In class we discussed the purpose of Diana and Adrian’s romance in the movie Girlfight. Most people were understandably annoyed that a movie staring a woman had to center on romance once again. Isn’t there more to a young girl’s life than who she’s crushing on this week? And shouldn’t her journey towards empowerment be entertaining enough without the side-drama? The answers to these questions should of course be yes. However, there are plenty of films exactly like Girlfight, with leading ladies who struggle to prove themselves as athletes while also dealing with the boy trouble. Love and Basketball, Bring It On, and Bend It Like Beckham are just a few titles that come to mind.
I appreciate the frustration expressed in class, and I feel it too. I want to see women exist as more than romantic objects. However, I’m not totally convinced that Adrian is purely a product of heteronormative movie-going. In a heteronormative world, Diana would never end up with a guy like Adrian; in fact, she’d probably be a lesbian. I find it sort of inspiring, then, that in Girlfight we have a rough, mean-looking girl who also attracts men. Diana proves that strength and beauty aren’t mutually exclusive. What’s more, you can even beat your boyfriend in a boxing match, and he’ll still be into you. That’s a message worth spreading.