I’ve been watching a fair few episodes of Home and Away lately (so deliciously cheesy), and there has been a storyline where one of the characters, who runs boys’ boxing, is trying to start a girls’ boxing club, and his wife (a doctor) has huge problems with this because she’s a doctor and understands all the horrific injuries boxers can get, etc. In general, she thinks boxing is “barbaric”, but is especially vociferous on the subject of girls boxing. She thinks boxing is barbaric and dangerous, especially for girls. Maybe I am being hyper-sensitive, but every time I hear this character going on about this, I just can’t believe it. Especially dangerous for girls? Really? What I reflexively yelled at the TV the first time I heard the character express that view was “yeah, because one punch to the stomach will make their ovaries explode, and they wont be able to have children anymore!”. To be fair, there has (thankfully) been no talk of that, but that’s what this smacks of to me; women are delicate and easily hurt, and boxing is brutal and if anyone at all should do it, it should be men.
A quick google reveals that men’s boxing might actually be more dangerous than women’s boxing because women have more flexible necks, fewer muscles around the neck and shoulders, and (often) less upper body strength than the types of bodies desirable for male boxers. I also learnt that in sports that men and women both compete in, women have a higher concussion rate than men; so, this suggests that the character on Home and Away should also worry about women playing hockey, soccer, basketball, and so on.
When googling, I found an article (from 2009) where a female boxer argues that women’s boxing should be an Olympic sport, and a male boxing promoter says it should not, saying
I’m a traditionalist and I would never promote it. I applaud and appreciate how hard women work and train and, in this world, everybody is equal. But boxing is a tough sport. It’s a bit like I don’t want to see women on the front line in Iraq or Afghanistan. I wouldn’t want my daughter boxing and, as a parent, I wouldn’t allow it. I’m not so sure I’m even in favour of boys doing it at a young age.
A few years ago there was a woman who found out she was pregnant before a fight, but for eight weeks before that she would have been sparring in preparation.
Boxing at the highest level is the toughest sport of all. Medically it is regulated but there is still an element of danger or boxers wouldn’t be paid so much money.
When women’s boxing first became a big thing a few promoters jumped on the bandwagon but it never took off in the UK. There was a bit of a freak-show mentality. It’s just not for me.
He wouldn’t want his daughter doing it, but no mention of how he would feel if a son wanted to box. I imagine, as a self-proclaimed “traditionalist”, and a boxing promoter, he would be ok with it. He claims that everyone in this world is equal (which, as I hope we are all aware, is just not true), but then goes on to argue in favour of restricting equal access to choice. Well played, sir.
So, my raging feminism is now affecting my guilty soap opera watching experience. Far from being annoyed by this, I am actually rather pleased. Being a raging feminist is awesome!