“Pretty. Strong.” is a reality television show that premiered in 2015 on Oxygen network, which follows the lives of six women who play for the Chicago Bliss football team. The team is part of the Legends Football League, which was formerly called the Lingerie Football League. The show aims to explore how the women balance professional, social, and family life with the demands of playing football in a competitive league. In the television show’s trailer linked above, the players are shown playing full contact football in uniforms that consist of bras and underwear under shoulder pads, and helmets with clear plastic guards that displays their full faces.
Who plays professional sports? Who do we watch playing professional sports? Why are men’s sports teams, such as American national football (NFL), basketball (NBA), and baseball (MLB) games televised, celebrated, and reported on, whereas women’s are not? Can women play on those teams? Why?
How are men rewarded, paid, and treated for playing professional sports? How does that differ from how women are paid and treated for playing professional sports? Are some sports associated more with a particular gender than others? What does that mean for people who don’t fit those associations?
How is this show trying to complicate notions of femininity and the multiple roles that women can play in their lives? Do you think the show can successfully do this without also perpetuating gendered stereotypes? Why?
The players are shown playing full contact football in uniforms that consist of bras and underwear under shoulder pads, and helmets with clear plastic guards that displays their full faces. How does this differ from what men wear when they compete professionally?