country at that point, not just for equality, but for the economy too, and even to this day it’s still important. It’s funny how things from years prior still affect us. By proceeding with the boycott, they appealed to many people, and they still do to this day. It’s an important lesson to always fight for what you believe in, no matter what people think.
    2. In the 70s, it was impossible to display anything near a same-sex relationship, and that made it incredibly difficult for Billie Jean and Marilyn. They met at a hair salon, and nothing seemed to go on until Billie Jean had an affair with Marilyn. Being homosexual in the 70s was frowned upon, and you could be fired from your job, and constantly harassed. Billie Jean’s husband knew about the affair and from behind the scenes, helps them stay away from any issues, such as harassment and discrimination. Since the 70s, things have changed a lot, and people can be open about their sexual orientation, but that doesn’t stop certain people from attacking others. There were laws put in to make it so employers can’t fire someone due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
    3. It seemed the only point of the Tennis match between Billie Jean and Bobby Riggs was to prove Bobbys’ masculinity, and that he could still compete better than a woman. It’s very apparent he uses the “women are too emotional” logic and chooses to play fake matches(gambling matches) behind his wife’s back. He’s also terrible to his wife, and openly insults her, further proving he just sucks. All Bobby cares about is proving he’s better than women in everything, which is just annoying, but it’s just what happened back then, and there was very little anyone could do about it.

  15. Ireland K.

    1.) How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?

    I think the film the Battle of the Sexes helps bring light to the inequality and sexism that women faced at the time. The film is mainly about Billy Jean, a female athlete who was well known as a tennis star. The story takes place during the 1970s, which was a critical time in the fight for equal pay between males and females, especially for athletes. During the film the main motivation from Billy Jean is her advocacy for women’s tennis prize money to be equal to a men’s. Overall I think that the women tennis players did the right thing because the match happened to be one of the most watched sporting events of all time and it became a source of inspiration for young women to fight for themselves and their rights.

    2.) How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?

    The film is about Billie Jean King who is considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Within the film Marilyn is Billie Jean’s hairdresser but also her secret lover. Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair because she had a husband and the scrutiny she would receive about being gay at the time. During and before the 1970s, homosexuality was still criminalized. During this time many of Billie Jean’s close friends discouraged her from coming out, especially due to her rise of fame and booming career and how being gay would affect this. Gladly things have changed since the 1970s! Some examples of this would include the changes that occurred in the years 2010 and 2015. In 2010, the U.S. Senate voted to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. This allowing people of the LGBTQIA+ community to serve openly in the military. In 2015, the case Obergefell v. Hodges gave further decisions on the rights of people of the LGBTQIA+ community. The U.S. Supreme Court, through this case, declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.

    4.) After reading the article on the supposed parallels between the election of 2016 and the film, do you buy the author’s assertion that this was an intentional nod to the election? Why or why not?

    Like Billy Jean, Hillary Clinton was a very talented and experienced woman within her specialty. But unlike Billie Jean, Clinton did not not triumph over Trump, who is often called a clown. Billie Jean won against Bobby Riggs in a tennis match in 1973. But Hilary Clinton lost to Donald Trump in the run for presidency in 2016. Both women sought to help fight for equality and against discrimination, during their time. I think that there were certainly similarities in the themes of gender equality and breaking down barriers within the article. I am not sure if the filmmakers intended to make a direct reference to Hilary Clinton and the election but I thought it was an interesting contrast.

  16. Miller Mann

    The Film showed a gender wage gap that was highly unfair, because, mainly it made no sense. This wage gap is normal in sports, but that is commonly because the men’s sports bring in more money, but in this case, both sports brought in the same amount. The Women’s tournament champ made much less money upon winning when compared to the male winner, which again, made no sense, as they both pulled in the same amount of viewers. The women in this movie, specifically King, did not agree with this at all, rightly so. Something had to be done about this blatant sexism/chauvinism, and they did just that. Having a pay gap that makes no sense for the company is simply sexist as there is no point, and was only done because the elites that owned the company wanted it, so the women were 100% right.

    Billie Jean and Marilyn had a lesbian love affair, which as the time was 1973, was not publicly acceptable. The Film showed it in a negative way, which is right in the sense that they were cheating on their partners, but their homosexuality was condemned from the start. This Affair, if released, could have had major consequences for the careers of both women, possibly putting them out of jobs. The not so secret homophobia of the times would result in someone being anything from fired, to beaten. Another reason that they couldn’t go public was that it was an affair at all, Marilyn was married, and cheated on her husband, which if public would have given her even more backlash. Since then, while people that are homophobic do still exist, laws and the popular culture of the US, have made the LGBTQ+ community much more accepted. Discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, showing great strides from 1973.

    Initially I thought that Bobby Riggs wanted to play in these matches in order to “win” back his wife, as they had clearly been separated against his wishes. But after watching, that was certainly not the case, Bobby wanted to play in this match so that he could prove the “superiority” of men over women. At least in the movie, Bobby was a showman, gambling Addict, and a chauvinist. Bobby wanted to prove the overwhelming superiority of the men’s game compared to the women’s game, of course he was proven wrong. Throughout the entirety of the movie leading to the big match, Billie repeatedly called Bobby a chauvinist, even giving him a pig at the match in order to get a final dig at him. Bobby had no real reason to try to win all these matches, since he was far too old to be playing anyway, making the only obvious reason, his sexism.

  17. Titus Smith

    1. The movie sets the premise around the wage gap, specifically focusing on the women’s professional tennis team, whose prize money is significantly lower than that of the men’s, despite both producing the same level of success. This inequality leads to the women’s tennis division initiating a boycott, as they recognize the necessity of fighting against such unfair treatment. Taking a stand against the wage gap is crucial because without actively seeking change for injustice, it is unlikely to ever occur. By challenging the gap, they affirm that women are not inferior to men and should be treated equally. Moreover, they serve as role models for future generations of women, encouraging them to defy societal expectations and fight for their rights to equality.
    2. the love affair between Billie Jean King and Marilyn Barnett emphasizes their emotional connection and the obstacles they faced due to societal and personal circumstances. Billie Jean King was married to Larry, struggling with her sexual orientation and the pressures placed on her as a public figure. Marilyn Barnett became her romantic partner. However, Billie Jean couldn’t disclose their affair due to the potential consequences it could have on her personal life and career. In the 1970s, homosexuality carried a significant stigma, with the public coming out risking negative media attention, loss of endorsements, and potential exclusion from the tennis world. Since those events in 1973, progress has been made in LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance. Society has become more open and inclusive, with public figures embracing their LGBTQ+ identities becoming more common. LGBTQ+ individuals now have greater visibility, support networks, and a wider understanding and acceptance of diverse sexual orientations. I
    3. Bobby Riggs, a former and faded tennis player, seems to engage in a match against Billie Jean King solely to assert and uphold his sense of masculinity. His primary motive appears to be proving his superiority and demonstrating that he is superior to any woman on the court. Riggs utilizes delusional rhetoric to justify his continuous disrespectful remarks towards King and other female tennis players in her division. This toxic masculinity deeply ingrained in him also becomes a justification for degrading and insulting his wife, treating women in his life as one-dimensional characters devoid of personality, merely conforming to the stereotype of the “emotional woman.” Additionally, he persistently engages in gambling during staged tennis matches without the knowledge of his disapproving wife. Riggs harbors a profound and innate desire to validate his skills, dispel the notion of being a washed-up has-been, and establish his superiority over King.

