Tag Archives: Afghan Women’s Boxing

Women’s Boxing and the Media

Women’s Boxing and the Media

Queen Underwood ahead of her Pan Am Games fight, Photo: Pat Graham/AP

With large kudos to CNN, ESPNW and even media outlets such at USA Today, women’s boxing has been hitting the media of late — and the perspective has actually been positive.

Case in point has been the skirts issues which has seen a surfeit of pieces in mainstream media running the gamut from BBC to Huffington Post.

There have also been lots of profile pieces of up and coming Olympic hopefuls alongside their sisters on the professional side of the sport, as well as pieces on the world-wide participation of women in boxing from Afghanistan to India to Uganda.

Here are some links to pieces.  Have a read and show your support if you can.  The more we advocate and respond, the greater the opportunity to keep the trend going — and maybe even find women boxing’s bouts back on ESPN, Showtime & HBO.  Hmmm, about time wouldn’t you say??

 

Skirts issue

Drawing a (hem)line in the sand by, Bonnie D. Ford, ESPN

Skirting the issue: boxing’s step backward, Kathryn Bertine, ESPNW

Skirts won’t make women’s boxing any more ‘womanly’, Christie Brennan, USA Today

 

Boxer profiles

Latina Olympic hopefuls (Marlen Esparza), Soledad O’Brien, CNN

Christy Martin a fighter at heart, David Picker, E:60, ESPN

Queen Underwood is fighting for a cause, by Meri-Jo Borzilleri, ESPNW

 

Women’s Boxing – World Wide

Afghan women strike blow for equality, Mike Thomson, BBC

Uganda’s women step into the ring, Nicole Dreon, ESPNW

Women’s Boxing: The brave, the few.

Women’s Boxing: The Brave, The Few.

Afghan Women Boxing, Credit: AFP/Katherine Haddon

First off a huge shout out to the BBC for their article on my favorite women on the planet the members of the Afghan Women’s Boxing Team.  The article by Mike Thomson, entitled, Afghan Women Strike Blow for Equality, brings focus once again on these remarkable athletes who are no less brave than the denizens of Virgil’s Aeneid, when they don the gloves.  The quote from the Aeneid, a favorite of boxers around the world, not to mention the words printed on the back of every Gleason’s Gym T-shirt are worth repeating in the context of these very courageous young women:

“Now whoever has courage, and a strong and collected spirit in his breast, let him come forward, lace on the gloves and put up his hands.”

There are no words than can truly describe the tenacity and grit of these young women — but I shall extend that to any women who overcomes adversity as a metaphoric taking up of arms.

Think of this.

Think of the violence that women are subjected to by lovers, husbands, fathers, stepfathers, cousins, uncles and so on.

Think of Rola El-Halabi who has had her career taken from her by her stepfather who shot her in the hand, the knee and the foot.

Think of Christy Martin who was left for dead after being stabbed, beaten and shot by her husband.

And yet both these women have arisen.

Both stand tall and proud as beacons of hope for the hopeless.

The young Afghani girls who have taken up the gloves are also symbolic of hope; hope for their Afghani sisters who in many parts of the country are still terribly brutalized; and hope for all women who continue to be at risk for violence and abuse.

Sometimes all it takes is one step — and if in taking that step one finds oneself knocked down, there is always, always, always the next step to take to keep us going. In my view, those young Afghani girls are showing the way of just how to keep those steps coming.

 

 

 

 

“We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

“We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

Female boxers in Afghanistan, Credit: Molly Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times

As Girlboxing readers know, I just can’t get enough of the Afghan Women’s Boxing Team. The Los Angeles Times has obliged with an in-depth feature piece by Molly Hennessy-Fiske.  The haunting money quote by the team’s coach, Mohammad Sabir Sharifi truly resonated with me: “We work for the future, because the past is lost.”

Sharifi and some of the young women he trains have a received threats, and yet they persevere.  As if to punctuate the pluckiness of these brave young women, two members of the team traveled unaccompanied all the way to Turkey by train and competed in the early rounds of the ongoing AIBA Women’s and Youth Junior World Boxing Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

These young women who train in the face of continuing threats of violence due to nothing more than their gender are emblematic of how much further we all have to come.  I applaud their bravery and as the mother of an 11-year-old girl, feel particularly humbled by the love and support these young women receive from their families and their coach as they pursue their Olympic dreams.

Way to go!!!

The full LA Times article link is here.

Why I love women’s boxing!

Why I love women’s boxing!

Afghan Women Boxing, Credit: AFP/Katherine Haddon

I came across an amazing piece about young Afghani women training for the 2012 Olympics entitled, Afghan women boxers eye Olympic knockout!  We’re talking from the Taliban to the ring — in a country where girls and women still struggle for the right to leave the house or attend school, never mind don boxing gloves to learn the intricacies of the sweet science.

As Katherine Haddon put it in her lead graph, “In a gym at Kabul’s main stadium, where the Taliban used to publicly execute women accused of adultery, female Afghan boxers hoping to make it to the London 2012 Olympics are practicing their jabs.”

This is why I love women’s boxing.

Sure there’s the “game” side of it and the frustrations of attempting to make it as a professional — but at its heart any woman who boxes has an opportunity to push herself past all of the crap of gender construction in whatever society she is in to work it all out on the bag.  As a case in point, pick any ten random videos of a female boxing match on YouTube and read the vitriol, if the comments aren’t sexualized then they are some nonsense about how women “shouldn’t fight …”  And those comments are written here, in the U.S., so what’s that saying???

Meanwhile, back at the gym, girls and women box anyway because they have figured out it’s a beautiful way of moving beyond that sort of thinking into a realm of physical and mental strengthening.  And whether it’s an Aikido dojo, Tai Chi in the park or young Afghani women with an Olympic dream, taking those steps — and providing opportunities and encouragement for other women, young or old to take those steps is what will ultimately knock down the barriers that still keep so many women locked up inside.

YouTube also has a link, however it will only play on their site.  I recommend it highly!  You can find it here.