If you think sexism is bad in Trump’s America, try this scene from Goldfinger. James Bond smacks a woman’s ass to shoo her away from “man talk.”
The Battle of the Sexes, between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs, caused quite a stir. King was at the tail end of her prime in 1973 when she played a 55-year-old Riggs for $100,000 in an exhibition match. Riggs had been full of bombast before the match, having boasted that he could still beat any of the world’s top women. Indeed, he had beaten Margaret Court earlier that year.
“I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match,” King would later tell ESPN. “It would ruin the women’s tour and affect all women’s self esteem.”
Now, the story will come to the big screen. King (Emma Stone) will face Riggs (Steve Carrell) in a fictionalized account of a story that doesn’t need much in the way of fictionalization. This is a match in which Riggs entered the court wearing a yellow “Sugar Daddy” jacket and King did so carried by four bare-chested men. He handed her a lollipop. She handed him a piglet.
Watch the trailer below.
Of course, Playboy documented the occasion a few years later. Billie Jean King was interviewed in our March 1975 issue and had made points about masculinity and femininity that hold true today.
“Society today forces women to stand up for what they believe is right, and a woman who stands up for herself is always accused of being masculine. Speaking personally, I’ve found that I have to stand up for myself or else I’ll come out a loser. When I find I’m getting a little hard, I try to catch myself and say, ‘Billie, you’re getting bitchy,’ and cool it,” she told us.
“In my opinion, though, masculine and feminine are words that should be eliminated from our vocabularies. Like having a baby doesn’t make a woman more feminine, anymore than it makes the father more masculine. If a man is gentle, it doesn’t mean he’s less of a man. I think he’s more of a man, and more of a person, yet most people think gentleness is a feminine quality. I don’t think we should get hung up on role playing.”
However she felt about roleplaying, Billie Jean King clearly believed that we should get hung up on playing a game to assault gender roles.
Battle of The Sexes comes out September 22, 2017.