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Battle of the Sexes

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1159
  • Category: Tennis

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The Imitation Game is a movie based on true events. Set in 1952, a gay British man named Alan Turing was a code-breaker, a computer pioneer, and a British mathematician who helped Allies to win the Second World War. Alan Turing was put to crack the Nazi codes, including Enigma — which cryptanalysts had thought was unbreakable. Turing’s team, including a girl named Joan Clarke, analyzed Enigma messages while he built a machine to decipher them. The key message of The Imitation Game was to get across was the concept of determination and the idea that if you try over and over again you will eventually succeed if you set your mind to it. Turing’s life, as depicted by The Imitation Game, can be viewed through two of Saint Leo University’s core values of community and integrity.

“Community” doesn’t fit high in the life of an introvert, especially one as eccentric and work-absorbed as Turing, who, perhaps like most introverts, lived his life mainly in his head. However, in the microcosm of society that was Hut 8, the value and the necessity of “Community” was effectively highlighted. Having no social skills, natural empathy, or commonplace niceties, and approaching all things, including human interactions, in a purely analytical and a cold clinical manner, Turing was extremely unpopular and was resented by his colleagues. Things take a turn for the better, however, when Joan Clarke, joins the group of men in Hut 8 on their project, as the only woman cryptanalyst. She takes a liking for Turing and helps him understand that if he “really wants to solve the puzzle” of Enigma, then he is going to need “all the help he can get” and his colleagues are “not going to help” him if “they do not like” him. It makes an impact on Turing and in a comical scene, we see him trying to offer the olive branch by taking some apples to work for his colleagues and attempting to crack a joke with them.

However unintentionally funny Turing was in that scene, it does serve as a turning point in the story, as from that point on, the team works as a unit, with mutual respect, companionship, and even camaraderie, and focus their energies in unison to breaking the Enigma.

The spirit of Community builds so strongly in them that we see his erstwhile rival Hugh Alexander pitching in to help build the Turning machine, and in a touching scene standing up against authority, along with the rest of the team, when the directors of the project try to tear down Turing’s machine and give him the sack.

Integrity is the virtue of being true. To yourself, to your God (or the Ideal that enables you to constantly grow towards your higher self), and to others. Turing has been depicted, in his early years, to be a lonely boy who loses his only friend and is brutally bullied in his adolescent years. He, however, makes no attempt to change himself to try and fit it in.

He remains true to his strange, and perhaps, the queer, individual self, even if it meant being unpopular. Later, when he is working on designing his machine, he lets no one – no peers, no directors, or people in authority convince him that his ideas are useless or a waste of time. In fact, he doesn’t think twice before approaching the Prime Minister personally to gain permission and sanction to continue his work. He remains true to Science, which in all essence may have been his source of the spiritual.

Further, towards the end of the film when he is prosecuted for his homosexuality he is given an excruciating choice of either being true to his sexual identity or to his work. If he refused the chemical castration that was decreed on him, he would have to spend time in prison, away from his labs and scientific work.

In a heartbreaking scene, we see that he chooses to be true to his work, even over his essential identity and accepts the medical “treatment” just to be free and to be allowed to work. This forceful pressure to suppress his true self leads to the tragedy of his suicide.

It could perhaps be said that when people lose their integrity they lose a bit of their soul. In Turning’s case, forcing him to be untrue to his sexuality, cost him his spirit and his life.

The 2017 biographical film Battle of the Sexes is about Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. Billie Jean King has just been named number 1 in tennis. Whilst Billie Jean King is at a dance with her husband Larry her manager Gladys comes over to her with a letter from Jack Kramer who was once a tennis player himself. He is running the Pacific Southwest Tennis Tournament in 1970. That tournament offered women just 15% of the prize money that it awarded the men, despite that the women’s final selling as many as the men. Billie jean challenged Kramer about the pay gap, and when he would not agree to up the women’s prize money, Billie jean boycotted.

Battle of the Sexes refers to a conflict between male and female gender roles. In the section, I will be looking into gender and sexuality-based inequality in the film. The film is a publicity stunt and used to promote females but also had a political side to it. The main character in the film is Billie Jean King who is fighting for equal rights. When looking at intersectional lines of their identity for example gender, it’s clear King has very strong views about it. Many people argue that men and women are not the same so they can’t be equal. They believe that because their bodies are different, they are not equal. This is clearly shown in the Battle of the Sexes as men and women are not being paid the same, their reason is that men are better and more interesting. Billie Jean is experiencing throughout her life and the film inequality in the form of men being inferior and winning more money. Bobby Riggs throughout the film is sexist, patriarchal thinking as well as having the idea of the dominant, alpha male. From the match, he wants to gain as much publicity to prove that this is the case.

The purpose of the Battle of the Sexes is to inform young people about this significant moment from 44 years ago, and about the strides we have made as women since then. It demonstrates where issues of sexism from past and present overlap and Billie Jean’s character put this across well. She helped show the struggles that women had to go through and wanted to prove that women do not belong on the tennis court and that their role is reserved for the kitchen and the bedroom. 

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