  18. Jackson Mush

    1. Though women’s and men’s tennis were selling the same amount and having similar viewership, the women were paid significantly less. This massive wage gap sets up the plot of the movie because it causes Billie Jean King and her team to split away from their former tennis association. They boycotted the tennis association by not playing in their tournaments but instead hosting their own. Billie Jean King and her team did the right thing because they paved the way for gender equality in tennis. If Billie Jean King had chosen to accept the lesser amount of prize money, the cycle of gender inequality in sports would have continued. By starting her own association, The women’s tennis association, professional women players today properly earn what the women years ago weren’t able to.
    2. The movie portrays BJK and Marilyn’s love affair as a very secretive and private relationship. Because Billie Jean King is so involved with tennis, she only gets to see Marylin on certain occasions for a little while. Homophobia was definitely the main reason why the two couldn’t go public and also the fact that Billie Jean King was already so popular that her career could possibly be ruined. Being gay during this time period was certainly frowned upon and disgraceful to many people and if word got out about the two’s relationship, it could be potentially harmful to both of them. Since 1973 till today, fortunately being openly gay is a lot more accepting. Though not everyone agrees with it, many famous athletes and famous people in general are publicly gay and don’t face the harsh backlash that famous people would back in the 70’s.
    3. I think Bobby Riggs had a few reasons for doing this match including his sexist beliefs, his gambling addiction and a chance to be famous again. First off, Bobby Riggs had been making very sexist statements throughout the entire movie by saying things such as no woman could ever beat him in tennis. He took this so far as to offer a match with large prize money to any woman who could beat him. Bobby believed that men were naturally superior to women so he openly challenged anyone to face him. Secondly Bobby had a huge gambling addiction and by putting a massive wager on a match is another way to express that gambling addiction. Finally Bobby had been off the tennis scene for a while so I believe he wanted to be back in the spotlight by challenging all these women to televised wagered matches.

  19. Ryan Cifolelli

    1. How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?

    At the beginning of the movie, it showed how the women tennis players were fighting to get paid equal salaries compared to the men tennis players already. In the beginning of the movie, it showed how the men didn’t care about giving equal pay to any of the women’s tennis players. The movie kind of portrayed the wage gap as natural law at least between the men because they weren’t willing to give the women any equality at all. The men had to keep forming random excuses in order to justify their thinking which wasn’t true and they came up with the answer that women’s tennis wasn’t as exciting. Yes, I think they did the right thing by threatening to boycott the Grand Slam Tennis Tournament. When the women’s players heard that the women would not be receiving the same amount as prize money they got really made. They heard that they would be making eight times less than the men’s tennis champion. I think they did the right thing by threatening to boycott the tournament because they weren’t being treated equally. They weren’t being given respect so why should they have to play in my opinion.

    2. How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?

    The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn as a very secretive thing. When Marilyn first met Billie Jean there was immediately a connection between them and the film portrayed them as very secretive. Throughout the film, Billie Jean was trying to hide her love affair from her husband while still trying to become the best female tennis player. Next, Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair. During this time, coming out as having an affair with another person of the same sex was really frowned upon. In the movie, Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair because she was scared of being heavily criticized by the media and the public. Back then if you were caught having a same sex marriage many people would treat you horrible so Billie Jean couldn’t come out with the affair in fear that people would heavily judge her. Lastly, things have majorly changed since 1973. Today, many people are open to being any gender that they choose with a lot less judgment than there was back then. Even though a select few people don’t agree with same sex marriages a majority of the public is supportive of it and will not discriminate against people who are in one. Our society has changed a lot as it is a lot more open and accepting.

    3. What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match? Explain why you reached this conclusion.

    I think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for the match was to get publicity and show that he is still on top of the tennis world. When Billie Jean and Bobby Riggs were deciding the details of the game, Billy Jean went into Jack Kramer’s office. She was trying to convince Jack Kramer that she would not play the match against Bobby Riggs if Jack Kramer was going to be an announcer. At this time she also said that Bobby Riggs wasn’t playing the match because he disliked women, but because he was just putting in an act to get attention. I think that Bobby Riggs was only trying to play these matches so he could draw more attention to himself. I got to this conclusion because throughout the whole movie he never treated any women badly. He was always kind to them and after he lost to Billie Jean he gave her respect. I got to the conclusion he did it all for attention because he was saying things just to make the tennis match the biggest event ever. Throughout the movie Bobby Riggs was constantly seeking attention whether it was from his wife or son. In my opinion this was no different and he played all these matches just for show so he could get his name back out there in the tennis world trying to show why he is the best.

  20. Christina Jones

    1.the gender wage was a very large gap between how men and women were paid when it came to tennis, like in the tournaments the men would be paid more to play than the women, which was extremely common during that time. I do think that the women did the right thing with making their own tournaments, because they weren’t going to accept having minimum wage and being treated as lower than men- that was literally the point of the whole movie.

    2. The love affair between Billie Jean King and Marilyn was portrayed in the film as very whimsical, as if they were both in awe of each other, and it was portrayed as more sacred than Billie Jean and Larry’s relationship. An example of this was how close the camera would be on their faces whenever they were together, because they noticed everything about each other, and because it was secret and nobody could know about it, they were more careful and quiet. Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair because homosexual relationships were shunned at that time, and people always would stay in the closet in fear of that public humiliation, and if her relationship with Marilyn went public, then she wouldn’t be able to compete in tennis like she was, and all her sponsorships would go out of the window- nobody would sponsor her anymore if they knew that she was gay. Things have changed because nowadays, homosexuality is more commonly talked about and accepted, and nobody would’ve changed their sponsorships.

    3. I think he might have done it to prove something to his wife, that he was worth it and young and spry enough and that one day, everything would pay off. I don’t think he did it because he really was as sexist as he was making himself out to be. But I do think that he wanted to assert and prove his masculinity, that’s why he was making himself out to be so sexist and portraying himself as ‘better’ than women. He’s trying to prove it to his wife and to himself, that he’s still better than everyone else, as he was when he was young.

  21. Camryn J

    2. The film portrays the love affair between Billie Jean King and Marilyn as very secretive, and even dangerous for Billie to be engaging in. The 1970s were not a safe time for people who weren’t heterosexual to live their lives safely and with the same rights as others. Marilyn and Billie Jean King only have romantic encounters in private. Billie’s sexuality along with her marital statues made it extremely difficult to be with who she truly loved. The film portrays Marilyn as “the girl Billie can’t have” and rather fantasy-like, due to the time and circumstances.

    3. I think that Bobby Riggs viewed the tennis match as an opportunity to fuel his own ego, rather than anything else. His actions leading up to the match against Billie Jean King reflected his own toxic masculinity and self obsession, beyond his belief that men are better than women. Bobby Riggs’ was very hesitant to take off the sponsored Sugar Daddy jacket he was wearing, even though it could have been affecting his play in the match. Additionally his photo shoots and comments prior to the match were made to put him on a pedestal rather than share his belief of male superiority. I think Riggs saw having Billie Jean King as an opponent as an opportunity to be the center of public attention and prove himself, to himself and others, as an older player.

    4. I don’t deny that the film has plenty of parallels to the 2016 election between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. I think the directors wanted to reflect the several forms of discrimination and challenges women face, and that lends itself to have some connections to the 2016 election. Overall, I think the movie paints a broader picture of the attacks women face but not a direct jab at the 2016 election. Some of the examples the author includes, such as: King training while riggs cut corners, Riggs suggests King will group out from the flu, and Riggs claiming his sexist words aren’t serious, act as general behavior from misogynistic men rather than specific nods to 2016.

  22. Zach S

    1. The gender wage gap was shown as the primary hardship that female tennis players face. Not only did it drastically reduce their income, it made those athletes feel lesser than men. Because of these things, those tennis players made the right decision. This is confirmed by the fact that in 1973, the US Open, one of the four biggest tennis tournaments in the world, adopted equal pay for men and women. Billie Jean King was instrumental in this, and by leaving the LTA and creating the WTA, a tennis association that is currently one of the biggest, she showed the tennis world that women are to be taken just as seriously as men. If it were not for her and other female players demanding equal pay, it might have been many more years until equal pay was achieved. Because of these things, those women tennis players definitely made the right decision.

    2. The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn as a forbidden relationship, that for the good of Billie Jean’s career, cannot exist. If the affair were to be revealed to the public, Billie Jean’s public image would be smeared, and, as she was the face of women’s tennis, her goal of equal pay for women would become even farther away. Since the idea of lgbtq relationships was extremely radical at this time, and Billie Jean had a husband during the time of the affair, Billie Jean would be vilified if the affair was made public. Things have changed since 1973 in the sense that society has become much more accepting of lgbtq relationships. If a female tennis player were to come out as lesbian, they wouldn’t face nearly as much backlash.

