Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Thought on Women and Sports

A few days ago I read Twisty's post on girl's sports and the ensuing comments which went on to argue back and forth about how men are stronger biologically, blah blah blah. I cannot emphasize how strongly I disagree. Look at Boxing champ Lucia Rijker:

Tell me that it's a matter of biological strength and not of training. Also there seems to be a side conversation about how women are shorter then men because of genetics. My own anecdotal evidence: all the women in my family are 5'5" or shorter. Dad's side; mom's side: everyone. My dad happens to be around 6 ft. I'm a little over 5'8". Now that is in no way linked to my mother's x chromosone or my father's. Ridiculousness abounds. Yeah, it's genetic. But I tower over all my relatives (the blood ones anyway). Various observations that women are always going to be short because their female relatives are has some relevance, yes, but anyone can draw the short straw in the height genetics game. When I said I tower over my relatives I also tower over all the (blood related) men in my family as well.

Muscle mass does build easier in men, but that doesn't mean that they are default stronger. Your average man was taught to try sports; to be atheletic. Your average woman, and it's definitely been my experience, is taught not to be stronger then the boys (or smarter, but that's another issue). There's still oodles of sexism in (oh for example let's take) the boxing industry. Watch Shadow Boxers and listen to the questions that the reporters ask the boxers: "What does your husband think?" "Why do you want to hit people?" Do they ask these questions of male boxers? Of course not. Even women that win Golden Gloves championships are seen as abnormal, unfeminine. And these are athletes that dedicate much of their time and lives to their sport.

Why am I using boxing? Could it be that the first boxing gym I joined the trainer was a lecherous hump who wouldn't stop making disgusting remarks to me? (Because I'm only boxing to sleep with old, disgusting boxing trainers! Right!) Could it be that I'm one of about 3 women who box in the gym I'm currently at? Could it be that as I feel stronger in my body, i.e. as I get more definition in my arms, am able to run farther and farther each week, and can't wait until the next time I spar people feel the need to either think I'm a) joking about being a boxer, or b) ask me why I do it. Sometimes they just stare at me with their mouths wide open, or giggle, or say something along the lines of "oh my god! Why?"


Unsane said...

That hostility to women doing boxing or kickboxing is not something I see that often in Australia.

lost clown said...

Lucky. Wish that was the same here.

Laurelin said...

I love my martial art too.