One of my favorite movie lines, “there’s no crying in baseball,” debuted on the silver screen 25 years ago in the film, “A League of Their Own.” If you’re a Gen X-er like me, you’re probably feeling old realizing that classic movie is 25 years old. If you recall, it featured an all-star cast including Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty and Madonna.
Geena Davis: “A League of Their Own” Turns 25
Earlier this year, I met Geena Davis who was in Sarasota as part of the Ringling College Library Association’s Town Hall Lecture. During a press conference, she spoke about gender equality in the media, a cause close to her heart. In fact, she established the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media 10 years ago to study how women are portrayed in the media compared to men.
Davis also spoke about the influence some of her movie roles have made on people and when discussing “A League of Their Own,” she’s proud of what she accomplished. She said, “I still have the same number of young women and girls recognize me from that movie and talk to me about it as I did when it first came out. It’s very exciting and I love hearing someone say ‘I play sports because of that movie.’”
The Academy Award-winning actor continued, “It just shows the power of film. That was a forgotten chapter in our history. I don’t think anybody was going to remember that women actually played major league baseball during WWII and now we all know about it so I think it’s fabulous what movies can do.”
Psst. If you feel old, like me, “Thelma and Louise” celebrated its 25-year anniversary in 2016. Regarding that film, Davis said it did not have the expected impact on the film industry.
“The thing that didn’t happen is what the media predicted when it came out…when it came out it was a huge explosion. We were on the cover of Time magazine it was like so talked about and pro end. A lot of negative, ‘oh my god this is terrible now the women have guns’,” Davis said.
She continued saying, “The prediction in the media very strongly was this changes everything. This is now the start of a new era. There is going to be so many more female buddy pictures. Female road movies. Female action movies. That kind of thing. And then dust balls.
“I made League of Their Own but it (Thelma and Louise) did not start something.”
Geena Davis: Hits the Mark
Did you know Geena Davis is a member of Mensa? She is also a competitive archer with eyes on competing in the Olympics. Using archery as an example, she shared how societal changes can influence others. Her archery coach contacted in 2012 and informed her about the surge of girls wanting to learn archery. Soon, girls participating in the sport exceeded adult males. Why?
“That’s how instant the impact can be” when showing “girls doing different things” on the screen, she said.
Today, Geena Davis continues her mission of gender equality and her institute recently partnered with Ford for the #ShesGotDrive campaign. The social media campaign features three female YouTube creators who overcame adversity before succeeding. Davis encourages everyone to check out the series and share on Twitter with the hashtag but she confessed she does not know how to use Twitter.