    3. I think that Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for the match was his greed. As we have seen throughout the movie, Bobby will never turn down the chance to make some money. In fact, the whole event can be attributed to Bobby’s admirable passion for the hobby of gambling. Bobby couldn’t resist the thought of money, even if it meant going up against one of the world’s greatest tennis players. However, I believe Bobby had several other lesser motivations for the match, namely his massive ego and his misogynistic beliefs. Bobby’s ego, although purposefully overdone for the cameras, is huge. As an aging tennis player, he wanted to prove to himself that he can still compete at a high level. Lastly, Bobby likely has some misogynistic beliefs. Although we know that the majority of his misogyny was done up to draw publicity to the event, it is clear that he truly believes that he is better than the best female tennis player, simply because he is a man. If this weren’t the case, he would never have suggested the match to Billie Jean.

  23. kaylin arthur

    Question 1: The film portrayed the gender wage gap by showing the women’s professional tennis prize money is much less than the men’s prize money, even though they play the same amount. As a way to justify the unequal pay, they used biology as an excuse, saying the men were more entertaining and better to watch. They tried to use this to take popularity away from the women to put it on the men.I think the women in this situation did the right thing because they showed how essential women are to the success of the sports industry, and how essential it is for them to be paid equally. By doing this, they proved they are equally as strong and equally as capable of playing as their male peers, and deserve to be paid the same.

    Question 2: This film shows Billie Jean and Marilyn’s relationship as something that is kept a secret, and they can only show affection in private. For example, when they were riding in the elevator and holding hands, but as soon as the door began to open, they stopped immediately. If Billie Jean King were to be open about her relationship with Marilyn, she would face lots of backlash. She is a women’s sports player, and already faces discrimination within the sports industry. She would likely be fired from this job and be insulted and shut out from society. I think many things have changed since 1973, such as anti-discrimination laws that prevent people from being denied jobs or fired from jobs simply based on sexual orientation. It is much more likely to be accepted by people in society today than it was 50 years ago.

    Question 3: I think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for this match is to try to further prove that men are better at sports than women, and that women do not belong in this industry. He wanted to end the match by playing Billie Jean and beating her to prove that women are inferior to men. He wanted to make himself look better to the public. I reached this conclusion when he won his very first match and went to his wife saying that if any other woman was bold enough to face him, he would raise the prize money, and make himself look like a better player.

  24. Noel Borgquist

    1. The Film portrays the gender wage gap through the refusal of Jack Kramer and his Tennis organization to pay the women anywhere near the same amount as the men’s professional team. In order to combat this, the women signed with a different contracting agency, and were thus kicked out of the tennis organization that oversaw the majority of the Tennis players in the US. This showed the stubborn nature of men like Jack Kramer and other old-world-minded individuals who refused to make any attempts to compensate the women’s teams who had been shorted on pay, despite their talents. I think that the tennis players did the right thing. If they were to have taken a more peaceful and “cooperative” approach, it was likely that they would not have made the same strides they made in their own individual pursuits. To go off on their own, and make a larger press hearing announcing their departure from the organization, the women’s tennis team was able to draw attention to their goal, and have many people rally around them in their journey to reach equality in the sports scene.

    2.The film portrayed Billie Jean and Marilyn to be very close. The two spent a lot of time together, and the film focused very heavily on the relationship between Billie Jean and Marilyn, as well as its effects on her relationship with her husband. Billie Jean couldn’t go public with the affair because it was the 1970s. Homophobia was still the public norm, and many people were terrified of the idea of a large public figure possibly liking a different gender than what was deemed socially acceptable. So, if Billie Jean were to have come out with the affair earlier in her life, it would have been very likely that her career and reputation would have been irreparably damaged. Furthermore, one could argue that had Billie Jean gone public with the affair when it did occur, it would only have given more ammunition for men like Bobby Riggs to fire off about women in the public eye. However, it has now been almost exactly 50 years since the Battle of the Sexes took place in the real world, and the world has changed a lot in that time. Nowadays, the majority of sane society is accepting to LGBTQIA+ individuals, and works to accept people who want to live their own lives the way that they want to. Lesbian relationships like that of Billie Jean King and Marilyn Barnett are accepted in our modern society. However, the world isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, as there are still many people across the world who deem homosexuality to be immoral, and many governments criminalize it. Despite the monumental strides that have been made in the ways of advancing acceptance of members of the LGBTQIA+ members, many use religion as an excuse to persecute and carry out acts of hatred against LGBTQIA+ members, despite there being many verses in books of religion that preach the idea of love thy neighbor. However, the shocking fact is that there isn’t a stipulation in the Love Thy Neighbor clause that says, “unless they are gay”. Overall, we still have a long way to go, and progress still to come.

    3.I think that Bobby Riggs had a dual faceted motivation to participate in the match. I think that he wanted to get back into the tennis space, and also wanted to stick it to the women that were succeeding in the league by beating them, in what he thought would be an easy battle. I believe that this is a deeply rooted insecurity that was linked to his chauvinist beliefs. He believed that the male tennis scene was far superior to the women’s scene, and he wanted to reaffirm his predisposed biases as a bigot. Another factor is his clear superiority complex, as he was a rampant trash talker who loved to be petty. I also read online that there was a possibility that Bobby Riggs may have accrued quite the large gambling debt with mobsters, and perhaps took this match as a chance to help make a fixed outcome that many could bet on in order to erase this debt. However, I doubt the truth of this, as I read it on Wikipedia, and I don’t see such a prideful and stubborn man like that of Bobby Riggs being so willing to throw a game in order to erase debts. That would require for him to acknowledge that he had a problem with gambling, which would also mean his wife would be right, and he would be wrong. And that is something that a male chauvinist would never like. Overall, I think the majority of his motivation was simply behind trying to reaffirm his chauvinist beliefs through beating women in the tennis league.

  25. Augusten L

    1. The film portrays the gender wage gap as a large issue that women tennis players were fighting to overcome. It shows the large difference in the prize money for large tennis tournaments based on gender, and how it is unfair to the players. Some people in the movie defend the pay difference for men and women in tennis by saying that the men gain larger audiences and therefore profit, but this idea is proven false as they get the same amount of people watching tennis tournaments. I think that the women tennis players did the right thing by creating their own tennis tournament rather than participating in the one where they are paid much less. It was an issue that was very important to them, and this was a successful way to prove that they deserve the same rights in tennis as men do. The women tennis players in the movie were able to use tennis as a way to gain attention for gender equality.
    2. The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marylin as very private and secretive. It makes it clear that while Billie Jean has mixed feelings about cheating on her husband, she is very much in love with Marilyn. Despite the fact that they do try to keep their relationship a secret, Billie Jean’s husband does know about the relationship, as well as the designers for her tennis outfits, who the film hints are also queer. BIllie Jean and Marilyn can not go public with the affair because of the potentially disastrous effect that it could have on her career. Being gay was not acceptable at the time, and being open about her relationship could bring a lot of hate against her. Not only would she be openly gay, but she would also be admitting that she cheated on her husdand, which could also be bad for her reputation. Things have changed since 1973 because it would not gain as much backlash if you come out as queer. Even though things are far from perfect in modern times, people can be openly lgbtq more freely than then and gay marriage is now legal in the US.
    3. I think that Bobby Riggs true motivation for the match was the large amount of money rather than seriously wanting to prove that men are better than women. Throughout the movie, it shows how he is addicted to gambling, especially betting over his tennis matches, and this game was worth a huge sum of money. The film also showed Riggs calling to bet an additional 15 thousand dollars on himself, which shows that he is extremely motivated by money. He also portrays his beliefs that men are better than women in a more comedic way rather than a more serious tone. Some of the other people on his team very strongly believe this, but Bobby Riggs was consistently more joking about the matter. He gained largely from the publicity of facing King in the tennis match, and by taking the opposing side, he could advertise to the large group of people who did think that men are better, and therefore make money for himself.

