Posts Tagged ‘female athletes

07
Feb
12

Stereotyping women and other issues in the fight game.

Stereotyping women and other issues in the fight game.

Female Boxer in Pakistan, Photo Credit: Reuters

Watching how the mainstream media has grabbed a hold of women’s boxing as something to promote in positive terms is nothing short of marvelous.  Whether it is media in the US, Europe or Asia, however, questions of a women’s “place” in the ring still linger even as national teams ready themselves for the 2012 Olympics.

What I’ve found most interesting are the spate of recent media pieces coming out of Asia.  Here are a few examples.

Indian Boxer, Mary Kom, Photo: TOI

From India comes this story:

‘Stereotyping women cannot work anymore’ by a staff writer from the Hindu Times. And includes the following quote:

Stereotyping women cannot work anymore and men who claim that women cannot match their abilities are in deep trouble. Even those who choose to stay as homemakers can bring in value addition to their families.

From Pakistan:

Boxing: Women’s event planned amid hardliners’ wrath by Natasha Raheel for the The Express Tribune.

After being asked by the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) to start a women’s boxing programme in 1996, the plan failed due to protests by hardliners who opposed the idea of females gearing up to step in the ring.

However, after a lapse of almost 16 years, the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) – facing the rage of conservative groups but surrounded by talented women – has decided to hold exhibition matches in April.

From China by way of ABC Radio Australia:

 

Xiyan Zhang, Boxing for China, Photo: Zhenyu Li

China sets sights on Olympic Gold, ABC Radio Australia (with link to interview) by Huey Fern Tay.

TANG ERMIN (Translation): These girls who we’re training have a passion for boxing. In the past, these girls didn’t have an opportunity to participate. They could only watch the boys fight. They’re very focused on the sport now because they’ve been given the chance to become a boxer.

06
Feb
12

Living each day.

Living each day.

Whether it is the dangers of the ring, such as the one that has seen Ishika Lay on her long road to recovery from second-impact syndrome, or something closer to home, such as the sudden illness of a relative or friend, living each day to its fullest is an important mantra:  even when that means walking away from the things we love to do.

That means not only pursuing your dreams, but knowing when to sit out because the risks are too great.

Have a headache after sparring that won’t go away?  Go and get it checked out and follow the mantra:  when in doubt, sit it out.

I know we all tend to ignore the long-term effects of our actions or even cast a “blind eye” to their very existence, but headaches and the like are also symptoms of acute problems that can be dealt with much more readily early on.  Sometimes it is only a matter of facing down the demons that seem to haunt us when we contemplate the “why” question that prevents us from taking the next step — say to a doctor’s office.  Not to do so, however, is to play a dangerous game of roulette with one’s own health and well-being.  It is also an example of breaking a cardinal rule that can best be translated as cheating at solitaire.

Here’s another one: Do you have indigestion every time you eat a slice of pizza?  Or in the absence of that, cough after every pasta or pizza meal?  Has it seemed to escalate at night lately, even when you don’t eat pizza? Go and get that checked! And P.S. … stop eating pizza and pasta till you know what’s going on.  At the very least you might have GERD (Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease), but it also might mean (depending on your age), that you are starting to see changes to the actual make-up of your esophagus (Barrett’s Esophagus) which can lead to “no joke” complications.

I bring this all up because so many of us “live” with things that we think are nothing that end up being a big something in a hurry when we least expect it.  When that happens the effects are often horrendous, both to the individual undergoing treatment and to family and friends who suffer along with each bump in the road.

Athletes presumably have a great sense of their bodies – certainly of the cause and effects of too little sleep, poor eating habits and so on; however, that doesn’t always translate into evaluating the relative risks of injuries or of even recognizing that the twinge in a shoulder is really a rotator cuff injury about to blow.

That’s when we all have to take some responsibility not only for our own health and well-being, but for what we see going on around us by taking to heart the “if you see something, say something” mantra.  Sure, you might be accused of putting your nose into someone’s business, but you well might recognize something that your sparring partner just doesn’t see.

Part of living each day certainly translates into living it with gusto, but we also need to be cognizant of all the aspects of our day, even the things we’d rather ignore.  The problem is the things we ignore have a way of slamming us in the face whether we acknowledge them or not, and for my money, it’s better to face an issue head on than wait for the unexpected surprise.

15
Oct
11

Publicly speaking about women’s boxing and women’s sports!

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!




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