PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with 20th Century Fox to make sure fierce feminist Billie Jean King is on your radar. Learn why by catching the feel-good flick, Battle Of The Sexes, in cinemas September 28.
If you’ve never heard of Billie Jean King, then buckle the hell up. She made some serious waves in our ‘rent’s generation, and given that her arguably most famous feat is now being adapted for film, you better believe this is one hero you’ll want to add to the ‘I idolise you so fkn much’ list. I mean, she’s being portrayed by Emma Stone… Not just anyone gets to be portrayed by Emma Stone, right?
So on that note, here are 9 reasons why Billie Jean King is the fierce feminist hero you need to be clued-in on.
1. King was in a fkn league of her own when it came to her athletic abilities.
A former World No. 1 tennis player, King landed herself 39 Grand Slam titles – 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. Ain’t nothing to sneeze at, right?
2. King won’t take shit from anyone, especially a chauvinistic man.
Although already a household name, King’s reputation skyrocketed off the back of what came to be known as ‘The Battle of the Sexes‘. In the 70s, former No. 1 Bobby Riggs was hell-bent on belittling women in tennis – and to accomplish this, he wanted to beat them at their own game. Initially he challenged King to a match, but she declined. With her off his hit list, he targeted ol’ Margaret Court and easily beat her. Knowing that the equal rights movement needed a serious win, King finally buckled and accepted his invitation. She had long believed that women in tennis should be regarded just as highly as men, not to mention be paid the same.
3. She was a complete badass that wasn’t going to take shit from one of the most popular and chauvinistic male tennis champions of all time.
Riggs was known for throwing around comments that suggest women belonged in the kitchen/bedroom, that they lacked the emotional stability needed to be an athlete, and even went as far as to say that he wanted to “set the women’s lib movement back about another 20 years”. Like, his whole stance is bewildering/laughable these days.
Although fans loved him, King still took him on – regardless of the backlash.
4. King’s BFFLs with fellow legend Emma Stone.
YASSSSSS. If you don’t love Emma Stone, then we don’t want to know you – and King’s of the same persuasion. Stone was sensibly cast to portray King in the new flick about her life, Battle Of The Sexes. Looks like they formed quite the friendship off the back of this (and, like, how could you not?!).
5. ‘The Original 9’, a group of female tennis pros lead by King, made a hell of a lot of noise in order to secure equal prize money for both genders at tournaments.
The work of this group paved the way for pay equality in sports across the board, and it was all thanks to the leadership of King. Although there’s still a long way to go on that front, it would’ve been a much harder effort without their tireless work.
6. She’s dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights, especially championing them for women in sports.
7. King even started a whole new tournament to even the playing field for women in tennis.
If you don’t like how the cards are laid out on the table, you flip the damn table – something King knows all too well. When the United States Lawn Tennis Association wouldn’t budge on equal pay for both female and male players, The Original 9 (under King’s leadership) decided to make their own tournament. The Virginia Slims Circuit, later to be known as the WTA Tour, was a landmark triumph for women’s rights.
8. She knew how to draw a seriously huge crowd.
The Battle of the Sexes match stopped the world in its tracks – with 30,000 people in physical attendance, and 90 million Americans watching on TV. But more importantly, the match ignited a new fire within the feminist movement and paved the way for gender discussions that, unfortunately, we’re still having today.
9. Even after she hung up her racket, King continues to fight the good fight.
In 1974, she founded the ‘Women’s Sports Foundation’ to safeguard the future of women’s sports. She still tirelessly supports these fights for equality, so if anyone should be bestowed the privilege of having the highlight of their career adapted for film, it’s King.
Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse of Emma Stone and Steve Carell‘s stellar performances in this feel-good flick:
You can catch Battle Of The Sexes in cinemas September 28.