  26. Tyler C

    The film portrays the gender pay gap as that the women were providing the same value in viewership(the women’s final had at least just as much viewing as the men’s final), but the women were paid much less. The men’s first place prize was tens of thousands more than the women’s first place prize, which billie jean king won. When she found out, she decided to leave the organization in protest. She took a lot of players with her. I would say they did the right thing, but I’m really not sure if it worked. They did the right thing because they were getting similar viewership but much compensation, and the executives refused to give better pay. At the end of the movie though, it never explains if they got their better pay back though, just the prize from beating a 50 year old former tennis champion.
    The film portrayed the love affair as something that couldn’t be allowed to be known by anyone outside of them and her husband. They couldn’t go public with the affair because first, Billie Jean King was married, so it’d be a terrible look for her, and second, more importantly, it was pretty unacceptable in society then to be gay, so they probably would’ve been viewed as terrible gay people cheating on an innocent husband.
    I think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation has many different aspects. I think he was truly a chauvinist who wanted to prove men were superior to women, even as a relatively washed up 5o year old. I also think he had aspects of his gambling addiction, and desire to impress his kids, who he didn’t seem very close to. This especially relates to his oldest son, who didn’t even come to see the match versus Billie Jean King in person. Riggs was a compulsive gambler, and bet 100,000 dollars on any woman who could beat him in a tennis match. His wife hated this, and wanted him to stop, so maybe he saw this as a loophole and never expected to lose. Overall though, I think the main reason is simply his loneliness in life. He only resorts to playing the women once he is on the outs with his family, and even calls the agents in a phone booth in the rain in the middle of the night. I think Bobby really needed to find something to do, and used his already misogynistic views and tennis skills to find something to do.

  27. Asher Leopold

    The film portrayed the wage gap because of how the women’s tennis players were payed completely disproportionally to the men’s tennis players even though they made the team the same amount of money. The female players have to fight to be payed fairly and the prize money is so much less even though the sell the same amount of tickets, this gap is completely unjust and unfair. By protesting against the pay gap, the women definitely did the right thing because they were fighting for their rights and trying to show that they should be and are worth just as much as the male players. The women definitely did the right thing by trying to change the times, if nothing is done at all, nothing will ever get better, it just wont.
    The film portrayed it as super secretive and dangerous. Billie Jean and Marilyn had to sneak around and just keep their love limited to glances and things loike that. They showed it as something that could destroy her career and that she could never let people know about. She could not go public witht the affair because their was a lot of prejudice at the time and it could destroy her career. Times have definitely changed since then and although she would still have gotten backlash, it would be nowhere near the kind she would have faced in 1973. It must have been really hard not being able to be who you are and hiding.
    While watching the film, it seems to me like Bobby wanted to kind of prove that women are really inferior to men, he wanted to flex his masculinity and also to kind of embarrass her by beating her. Obviously, that did not happen in the film, amazingly, she won, but still. He wanted to prove to everyone and also himself that women are weak and that men are strong. This kind of represents toxic masculinity to me. It also seems like he was kind of bored and wanted to take that chance for fun in a way and it seems very belittling to her.

  28. Jacob G

    How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?
    The film opened with the female tennis professional players being paid, I believe, and eighth of what the male professional tennis players were being paid. The male players were being paid something like twelve-thousand dollars compared to the eighteen-hundred dollars being paid to the female players. The female players, especially Billie Jean King, led a large group of women to quit professional tennis and move to their own league created by them with equal benefits and payment for what they’re doing. They did the right thing in this situation. They were being treated unfairly and being paid a fraction of what those men in the exact same league, position, and place as themselves, so they decided to do their own thing. Running their own league meant they could pay and benefit themselves and other female players as much as they deserved and wanted, and as Billie Jean King said “this makes you all professionals now.”
    How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?
    The film portrayed this love affair as dangerous yet while showing that both parties wanted the events to occur. The affair however was truly dangerous for at the time being gay was incredibly frowned upon and somewhat illegal. The film showed this through the behaviors of the two characters during, and after the events and just regarding the events in general. The two women, Billie Jean King and Marilyn, could not go public with this affair of theirs due to the heavy disdain for homosexuals in the 70s. There was a huge societal dislike for such behavior and it was in some ways illegal. This would also tank the reputation the new league Billie Jean King had started because of the aforementioned disdain for homosexuals.
    What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match? Explain why you reached this conclusion.
    I think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for playing the match against BIllie Jean King was to feel the thrill of the play again and to once again play a major match of tennis that is openly and largely viewed, as he was aging he wasnt getting the chance to play these games that he wished he could participate in again like he could when he was young. He was frantic and quick with the game as if he was trying to satisfy a craving when he realized how badly he’d been mistaken and would quickly be beaten.

  29. Claire P

    1. The initial premise of the show is centralized around the difference in male tennis players’ wages compared to females. These women were bringing in just as many fans to their games, yet their prize fun was much smaller. King and her business partner, Glady Heldman, are fed up with this and confront the tennis association. They question why the women’s prize money is only one-eighth the amount of the men’s. The men replied by saying “biologically” men’s tennis was better to watch, so they should earn more money. The female tennis players did the right thing to stand up for themselves. During this time women can be silenced and boxed up by men’s actions, but these two brave females stood up for themselves and all women. Their actions were very risky, but they knew they wanted to do this.

    2. Billie Jean and Marilyn’s love affair is shown as private throughout the film. Their relationship began with a spark between the two in the hair parlor. It later blossomed into a secretive relationship between the two. The only time the two will openly show affection for one another is when they are by themselves. Besides that Jean and Marilyn will shoot a hopeful glance at one another from across the room, but that is the extent of it. King needs to keep her personal love life out of the press otherwise her career could be ruined. The public would not be supportive of their gay relationship and would trash King and her tennis career. Even though circumstances have improved, King would still have to work around her public image today. There are still plenty of people who are openly opposed to same-sex couples and King could still be heavily criticized.

    3. Bobby Riggs’s true motive behind his final match was asserting dominance. He wanted to not only prove that men are superior to women, but that he is also not a washed-out player. Riggs was a chauvinist. King, humorously, gave Riggs a pig right before the match. She gave him the big as a reflection of himself, to show how his chauvinism is just like male pigs. This connects to Riggs’ personal life because he thinks he is superior in his marriage. His gambling habits also played a part in his decision to compete with King.

  30. Parker

    1.) Throughout the film, the gender wage gap is portrayed as highly unfair, with women being paid much less despite equal or more viewership. Not only was it unfair, but unexcused for this reason, there was simply no reason for this gap to be present despite the male claims that men’s tennis was just more entertaining. When taking into account the previous evidence, it is obvious that the female tennis players’ actions were necessary, if they were being paid less for no reason, then action was certainly necessary, and the action which they took was perfect, with no harm, physically or verbally to the opposing side, simply peaceful protest for equal and just pay.
    2.) The affair was portrayed as slightly hurtful, but mostly irrelevant, with nothing coming up for it and King keeping her husband through the film. The two girls participating were both happy with each other and just didn’t want anyone to find out. Jean couldn’t go public since folks have been killed for things like that since it was with another woman, and she would most definitely loose all of her standing in society. In addition, she was cheating on her husband which is just a horrible thing to do. In today’s world, a gay relationship would be much more accepted, and people would not be murdered. However, cheating on your husband is still a horrible thing to do, she’d hopefully be canceled or something today as people are all the time, and never play in a pro tennis match again.
    3.) Bobby Riggs was definitely in it for the money, and to put women to shame. Riggs was seen shooting a ton of commercials, making a ton of bets, and overall prioritizing money. In addition, Riggs was known for his gambling, it was just money, money, money for him the whole ride through. This ties into his wanting to put women to shame as Riggs sought to gain respect and fame from other male business owners to shoot more commercials and other cash grabs of the sort. Coming from his background of gambling, and love for money, Riggs was motivated to play in this match to make money either from the fame beforehand or the potential explosion in popularity afterward.

  31. Spencer George

    I think that in the film, the topic of the gender pay gap was handled in a very black and white sort of way. Throughout the movie, the idea that women tennis players were making less money than they deserved was very prevalent, which led them to leaving and forming their own group. Though I believe that the women should have gotten pay in relation to how much revenue they were bringing in compared to the mens division, the specific numbers were not really discussed. So though I think that it was fair for the women to take charge of their situation, I would also like to understand all of the specifics of what was going on with the money. I believe that the portrayal of the wage gap was portrayed decently, even though tennis is one of the only sports that the pay gap is not very large at all.

    I think that the film portrays Billy Jean and marilyn’s love affair as more of a dark topic for Billy. When showing scenes of Billy and Marilyn being intimate, it often has a dark undertone, reminding me of scenes in other movies were the characters do a sort of drug. I think it added a good extra layer for the movie, but it was obviously a backshadow to the main event. The two could not go public with their relationship because it was the early 70’s when gay relationships weren’t viewed as highly as they are in todays standards.

