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A League of Their Own

A lot of disappointment

By Traci E. Published 7 months ago 5 min read
A League of Their Own
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

I went into viewing the new “A League of Their Own” series on Netflix with cautious optimism. I loved the movie. The movie showed a slice of history often not taught in school, that of the powerful influence and support that women had during World War II.

During those years when the many young men were sent off to Europe, the Pacific and other far reaches of the war to fight battles, the women of America were left at home. They filled in for the men in both the home and the workplace. We have all seen the poster of Rosie the Riveter. She is the embodiment of what women did in the factories that built the planes and bombs and more that helped their men defeat Hitler and the Japanese. But women did so much more.

In a time when most women did not work outside the home and could not even have a bank account, the country turned to them to fill a vital role. They took up work and learned to do jobs they had never dreamed of and were not previously available. If a woman wanted or needed to work during that time, the most common paths available were secretary or salesgirl. If they chose a profession it was most likely teacher or nurse. Gender roles in the workplace were very strong. The war changed that.

Suddenly women discovered they could do the jobs that men had held previously. They worked in factories and other places that had employed the young able-bodied men that were now fighting at the front. They also filled the void in sports in the area of baseball.

And this is where the both the movie and the series take us. We see young women from all walks of life and areas of the country take up bat and ball to play and remind the country that one day the war will be over and the great American past-time will get them through. But where the movie had fun and humor as well as the tragic realities of war, the series seems to have dropped the ball.

There is so much more that they could have done with it. For starters, I only heard the phrase "ration stamps" once. The fact that there is a World War happening is barely mentioned. Everyone seems to have plenty of money, gas and food. During a time when there were metal drives to help build needed supplies and fuel for the civilian was rationed to make sure there was enough for the military, these women are driving around and not worried about anything. The stores they go to seem to be as fully stocked as today. During a time when Lucky Strike cigarettes stopped coloring their packs green so the military had the colored dye, there seems to be no rationing or belt tightening.

The line "I couldn't open an account because you weren't here" that Carson delivers to her husband is so fast and glossed over. Women needed their husbands' permission for so much at the time. There could have been more attention paid to the new found freedoms these women discovered and also the awareness of their still limited status.

The Peaches have a Jewish player (Shirley Cohen) but her religion and the Holocaust doesn't seem to be noticed. There is one mention of her eyebrows and the ethnicity that they represent, but at a time when many Jewish families in America still had relatives in Europe, she and her teammates seem oblivious to the atrocities being committed by Hitler.

A black/white friendship happens but at night with no witnesses but I am sure many people watching didn't even notice. Blacks were kept in menial jobs even in the defense of their country. Many misguided beliefs about differences between races kept many people from interacting with someone different than themselves. This friendship and their time spent together seems more about schedules than avoiding judgement.

I was very disappointed in their beautified history. They played up the lesbian factor greatly and played down pure female friendships. Yes, I am sure that there were a number of gay women who played in the league during this time. But I found it over the top and actually playing into the stereotype that if you are a woman and play sports you must be a lesbian. I’m not gay and I was offended.

Oh, and the use of modern music such as a Janis Joplin song from the 60s and Heart's "Barracuda" in a 1940s set show was very disjointed. There is so much great music from the 40s that they could have used. I suppose they chose those as they are from female artists but it takes you out of the period with a jolt.

On a technical note, hair, sets and costumes work but the photo of Carson’s husband that she keeps in her book looks more like it is from WWI than WWII by the photo quality. It is fun to see all the details and it helps immerse you into the time period.

The writers are obviously young too. Phrases like “read the room” and the amount of swearing don’t seem to fit the time period either. Yes, people have always sworn but many women of the day were still raised to be ladylike no matter if they were raised on a farm or in a city.

These are the mothers of the women who guided women’s lib and the progress and freedoms women of today now enjoy. By being given a taste of what they could do and that they were indeed equal to men, they taught their daughters that and progress was achieved. Just another way the series let me down. All these women seem to be learning is how to have a romance with another woman and swear about it.

If you like what you have read, please leave a tip. I need a new glove and would love to take in a game.

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About the Creator

Traci E.

Writing can be therapy, insanity or both. Here is my mind, my dreams, my fears, my thoughts, my life laid bare to share with you. Enjoy the journey into what is at once my blog, diary and world, and don't forget to tip your guide.

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