A League of Their Own and empowering women

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A League of Their Own and empowering women

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I've been really fortunate to play some roles that really resonated with women. The first one was Thelma and Louise, where i had no idea the reaction was going to be what it was. I had become used to women recognizing me in the supermarket sometimes, and they'd say, "oh I like Beetle Juice maybe." Or, "I like the The Fly." But I was completely unprepared for the reaction after Thelma and Louise came out. It was 21 years ago now, I think. But there was a big cultural nerve that got struck. It was in editorials. It was in magazines everywhere. "Oh my God! Now the women have guns." It was really fascinating to be a part of that and what changed when people might recognize me from that movie was they were so passionate about it. And they wanted to share their thoughts and ideas. And "my friend and I call each other Thelma and Louise." It really brought home for me how few opportunities we give women to feel like that about the female characters in a movie. So I decided I'm going to keep this in mind and see if I can pick characters that women will appreciate on some level. And it happened that my very next part was in A League of Their Own, which was all about women, women working together. Suddenly I had the same reaction, but with 13-year-old girls, saying, "oh my God! I play sports because of that movie." Fortunately, later, I also got to play the first female President of the United States, briefly. And all of these experiences have impacted my life in a big way. It's fair to say that Thelma and Louise changed my life because it focused me so acutely on how women are portrayed in Hollywood, which has subsequently led me to be interested in how women and girls are portrayed in what kids see.

Learn about: A League of Their Own and empowering women from Geena Davis,...

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Geena Davis

Academy Award Winning Actor & Founder of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. Earning the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.”In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the offbeat dog trainer Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Accidental Tourist.” She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Ridley Scott’s “Thelma & Louise,” in which she co-starred with Susan Sarandon. Davis went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of baseball phenomenon Dottie Hinson in “A League of Their Own.” Davis made her feature film debut starring opposite Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie.” She went on to star in such films as “The Fly,” “Beetlejuice,” “Angie,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and “Stuart Little.”

Few have achieved such remarkable success in as many different fields as Davis has: she is not only an Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor, but a world-class athlete (at one time the nation’s 13th-ranked archer), a member of the genius society Mensa, and is becoming recognized for her tireless advocacy of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters – and reduce gender stereotyping – in media made for children 11 and under.

Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Davis is also an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. Davis is the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College. 

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