    I believe that Bobby Rigg’s motive for the match was not what the movie portrayed it to be. I think that the movie made Bobby Rigg’s motivation for the match out to be entirely a sort of toxic masculinity ordeal as well a grasp at a big payout. I think that even though money was one of the driving factors behind the matches was money each time, I think that a bigger part of the matches were Bobby wanting to feel both appreciated and a part of something again. When Bobby was saying some sexist things on the tour leading up to their match, I think that it was all a show for Bobby in order to stur up more attention on him and this match.

  32. Sabrina Schlotterer

    1. The film portrayed the wage gap as extremely unfair. They created the movie in a way that lets us know that from the beginning, by showing how much less the women tennis players were getting paid despite the viewership and how much outrage that caused among them. Because of the wage gap, they then started their own tennis league to show that they were not just going to put up with this kind of mistreatment and let people profit off of them being treated unfairly. I 100% think they did the right thing, because how do you expect change to occur if you don’t do anything about it? If they had just stayed there it would have been as if they were okay with this unfair treatment so they had to do something to prove that they were worth more than that.
    2. The affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn was portrayed as a private, secret thing that was only that way because it had to be. It was less of an affair and more of a forbidden love in a way- not just an impulsive act of boredom, but instead a protective act of love. She could not have gone public with it because 1. She was married, and 2. Homosexuality was frowned upon very very heavily. Had this news gone public it would have destroyed her career and future entirely. In modern times, though I don’t think this situation would have ever happened. People are a lot more accepting of the LGBTQ+ community so because of that and other modern standards, Billie Jean probably wouldn’t have felt pressured to marry so young and especially to a man. By that I mean that she would probably know that she likes women at a much younger age and wouldn’t have had to have an affair to figure that out. So in saying that, I don’t think people would be more okay with her cheating on her husband now, but I think they would definitely be more okay with her being with a woman.
    4. I do think that the author could be right, but I honestly see other parallels than the ones I saw at the beginning of the article; or at least the same ones but on a deeper level. Like I think the biggest one by far is even just that it is a highly underestimated woman going up against a man to fight for a position or title or victory or whatever that would often be assumed to be held by a man. In both cases, the women involved made bounds for equality and proving just how equal and able they are, and that’s why I think the effect their cases had is also one of the largest parallels.

  33. kaii mitchell

    1.)The movie Battle of the Sexes portrays the gender wage gap and inequalities spectacularly. In the movie, the characters utilized the fact that men were more entertaining to justify paying women less than men. I firmly believe that the female tennis players acted morally. Making their own tournament at the same time was unquestionably the play, and it served as a statement to the opponents of equal compensation. They entered on a whim, not knowing if they would be paid in the end, but they ultimately figured it out with prize money of $7,000—more than double what they had at the beginning. Billie Jean King establishes her own tournament after learning at the start of the film that the men are paid eight times more for the competitions. The female tennis players, in my opinion, made the right decision because, if they hadn’t fought for fair wages, no one would have.

    2.)It was revealed how crucial Billie Jean’s friendship with Marilyn was to her. It wasn’t an easy situation, and it had a significant impact on both her tennis career and life. For several reasons, she was unable to make the relationship public. During the time, being a lesbian or any LGBTQ+ member in general was highly stigmatized and frowned upon. Her reputation as a prominent figure would have been shattered as a result. She was still married, which made everything worse for her if she had been both gay and having an extramarital affair.

    3.)Riggs’ sole motivation in life was no doubt achieving fame. He definitely wasn’t a feminist and in my opinion a little misogynistic jerk. People who parade around with banners proclaiming that women belong in the kitchen and the bedroom are most definitely not a good person, but I don’t believe his major motivation was to denigrate and dehumanize women. Rather, I believe it was to catch one final glimpse of celebrity. He was in his mid-50s, and it was clear that his talent would not last long, so, in a desperate attempt to gain the backing of misogynists for one more shot at stardom, he attempts to confront a group of women. This is evident from the smug attire, odd interviews and photos, and unusual indecent images. All of these actions demonstrate how badly he wanted to get as much attention as he could by trying to maximize the attention he was receiving, no matter where it was coming from.

  34. Luci Kucab

    How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?
    The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marylin as an almost sad secret. Because of Billie Jean’s career and the social norms at the time, their affair could never reach the public. People are inspired by Billie Jean and this could change if her sexuality was revealed to the public at the time. With the already strenuous pressure of sexism drama over her sexuality would just exacerbate the situation. She also could have lost a ton of sponsors which were super important for her career especially after the money they lost from resting their own tournament (which already lost them a few sponsors).Before 1973 being gay was seen as a mental illness and very ostracized from society. On May 20, 1996 Romer v. Evans decided that Colorado’s 2nd amendment, denying gays and lesbians protections against discrimination, was unconstitutional. This was just one of many milestones for the LGBTQ+ community after 1973.
    What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match? Explain why you reached this conclusion.
    I think Bobby’s motivation was a combination of sexism, a gimmick, a chance to get back into the limelight, and a way to feed his gambling hobby. Despite his attention seeking tendencies, Bobby said some very sexist things in his time on air leading up to the match. “She’s a woman and they don’t have the emotional stability.” These comments were casually thrown out from Bobby who needed to prove he could beat a woman. Thai toxic masculinity was only fueled by his gambling addiction and need to win. He was clearly upset about being out of his prime/ out of shape so he picked who he thought would make an easy target, but it didn’t work out the way he hoped.
    How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?
    Despite equal crowds and talent from both teams, the women’s team was still paid 8x less than their male peers. This was extremely unfair especially considering that the women’s league brought in just as many ticket sales. The players did the right thing by protesting this unequal pay because it set a precedent for future generations. If they didn’t stand up for a change no change would have been made. They protested by creating their own tournament, famously posing with a one dollar bill after signing for the Virginia Slims Invitational in Houston.

  35. Gillian Erickson

    In the movie “Battle of the Sexes,” the gender wage gap is portrayed as a big issue in professional tennis. The film highlights the major difference between the prize money awarded to men and women tennis players. The portrayal emphasizes the frustration and injustice felt by female players, including Billie Jean King, who initiated the fight for equal pay. The film portrays the women tennis players as courageous and determined in their want of fair treatment and recognition. They take a stand against the wage gap by forming the Women’s Tennis Association and organizing their own tournaments to prove their talent and demand equality. The movie suggests that the women tennis players did the right thing by challenging the norms and advocating for equal pay, as their efforts helped to bring about significant changes in the sport and inspire progress towards closing the wage gap in tennis and beyond.

    The love affair between Billie Jean King and Marilyns is portrayed as a big part of Billie Jean’s personal journey. The film depicts their relationship as a genuine bond, also showing the emotional connection between the two of them. On the other hand, Billie Jean faced lots of challenges when she went public with the affair. At that time, lgbtq was not very accepted, and coming out could have had severe consequences for her career and personal life. Billie Jean, a respected tennis player, had a public image to keep, and revealing her same-sex relationship could have jeopardized her endorsements, sponsorships, and even her standing within the tennis community. The film shows the pressure and fear Billie Jean goes through as she grapples with the decision to go public.Since 1973, important progress has been made in lgbtq many parts of the world. In many countries, laws have been made to protect lgbtq+ individuals from discrimination and give them with equal rights. Celebrities and public figures have come out openly, and their sexuality is mostly accepted and supported. Today, more athletes feel comfortable coming out, and organizations associated with sports are working towards creating inclusive environments. While challenges and discrimination continue, the overall scene has become more welcoming for lgbtq people.

    In the movie, Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for the tennis match against Billie Jean King can be looked at in a few ways. Bobby Riggs, a former tennis champion himself, was motivated by a desire to reclaim the spotlight and prove his relevance in the sport. Also, Riggs had a love for showmanship and promotion. He saw the match as a way to gain publicity, stir the pot, and capitalize on the growing feminist movement of the time. Riggs’ biased remarks and the battle of the sexes concept were meant to provoke and create an event that would capture public attention.

