Suggesting skirts: How to make boxers *look* more like women?

29 Oct

As the 2012 Olympics are just around the corner, it’s nearly *and sadly* expected that a bout of gendered dilemmas will roll on out. This time it lands with boxing – women’s boxing that it. And it’s not about whether women will be able to participate in the ring, but on what they will be wearing. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has a “suggestion” of feminizing the discipline, how you ask? By “suggesting” that women boxers wear skirts. The grounds for such a move, as one boxer puts it – away from the traditional dress of boxing itself – is to help viewers distinguish between male and female boxers in the ring. In other words, the muscular physiques of women and men in action were perhaps just being viewed as “boxing” rather than any marked version of it.

Two nations – Poland and Romania – have taken up the call, also adding the skirts are more “elegant”.

Just to be polemical, I wonder if someone on the AIBA advisory council offered a counter recommendation to “suggest” that male boxers become “more manly” by taking on the glitzy knickers of pro-wrestlers  instead? That would certainly help “distinguish” them for the viewers. Perhaps the lone women representative on the council might have offered such a “suggestion”, but perhaps didn’t get “backed” by her “peers” who must be cognizant of what athletes desire from their sport (NB: not “women athletes”, but athletes full stop.)

Is this gender equity? Are these athletes being taken seriously? Or are they just being sluiced into what is the discipline of   “spectator  sports for men”.

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