Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

01 July 2013

Review: Venus Vs. - A #NineforIX Film by Ava DuVernay

Venus Vs. Premiere Date | July 2nd at 8:00PM ET on ESPN

People, pop the popcorn, grab your sodas and get comfy because "Venus Vs." is a must watch film. And no, you don't have to be a sports fan. Let me tell you why.

I love tennis, but I don't follow it very closely. When the Williams sisters arrived on the tennis scene, I fell in love. They were brassy and definitely not "country club" players. In Serena William's memoir, she discussed some of the racism that the sisters have experienced at the professional level. In "Venus Vs." this racism is addressed via the infamous "hair bead" situation and other incidents.

But most of this film focuses on Venus' decision to take on the decades long battle to obtain equal prize money for women players at Wimbledon. When Billie Jean King won Wimboldon in 1968, her prize money was equal to 37% of the men's pay package. In 2005, Venus joins the off-and-on fight for equal money. And in 2007 when women finally go equal pay, Venus is the one who wins the championship.

What truly had me glued to my screen was the fact that Billie Jean King kept going back to the idea that women's tennis needed that "one voice" to bring about this equality. Chris Evert is shown saying that the unequal prize money wasn't really a big issue for her, showing that even a superstar like her went along with the inequality. And when Venus came along and took the issue up as her cause, stuff got done.

Perhaps it was all Venus. She is definitely a superstar who did command attention to the issue. So much that the women of Parliament joined her. There's one amazing scene where the power of the red jacket is shown and now I need to get myself one. But do things really get done because of one person? Was it the right voice at the right time? Was it the right catalyst to get others moving on the issue? Who knows. But it's an amazing path to watch.

So if you are a tennis fan, sports fan, fan of women's equality or hell, even the political process, you are going to love this film. After the film, leave comments here or head over to the "I Pledge to Attend a Women's Sports Event" Facebook Page to discuss.



Venus Vs. Premiere Date | July 2nd at 8:00PM ET on ESPN

Director | Ava DuVernay
Producers | Ava DuVernay, Howard Barish, Tilane Jones, Libby Geist, Deirdre Fenton
Cast | Venus Williams, Billie Jean King, John McEnroe


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