  36. AJ Geissbuhler

    3. Bobby’s motivation for the match relied on a few aspects of his life, and society at the time. To begin, Men’s tennis was portrayed as much greater than women’s tennis. The sales were higher because of the interest in more competitive play. At the time, women weren’t held to the same standard as men for sports. The issue at hand wasn’t the popularity, but the payments to the players. Of course, men got a higher salary, while women got a lower salary for playing the same sport. In Bobby’s situation, money played a part in it. He needed to win to prove that men were still superior to women at tennis, to keep his higher pay. Another aspect to look at was his own ego and look in the public. As I mentioned earlier, the look on sports was that men were naturally better. To keep his own popularity, he needed to win. However, along with his popularity, his own ego fits with it too. At that time, losing to a woman would mean that you were a terrible player. In Bobby’s mind, he had to win.

    In the beginning of the movie, Billie Jean won her match, but when she discovered her pay, she got angry with the results. Her pay was much lower than any male player. When she spoke to the managers, they insulted her about the wage. She stormed out with her friend. But, the managers continued to make fun of the idea that women should get equal pay. In order to prove that something is wrong, you need to take action, and for those who can’t see your point of view, you need to show them. That’s what Billie Jean did, and that’s what I would have done.

    The film portrayed the relationship as a secret. No one could find out about their relationship because it was frowned upon. Not only was it an affair, but it was with the same sex. During the time, any gay actions were hugely looked down upon. Most people deemed them as normal people, as it wasn’t normal. Not only that, but every woman should have a family and take care of it.

  37. Teddy Abbot

    1.The film portrays the gender wage gap through the unfair difference in prize money between male and female tennis players. In the movie the men try to argue it is because the men accumulate more money in their games but the women disprove this idea quickly. The women tennis players did the right thing by taking a stand and forming the Women’s Tennis Association to advocate for equality. They challenged the unfair treatment and fought for their worth, which eventually led to significant progress towards getting equal pay

    2.The film portrays the love affair between Billie Jean King and Marilyn Barnett as a secret relationship due to the social and personal consequences of being openly gay at that time. Billie Jean being a public figure and a married woman, couldn’t go public with the affair due to the potential damage to her career and the risk of her personal life being exposed. In 1973 homosexuality was not widely accepted and public figures faced significant backlash for coming out. Since 1973 views on the LGBTQ community have changed drastically with a whole month dedicated to it in June and new movements that are backed by a lot of our country. Today you will see LGBTQ flags all around you showing the new support of the community.

    3.Bobby Riggs true motivation for the match as portrayed in the film was his desire for fame, attention, and to prove his belief in male superiority over women in sports. Multiple times in the movie you find Riggs stating Men are the superior race and are better than women at tennis and other sports by a significant amount. Riggs was a former tennis champion and a showman who sought to capitalize on the controversy surrounding gender equality in tennis. He saw the opportunity to create a media spectacle and financial gain by challenging and defeating top women players. This conclusion is based on Riggs public statements and actions in the film. He promoted himself as a chauvinist and enjoyed the attention that came with it. The attention being what riggs loved the most it seemed.

  38. Vincent

    1. How did the film portray the gender wage gap? Do you think the women tennis players did the right thing? Why or why not?

    The movie made the wage gap look very bad which is good because if people start to realize how bad the wage gap actually is it can lead to the necessary changes to be made in our capitalist society. The wage gap came to be in the movie in many different ways. One way was when Billie Jean King was looking at her contract for tennis she noticed that the men were being paid about 4x the amount that the women were being paid. She knew that there was a wage gap but she thought that because she was playing a sport that she would get paid the same amount. Billie Jean King and her friends all made the correct decision because without that massive push for equal pay then I don’t think the movement would have been as successful as it was.

    How did the film portray the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn? Why couldn’t Billie Jean go public with the affair? How have things changed since 1973?

    The movie portrayed the affair of Billie Jean King and Marilyn to be scandalous yet at the same time the producers made the affair seem like a good thing. Keeping an affair secret as a famous person must have been a real struggle and when Billie Jean’s husband found out I was surprised when he didn’t divorce her on the spot and he actually cared for her afterward even though it pained him to do so. Billie Jean’s husband knew how much tennis was to her and if he were to divorce her then it would have hurt her so much more and brought so much more attention to Billie Jean than was necessary at the time. Billie Jean couldn’t go public because members of the LGBTQ+ community were not well respected members of society, even less than women. If Billie Jean’s story were to happen during today’s society then no one would be as shocked about this love affair.

    What do you think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation was for the match? Explain why you reached this conclusion.

    I think that Bobby wanted to prove something to his wife to get on her good side again. By doing this really big show about how he is better than women he would somehow win back her heart, oddly enough it did work. Bobby was also trying to make himself a respectable income for the time being so he could support himself and his gambling addiction. The fact that Bobby somehow won back the heart of his wife made me come to these conclusions.

  39. Avery Betts

    2. The film showed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn as being fairly carefree and deeply emotional, and it didn’t have a very happy ending. Billie Jean and Marilyn tried to keep it a secret, but they didn’t try very hard. They came up with a plan I think once to leave a room at different times, and then they didn’t even do it. The whole team knew almost instantly about the affair, and they didn’t even need to be told. The relationship was also very emotional. It was sparked from a “love at first sight” moment followed by perhaps one other encounter that ended rather passionately. Since then, their relationship hit a few walls, especially with Billie Jeans’ husband joining the picture and telling Marilyn that the only thing that truly matters to Billie Jean is tennis, and that she’ll always take second in comparison. This becomes especially clear at the end of the movie when Billie Jean doesn’t go to either of them after the match, instead sitting by herself in the locker room. I don’t think she talked to Marilyn at all after the match in fact. They couldn’t go public with the affair for the same reason many gay people couldn’t come out: their lives would be ruined. Billie Jean would lose her sponsors and face ridicule from the public, and no doubt rumors would spread and she’d lose all credibility. Luckily, times have changed and people can feel safer coming out, celebrities included. Sometimes celebrities can even get more support to make up for the people that turn on them. Generally, gay people face significantly less discrimination in America than they used to, and while there still are threats and problems, they’ve become something to protect rather than ignore.

    3. Personally, I think that Bobby Riggs was using it as a money grab. According to the fact check, he was in no way hiding his gambling addiction, and as shown in the movie, he wasn’t afraid to use his tennis skills for a bit of extra cash. He surely would have known that the women’s team was getting a lot of attention, and by making it an even bigger deal by challenging their best, he would get more attention himself and bring about more gamblers and sponsorships that would pay him handsomely for the matches. However, he also probably wanted some of the attention itself too. As an old, retired tennis player whose career had been interrupted by war, he would have wanted a chance for a thrilling, conclusive end, and this somewhat-joke of a match put him back in the limelight with ease.

    4. There are certainly some clear parallels between the 2016 election and the movie, but I don’t think that the connections are as intentional as the author implies. In the first place, the movie was meant to be as accurate to the true story as possible; it was a historical movie, not a fantasy or fiction one. Just because connections can be drawn between the past and the present doesn’t mean the past has been re-interpreted to reflect the present. Sure, Kramer is sexist, and apparently so is Trump, but that doesn’t mean they can’t both be. I feel like interpreting this movie as a reflection of 2016 and not of 1973 does a great disservice to the movie itself and discredits it for the messages it puts across. The author doesn’t really supply any true evidence that the parallels were intentional.

  40. Kiera

    1. The film portrayed the gender wage gap through the sport of tennis and the men and women who played it. The women’s team prize money is considerably lower than the prize money for the men’s teams. The women were awarded lower than men because of the stereotype that men were stronger and better at the sport than women who performed the sport. The women began to boycott this unfairness. With this boycott the women began to make a change in the tennis industry, they said they should be paid the same amount for prizes as the men. The players boycotting this issue caused no one to play so there were no matches meaning no money at all. This boycott proved that women are just as strong and resilient as men are in sports and in life.

    2. The film portrays the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn as somewhat private but they loved each other a lot. They weren’t able to be open about their love and affection because of the homophobia that is in American society. Billy Jean had to be very careful with her relationship because if it went public it could ruin her tennis career and she could get fired. Times have changed since 1973 because today the public would give so much backlash over something like this. There are still many people today who aren’t as accepting of people in the LGBTQ+ community but there are many more accepting people today than in 1973. Also, in the country you could get fired for being openly part of the LGBTQ+ community and although there still is discrimination against these people in the community it isn’t as bad.

