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