Publicly speaking about women’s boxing and women’s sports!
I’m heading into the second day of a student conference at Empire State College. Aside from my jitters at presenting my own paper on the rituals of the boxing ring yesterday (that went well, I’m happy to report), I heard a paper raising the preverbal chicken and egg question about women’s sports.
Is it the media that downplays women’s sports to the point of invisibility or is it society that dictates to the media about our lack of interest.
The speaker did not present a point of view, per se, but did report on the pervasiveness of the practice and pointed out that where women’s sports are reported on — they seemed of the “acceptable” variety such as tennis and figure skating. I in no way want to to denigrate the amazing athletes who dedicate so much of their lives to those sports — but even in tennis and figure skating, there are issues that get raised in terms of who earns the big bucks and who doesn’t and why (paging race and class anyone?), not to mention the pervasiveness of “cheesecake” images and ad infinitum discussions of what these athletes wear.
I mean really, when speaking of Andre Agassi, do we ask about his outfit?? But we certainly do when it come to Maria Sharapova or Serena Williams.
Given the enthusiasm of the women’s sporting events that I’ve attended both professional and amateur, and given the number of bottoms in the seats, I’ve got to believe that at the very least the costs for putting on those events are covered plus a few dollars for the promoters, so what gives? And when it comes to Women’s Boxing why is it that we can barely even see a fight, never mind clamor for recognition!
The kicker is, we know that we can see women’s boxing as a televised and supported sport by both the fans and the media — if we live in Mexico or Argentina!
The question is WHY NOT HERE IN THE U.S.??
What is it about women’s sports — and women’s boxing in particular? I could opine about a lot of things regarding women’s invisibility, but frankly, I just don’t get it.
It is truly time for a change.
Oh, and in case you haven’t seen a women’s bout in a while here’s the WBA Female Flyweight Championship fight with Yesica Bopp (17-7-0, 7-KO’s) vs. Daniella Berbudez (5-1-2) televised in, you guessed it, Argentina on 9/24/11.
PS – A HUGE shout out to the BoxFem channel on YouTube who graciously uploads these bouts!