    3. I think Bobby Riggs’ true motivation for the match was to declare his toxic masculinity to the community. He wanted to prove he was the best and much better than any woman who has ever played the sport. We can see from his relationship with his wife that he likes to see himself in charge and believes he knows everything. Playing against the top woman player he is trying to prove that men will always be superior to women.

  41. Sanuthi W

    1. They portrayed the gender wage gap as massive and that it was a severe issue that need to be fixed immediately. Due to the pay gap, women in the division were earning 8% less than the men just because they were women. Fighting against the wage gap helped them earn the money they deserved. I believe the women tennis players did the right thing because they fought for something that was important to them and they were able to gain a-lot of respect and also equal pay for what they worked so hard for.
    2. The film portrayed their relationship as something scandalous or something that should be kept secret. There are multiple reasons why Billie Jean couldn’t go public. 1) She cheated on her husband and had an affair, 2) Queer relationships are something that weren’t socially accepted 3) If she were to come out, her image were be tarnished and she could possibly be harassed due to it. Many people already knew the affair was underway including Billie’s husband but it was somewhat kept secret. Things have changed since 1973 because queer relationships have become more accepted and if she were to come out now, it wouldn’t be much of an issue. However, there would still be people upset since she cheated on her husband and people are also extremely homophobic sometimes.
    3. I think Bobby was just somewhat petty and he also just wanted his wife back after she left him due to his gambling addiction. He also just really wanted to defend his statement about how “men are better” “they’re the alphas blah blah blah” and if he won, his wife would suddenly like him again or something. He was also trying to make money to help fuel his addiction but it didn’t work much since he miserably lost in the match. Since he was also considerably older than the majority of tennis players around him, he felt self conscious and wanted to seem young again compared to his peers. I reached this conclusion by seeing how he acted when he won his first match and also his statements about “how men are better” with his horrendous ego.

  42. Jack brunt

    The movie showed the wage gender wage gap as not fair to women at all. It showed even if the women’s tennis group was making less revenue they got a different fraction of the profits than the men got, the men got a larger fraction than the woman and they couldn’t find a good explanation. Of course both groups should have the same fraction of the profits of their respective groups. When seeing this the woman saw no other action than to leave the tennis league but there could be so many other options to resolve the issue. It’s fair they felt like they were not being listened to by the men who had the power but however there were other ways to demand action such as not playing because their female group of the league was still bringing in big profits.
    Throughout the movie the director shows the affair of the king and her hairdresser as a successful but hidden affair from the public eye. Although it wasn’t morally right the director poses this affair as empowering which it is not she cheats on her husband and lies about it consistently. King couldn’t go public with the affair becasue nobody liked gay people at the time and there was no tolerance toward that community. Things have changed alot since the 1970s first cheating is seen as a somewhat norm and being committed has become obsolete not, the second one is there is a growing tolerance tward gays which is a big difference becasue poeple used to send them to jail.
    The main reason Riggs participated in the historic match was to prove a point that men were better than women. We wanted to prove a point and put women to shame. He wanted to keep women out of mens sports indefinitely. A second motivation as money, he was one of the best male tennis players and she was one of the best female tennis players and the grand slam champion and as they were both the best, so this would indefinitely determine the best, this event would gather huge media attention and lead to large amounts of advertisers and sponsors which meant more money for him.

  43. Renna Robinson

    1. The film portrayed the gender wage gap as an important issue that affected many working women in America at the time. Some people seriously do not believe that the wage gap is something that exists, despite endless evidence of it. One particularly striking example of this was the prize money for one of the tennis tournaments, where the prize money for the male winner was set at eight times the money of the female winner. This difference in earnings is disgusting and completely unfair to the women who worked just as hard, and sometimes harder, like in Billie Jean King’s case, when she was training super hard every day. At the same time, Bobby Riggs was relaxing at home and not even thinking of tennis. I think it was very important for all the female tennis players to stand up for what they believed was right and fight for equal pay and treatment.
    2. The film portrayed Billie Jean and Marilyn’s affair as a very loving one, and I was actually rooting for them from what I saw in the movie. It seemed like they really cared about each other. Billie Jean could not go public with the affair because she was married and it was also not acceptable to be a part of the LGBTQ community at that time, especially in women’s sports. If the press found out she had been with a woman, she may have been barred from playing tennis professionally or at the very least gotten a lot of criticism and hate for it. I have done more research and found out that Marilyn was actually super toxic and forced Billie Jean to come out publicly. Things are very different now- although there are still many obstacles for gay people in society, it is much easier to come out and be accepted than it was at that time.
    3. I think that Bobby Riggs was definitely sexist, but I think that his primary motivations for competing in that match were his gambling addiction and also to be back in the spotlight. He knew that this match would bring a lot of press and he would be even more famous. He also probably thought that he would beat any woman no matter what. He even stated that men are superior when the match was about to begin.

  44. Brock Kusiak

    1.The film depicted the gender wage gap through various means. Firstly, the female players emphasized throughout the movie that they received significantly lower pay compared to men, even when they generated equal revenue. They advocated for equal benefits and prizes, but their concerns were either ignored or dismissed with claims of financial constraints preventing equal pay for both genders. Another illustration of the gender wage gap is portrayed through Bobby’s opulent lifestyle and his wife. Bobby lived luxuriously, resembling a celebrity, with extravagant possessions like a fancy car. He resided in a beautiful home with a loving wife and two sons. In contrast, Billie led a modest life in middle-class apartments and frequented regular cafes. Despite her superior skills compared to her male counterpart, she received little recognition in the movie, while he enjoyed immense wealth and a fair amount of fame.
    2.The film presented the relationship as a near-tragic situation. It was partly due to Billie’s reluctance to leave Larry for Marilyn, but primarily because their love couldn’t be acknowledged openly. After Larry became a point of contention between them, they began avoiding each other, yet their affection remained evident. The film portrays the tragedy of a missed opportunity for their relationship, evoking a somber tone. Jean couldn’t reveal their affair due to the prevailing high levels of homophobia during that era. Being a female athlete was already challenging, facing discrimination from both men and women. However, being a lesbian athlete would have intensified the difficulties, resulting in a loss of support. Since 1973, things have changed to some extent in sports, television, and similar fields, with reduced homophobia. However, the political landscape remains largely unchanged. Many people, particularly conservatives, would still find it uncomfortable to accept a homosexual president or congressman. A homosexual politician would face public animosity and criticism.
    3.Riggs’ primary motivation was clearly fame. Although he exhibited signs of being misogynistic, carrying chauvinistic signs and making derogatory remarks about women, it is unlikely that his main intention was to degrade or belittle women. Instead, he sought a final taste of the limelight. Being in his mid-50s, his skills were not likely to remain in the spotlight for much longer. Therefore, as a last-ditch effort, he challenged a group of women to appeal to misogynists and gain one last surge of fame. His ostentatious outfits, eccentric interviews, and provocative photos were all tactics aimed at maximizing attention and garnering substantial publicity. These choices highlight his desire for widespread recognition and not necessarily a deliberate attempt to undermine women and their abilities.

  45. Sammie Koch

    1). This film portrayed the wage gap between mens and womens tennis. The head of the company (a man) refused to make the women’s tennis grand prize the same as the mens because he claimed that watching the men was more entertaining and more intense. I do think the women’s tennis players made the right decision in boycotting their league and starting their own tour, because if they hadn’t then women may still not have the same opportunities in the sports world as men. These women made their mark on women’s rights.

    2). This movie portrayed Billie Jean and Marilyn’s love affair as a secret. They could not go public with this for two reasons: the first reason is because Billie Jean was married and could not openly reveal she was having an affair; The second reason they kept it a secret was because Being gay during that time period was not very welcomed in America as it is now. Billie Jean would have faced harsh homophobia and may have been stripped of her tennis titles and been kicked out of the league if she came out as gay. Things have changed immensely for gay rights since 1973. Same sex marriage is now legal in all U.S states, people are not publicly humiliated like they were back then, and there are tons of openly gay people all across the nation. However, still not everyone is accepting of homosexual relationships. There are still people who bully others for being gay and there is still homophobia all over the country.

    3). I think Bobby Riggs true motivation for the match against Billie Jean was to win back over his wife who had kicked him out earlier in the movie over his gambling problems and he wanted to prove to her that he still is a tennis champion and can beat the best women in the country. He wanted his wife to believe that he wasn’t some washed up tennis player who gambles all of his money away, he wanted to prove he was still the young and fit champion he once was. I think this match was a very exciting moment for Bobby because he was once again finally back in the spotlight with all eyes on him.

