Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby won five Academy Awards but also came under attack from female boxers and disability activists. Ostensibly a drama about a tenacious woman’s quest to become a professional fighter and the male coach who assists her, Million Dollar Baby appears to insert a radical portrayal of femininity, female athleticism, and power into the male-dominated genre of boxing films and, more generally, a media that has been largely hostile to female boxing. We explore the extent to which the female lead can be viewed as a transgressive figure along with the discourses of containment that reduce her threat to longstanding cultural myths about boxing as a male preserve. Our analyses of the film’s racial, gender, class, and disability politics contend that its focus is not women’s boxing, disability, or the right to die; rather, like boxing, this film is about the male struggle to protect masculinity in a sporting world deeply shaken by the increasing presence of women.
Ellexis Boyle, Brad Millington and Patricia Vertinsky
Cindy H.P. Sit, Caren H.L. Lau and Patricia Vertinsky
This study investigated the association between physical activity and self-perceptions such as body image, physical self-concept, and self-esteem among persons with an acquired physical disability in a non-Western population. Other personal variables such as gender and time of onset of disability were also examined. A convenience sample of 66 Hong Kong Chinese adults with an acquired physical disability were asked to complete a battery of questionnaires about their levels of physical activity and self-perceptions. Over 70% of the participants were not physically active enough to obtain health benefits. Contrary to studies focused on Western populations, the relationships between physical activity and self-perceptions were weak. The time of onset of disability, rather than activity level and gender, was more related to self-perceptions. The present study provides some evidence to advance our knowledge of self-perceptions in a non-Western population and highlights the importance of considering culture and social location in studying physical activity levels of those with an acquired physical disability.