Women Warriors, This is a Rant

Natasha Jonas

I was delighted when women’s boxing was finally brought into the Olympics. Its one of the marital arts/combat sports that has always been a tough field for women to gain recognition and respect and to see them up on the world stage was a real coup. It was however slightly marred by the attempt to decree that women wear skirts to box. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/boxing/15452596

Clearly what a fighter wants to worry about when fighting is whether they look lady like enough, whether their knickers are on display and (I speak from personal experience of many fight related wedgies) whether their pants are indeed covering everything.

In the end apparently only one competitor from New Zealand opted to wear the skirt. The rest sticking the practical and traditional fight wear of shorts. Shorts have been traditional the fightwear of boxers, thai boxers, mma fighters and numerous other martial artists for a reason, they work!

When the proposal was first made I was among those who signed a petition pleading for reason on the subject. I’m not really a petition signing kind of girl, so that in itself tells me, if not you, how strongly I feel about this issue. I agree with Natasha Jonas’ view that the only people who want to see women boxers in skirts are the men, in my own view it’s an attempt to keep them sexualised and not have to view them as true competitors, not to have to respect them as equals.

It’s always been my bugbear with pro wrestling in the USA, WWE are terrible for treating female wrestlers as a joke, bra and panties matches etc work to undermine the fact that while pro wrestling may be a form of entertainment rather than a true sport, these are still dedicated athletes. Even my brief stint of training with a wrestling club was enough to give me some idea of just how hard these men and women train and what they put their bodies through. It’s comparable to any combat sport or martial art. Women’s wrestling may be at its best in Japan, where the hardcore division allows a level of equality and frankly brutality you simply won’t see in American arena’s. Way to go Japan, your womens wrestling divisions are a joy to watch.

For me it boils down to this, when you are on the mats or in the ring you are a fighter and your gender shouldn’t make the blindest bit of difference as to how you are treated. You are a warrior and deserve respect. The guardian’s columnist may get nauseous at the site of women punching each other in the face, (http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/london-2012-olympics-blog/2012/aug/05/london-2012-womens-boxing) I don’t. I see training, commitment, passion and strength. All qualities to be admired. I don’t see two women or indeed men punching each other in the head I see a battle, a personal war and it is glorious.

These women deserve our respect and admiration every bit as much as the men, or the runners, rowers, archers, jumpers etc. There is tremendous skill and beauty in these fights, its a dance that doesn’t need a skirt to show the elegance of motion.

There is no better way to my mind for a woman to learn her own strength and power than for her to learn to fight, every girl should have a little martial arts under her belt to my mind. There really is nothing better than that feeling of (to quote my own coach) ‘speed, power and BOOM!’.

And because I always had a soft spot both for Chyna and her music here it is

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About Aunty Fox

'Fox Spirit is the crazy young aunt who dances in the rain and conjures fantastic worlds out of cardboard boxes, loo rolls and sellotape'
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9 Responses to Women Warriors, This is a Rant

  1. Marguerite says:

    AMEN sister! I can’t WAIT to get the move finished so I can settle in and TRAIN solidly again!

  2. Adele says:

    RRRARRR!!! Am really looking forward to my early birthday of training MMA with you guys at my club then watching WWE (can we throw stuff if the girls are half naked?)

  3. ‘Del this is one of the reasons you are awesome! Great blog and makes me want to hit things even though I would run away squealing with a broken nail…

  4. Adele says:

    Kate, knew you’d agree and Pandora, if you needed to hit them, you’d hit them, nails can be repaired. ;p

  5. Chloe Yates says:

    Word to that!

  6. Fran says:

    WORD. I recently became a member of a group specifically for women who do Western Martial Arts (Esfinges) and we’ve been having a lot of these kind of discussions. As WMA is still very small and grass roots I think we are a lot freer than the more mainstream martial arts that are subjugated to this sexist crap, that’s not to say it doesn’t happen at all, at Esfinges we’re trying to nip it in the bud – we believe by supporting and encouraging women the entire martial arts community grows stronger . I admire all female martial artists, they have to fight harder and smarter to be considered half as good as the men, and then they get pointless obstacles like this chucked in their path. RISE ABOVE!!

    • Adele says:

      Your group sounds great. I feel overall these days women are treated well at many clubs, it seems to be at at association/federation level problems sneak in, and anything that promotes women taking up martial arts is a solid win with me.

  7. Dana Fredsti says:

    Excellent post, Adele!!! I am so with you!

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