  46. Arianna Shuboni-Ullmann

    The film portrays the gender wage gap through the prize money difference between the men and women’s tournament in the beginning of the movie, with the men getting paid eight times more than the women. I think that going on strike while also continuing to prove that they are high caliber athletes was definitely a good move for the women to take.
    The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn through Billie’s close relation with her hairdresser. The film is not one hundred percent accurate, but it makes you feel empathy towards them, even though Billie Jean is cheating on her partner, as well as doing something strictly against the social norm of the time. The two women could not be public about their relationship because during this time period, it was a capital offense to be an independent woman, but to be an independent woman as well as a homosexual woman? This time period stood as a time of heat during the battle for gay rights, and most Americans did not like them. When someone was openly gay, it was hard for them to get a job or exist in society. Much of being an athlete is publicity, and if someone were openly gay, that would mean that their career might as well be getting cut short.
    I think that Bobby Riggs’s true motives to play the match against Billie Jean were publicity as well as money. Throughout the film, Bobby Riggs is very adamant about his prolonged popularity throughout his retirement. He knows that he will lose the match, but plays anyway because as we learn in the story, he is an avid gambler, and not a good one at that, and likes to make hefty bets. Bobby Riggs did this for his own personal gain, and did not think of the long term effects of his actions.

  47. Christian Pearson

    1. The difference between the prize money given to male and female tennis players is highlighted in the movie to show the gender wage gap. It demonstrates how, despite having the same abilities and putting the same amount of effort and dedication into the sport, women were being paid significantly less than men. In my opinion, the women’s tennis players took a justified course of action by considering boycotting the Grand Slam Tennis Tournament. The news of the significant difference in prize money, with women earning only a fraction compared to the men’s champion, sparked their justified anger. Their decision to threaten a boycott was a valid response to the clear unfairness they were facing, showing their stance against unfair treatment.

    2. One of the reasons Billie Jean King couldn’t go public with the affair with Marilyn was the fear of damaging her reputation and career. Homosexuality was not widely accepted or openly discussed in the 1970s, and being in a same-sex relationship could have had serious consequences for her public image and endorsement deals. Also, Billie Jean was married to her husband, Larry King, at the time, which added further complications to their relationship. Since 1973, society’s attitudes toward homosexuality have changed. In many parts of the world, including the United States, there has been a substantial shift towards greater acceptance and legal recognition of LGBTQ+ rights, which is why I believe Billie and Marilyn would be able to go public.

    3. Bobby Riggs’s primary motivation was definitely his desire to prove that even at the age of 55, he could defeat the top-ranked women’s tennis player. He believed that women’s tennis was inferior to men’s tennis and wanted to reinforce gender roles. Riggs saw the match as a way to regain fame, attention, and financial security by using the public’s interest in the battle of the sexes. Another factor that may have motivated Riggs was his own personal competitiveness. He was known for his love of gambling and had previously beaten Margaret Court, one of the top women’s tennis players at the time. Riggs might have seen the match against Billie Jean King as an chance to prove his tennis skills and maintain his reputation as a player.

  48. Ally OBrien

    The film portrayed the gender wage gap in the beginning of the movie by showing the inside ropes of how the tennis tour chose to split the money prize between men and women. Billie Jean was informed in the beginning of the movie that the woman prize for the upcoming tournament was ⅛ of the price of the mens prize in the same tournament. When Billie Jean heard this she was absolutely outraged and explained to the director that the women’s matches sell just as many tickets as the mens. When none of her pleas worked she felt there was no choice but to leave the tour and pursue her own women’s league. I think the women made the right decision, it was what they had to do to make their voices heard
    The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean and Marilyn as messy. Personally, I wish Billie Jean was not married or she did not cheat on her husband because when cheating happens in movies it disgusts me and honestly made me not like Billie Jean’s character as much for the rest of the movie. I understand she could not go public with the affair because of the social norms and how society would not accept their relationship but I wish for Larry King’s sake she did not stay with him. He knew what was going on and was obviously hurt by it, it seemed that he truly loved her but accepted he was never her one true love, next to tennis and now Marilyn. A lot has changed since 1973, this is a normal thing today that you can expect and accept without trouble.
    Bobby Riggs true motivation for the match was the money in my opinion. He was, after all, a gambler with a gambling problem. We saw him discussing with his wife all the money he was in reach of earning in these matches. He was becoming obsessed and this was becoming like gambling for him. We watched in the movie his gambling problem and how he tried to deal with it. He knew he had a problem because he hid it from his wife but he truly enjoyed it. This was his way of exerting this need to play for something.

  49. Ray Glory-Ejoyokah

    The film portrayed the wage gap between men and women as something that was just normal and nothing past that. The men in the film found it hysterical whenever Billie Jean King, the other women tennis players, or any women spoke out about the unfairness of the gap in wage. The women tennis players did nothing but do the right thing, throughout the movie they acted more calm and level-headed than the men did even though the wage gap underpaid them by over 10’s of thousands of dollars. Billie Jean King even when angry always stayed cool and acted calm when it came to whether she’d be paid right or not. It’s nothing but normal for women to fight for their wages when they worked as hard as men it should’ve been the norm.
    The film portrayed the love affair between Billie Jean King and Marilyn as a big disgrace. During that time, to have an affair is a big deal but what made it even worse was that it was a homosexual affair. Gay people at the time were greatly looked down on, if someone was outed to be gay, their whole career, sponsorships, and everything possible would be taken away. It was such a big deal for Billie Jean King especially because she was the biggest woman in her sport at the time. In this day and age, if the exact same thing happens say for example someone like Serena Williams, It would be to a level looked down on because cheating isn’t right, but being homosexual is now publically accepted. No deals and offers would be pulled.
    I think Bobby Riggs for a small reason did it to put women in their place, but for the big chunk of it did it as a stunt to satisfy his gambling addiction and his need to be heard, whether it was controversial or not. It was just really part of his character. He always wanted attention in a way by doing something different or straight outrageous, he’s just a loud outgoing guy. At his gambling intervention meeting he was the loudest one there he knew people were there to get better but still tried to convert them back to gambling. Even after he lost he ran and jumped straight over the net to congratulate Billy. Even before the match, it seemed like Billy and Bobby were on pretty good terms.

  50. kaii mitchell

    1.)The movie Battle of the Sexes portrays the gender wage gap and inequalities spectacularly. In the movie, the characters utilized the fact that men were more entertaining to justify paying women less than men. I firmly believe that the female tennis players acted morally. Making their own tournament at the same time was unquestionably the play, and it served as a statement to the opponents of equal compensation. They entered on a whim, not knowing if they would be paid in the end, but they ultimately figured it out with prize money of $7,000—more than double what they had at the beginning. Billie Jean King establishes her own tournament after learning at the start of the film that the men are paid eight times more for the competitions. The female tennis players, in my opinion, made the right decision because, if they hadn’t fought for fair wages, no one would have.

    2.)It was revealed how crucial Billie Jean’s friendship with Marilyn was to her. It wasn’t an easy situation, and it had a significant impact on both her tennis career and life. For several reasons, she was unable to make the relationship public. During the time, being a lesbian or any LGBTQ+ member in general was highly stigmatized and frowned upon. Her reputation as a prominent figure would have been shattered as a result. She was still married, which made everything worse for her if she had been both gay and having an extramarital affair.

    3.)Riggs’ sole motivation in life was no doubt achieving fame. He definitely wasn’t a feminist and in my opinion a little misogynistic jerk. People who parade around with banners proclaiming that women belong in the kitchen and the bedroom are most definitely not a good person, but I don’t believe his major motivation was to denigrate and dehumanize women. Rather, I believe it was to catch one final glimpse of celebrity. He was in his mid-50s, and it was clear that his talent would not last long, so, in a desperate attempt to gain the backing of misogynists for one more shot at stardom, he attempts to confront a group of women. This is evident from the smug attire, odd interviews and photos, and unusual indecent images. All of these actions demonstrate how badly he wanted to get as much attention as he could by trying to maximize the attention he was receiving, no matter where it was coming from.

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