Before I start this, I have to say from a fight perspective this was a great day for my team mate and I however….
I need a bit of a rant. I’ve responded before to discussions about sexism in sport, but I’m getting a little tired of a particular attitude on the kickboxing circuit. I don’t know if it’s like this everywhere, or whether it applies to other martial arts but here is my experience so far.
Women are less well represented at tournaments than men. Children dominate the sport. That’s fine, I get that. I get that in light continuous we are even less well represented. What I don’t get is why we are continually required to hang around all day to have our categories bunged in at the end, feeling very much like an afterthought.
At the Warriors tournament in Horwich on Sunday, having driven for nearly three hours to get there I nearly had to leave before my classes were up and no one could or would give me any information about how the running order was working (it wasn’t simply in number order) so there was no indication of what time we would fight. Or for that matter even any reassurance that there was someone to fight.
The points was a late start but not too bad. The light continuous took place while the other mats were being packed away and the cleaning was going on around us. We couldn’t do photos on the podium, it had gone. The only people still in the hall were the five fighters, the officials for that fight and our immediate families, coaches etc. Everyone else had gone home. Oh and the cleaners, they were there. Cleaning. The girl who won the category had recently fought in Croatia. She’s 16 and chasing championships. I, quite frankly, could have spent the day running my side business instead of doing a 6 hour round trip and waiting 8 hours.
I love the sport, I love the fighting, I love the competition and the challenge. I don’t mind the travel and the waiting and the crappy sports halls with worse coffee (ok I mind the bad coffee a bit). I’m not particularly one for grumbling about lesser treatment because I’m a girl. But on Sunday, as the mats were being piled up and taken away and the debris of a couple of hundred people eating and drinking was swept up, I found myself wondering what the message was. What I came away with was, it doesn’t matter how well you fight, how many championships the female competitors win, you’ll still be a girl and you still won’t matter. It’s ok to bung you in a corner at the end as an afterthought because it’s not for you, it’s for the kids and the men. We pay our fees and train our backsides off and we get tacked on as lip service to equality.
Sunday was the most blatant example, but it is beginning to feel like the pervasive attitude in the sport. Honestly, I thought it had passed this. KB is hugely popular with women for fitness if not for competition and I hadn’t expected to ever find myself feeling pissed off and resentful about equality issues in my chosen sport.
To the organisers of the Warriors tournament my message is simple. It wasn’t just dismissive it was just downright fucking rude to be putting everything away and cleaning up when people are still fighting. Grow the hell up, treat people with a little respect or have the honesty to ditch your pathetic attempt to have women’s categories at all and save us from wasting our time and money. #/endrant