I have been poring over this site for the past hour and a half:
I’m obsessed. Despite the content itself being really interesting – I especially recommend listening to ‘Boxing is My Mother and My Father’ – what I find most fascinating about this site are the comments, specifically on this story. While I am well aware of the rhetoric revolving around women in this world, it always surprises me when I come across disparaging remarks against them. Part of it is the fact that I spend most of my time amongst like-minded, feminist peoples, which protects me in a certain way against obnoxious remarks. Another reason is that I feel it is so outdated and ridiculous to still undermine women, it surprises me that anyone still does. Alas, they do – as evidenced in the comments for this story. Sometimes, the disparaging remarks come in the form of pseudo-flattery & elevating of a woman’s role in society:
tevya zee (zaydesvox) wrote:
“Boxing for girls? Bad enough men do it. Women are the only reason we men aren’t beasts. They soothe our hearts. So making boxing for the ladies will only make our society worse. ( bad enough it is today) Okay a women needs protection against potential intruders..but a tazer would do best! remember mothers are the most important person in our world..not boxers, athletes, or celebs! Boxing for women can only make us worse as a society!”
There are so many things wrong with this comment, I don’t even know where to start. First is the pseudo-flattery, then the assumption that these women are boxing as a means of self-defense. If he had listened to any of the interviews, he would have heard that these women are athletes who box for the same reasons that male boxers do. They’re not taking Tae-bo classes, they are training professionally for the Olympics.
I’m going to assume that the tazer comment was a joke, as it does absolutely nothing to back claims about ‘wanting to make our society better’. And what about women who are boxers, athletes, celebs and mothers? Where do they fall in the ‘most important person in our world’ statement?
The there’s the straight hatred:
will doolin (T4tillRman)wrote:
The first word that comes to mind:
<<<<<<<<<< REPULSIVE />>>>>>>>>>>>>
No other explanation, Will is just repulsed. Ok.
This comment made me take a step back, however:
La Duderina (Dudette81) wrote:
I’m really excited that women’s boxing has made it to the olympics.. but this article is a little.. annoying.
Maybe it’s because I am a female and I box and therefore spend time with other female boxers that I think this, but how about we talk about the women who weren’t thugs? Who didn’t spend time in jail? What about the female boxers who hold masters degrees or PHDs and box? Why is it all “I’m a hot woman and I box-how amazing?” How about we judge female boxers on their talent instead of talking about how great they look outside the ring? Judge them the way we do male boxers? Why is it amazing that a female boxer wears heels outside the ring? Do we find that amazing when female basketball players do it? Soccer players? No.
But, like I said, maybe it’s because I’m around it that I know that all female boxers aren’t big, violent, manly women. Regardless, I think there is a lot more to talk about in women’s boxing than how hot they are outside the ring.
So much division right in the first sentence! I honestly hadn’t even thought that anyone who was a supporter of women’s boxing would have an issue with this story, so I was a bit on the fence when this person thought the article was ‘annoying’. As I kept reading and the ‘thugs’ and ‘jail time’ argument came up, I was ready to dismiss this person as a bigot. However, I can see her point in her next argument. I hadn’t taken offense to the article’s emphasis on the boxers’ physical appearance - it was coming straight from the athletes’ mouths, after all. I feel this emphasis serves mainly to show the duality in each of these athletes, how they can be physically tough and aggressive, qualities typically associated with men, but also maintain these typically feminine qualities, like wearing heels. I think this duality is beautiful and speaks to a certain feminine strength, so I can see why these women would want to emphasize it. But I can also see why Duderina above would be frustrated. It’s almost as if that by discussing the personal aspects of these athletes’ lives, their talent and how seriously they are taken professionally comes into question. But I don’t believe this needs to be the case. This begs the question: how much should we separate athletes (& artists) personal lives from their work? I think that there is a space for both, without minimizing their talent and accomplishments. I think that understanding their backgrounds can help bring insight into their work, the reasons why they do it and how they do it. And being that boxing is an incredibly physical sport, I think it’s natural for there to be interest in these athletes bodies. As I’ve seen plenty of pre-game, halftime, and post-game sports show, I can say that plenty is remarked upon male athlete’s bodies as well. What do you think? Do you think this article undermines these female athletes by discussing their physical appearance as it does?