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Novel Presents: Melissa Ludtke and Joanne Lannin discuss Locker Room Talk
Novel Presents: Melissa Ludtke and Joanne Lannin discuss Locker Room Talk

Fri, Aug 16

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Portland

Novel Presents: Melissa Ludtke and Joanne Lannin discuss Locker Room Talk

Time & Location

Aug 16, 2024, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM

Portland, 643 Congress St, Portland, ME 04101, USA

Guests

About the event

While sportswriters rushed into Major League Baseball locker rooms to talk with players, MLB Commissioner Bowie Kuhn barred the lone woman from entering along with them. That reporter, 26-year-old Sports Illustrated reporter Melissa Ludtke, charged Kuhn with gender discrimination, and after the lawyers argued Ludtke v. Kuhn in federal court, she won. Her 1978 groundbreaking case affirmed her equal rights, and the judge’s order opened the doors for several generations of women to be hired in sports media. Locker Room Talk is Ludtke’s gripping account of being at the core of this globally covered case that churned up ugly prejudices about the place of women in sports. Kuhn claimed that allowing women into locker rooms would violate his players’ “sexual privacy.” Late-night television comedy sketches mocked her as newspaper cartoonists portrayed her as a sexy, buxom looker who wanted to ogle the naked athletes’ bodies.  She weaves these public perspectives throughout her vivid depiction of the court drama overseen by Judge Constance Baker Motley, the first Black woman to serve on the federal bench. She recounts how her lawyer, F.A.O. “Fritz” Schwarz employed an ingenious legal strategy that persuaded Judge Motley to invoke the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause in giving Ludtke access identical to her male counterparts. Locker Room Talk is both an inspiring story of one woman’s determination to do a job dominated by men and an illuminating portrait of a defining moment for women’s rights.

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