As some of you already know, I love fighting – [kick]boxing, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, MMA, etc. Better yet, I’m finally getting the chance to make it an integral part of my life by actually learning and practicing it. Training for a real fight is nothing short of a dream for me – I’m blessed and thrilled, and I damn well know it.
But no, I’m not writing this post to bore you all to death with my fitness- and fighting-induced bliss, so y’all are still going to be needing your pre-recorded dolphin sounds to fall asleep tonight.
I actually want to share what it’s like to be a female fighter in this ridiculous world. To explain this, first I have to tell you what it means to be a female in general around here.
It means that we’re expected to be pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate… nothing more, and nothing less. Furthermore, it means that we’re supposed to live our lives and make all of our decisions around – yep, you guessed it – being pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate.
It should come as no surprise that I get my share of ignorant, unsolicited commentary regarding my decision to train up and, one day, fight. And it’s crazy [except not really] because when I compare notes with other lady fighters, we find that we’re all on the receiving end of identical, misogynistic statements regarding our fighting.
Being “a female fighter in this ridiculous world” means that it’s not easy to be taken seriously, and that you’re constantly defying and threatening what society has decided it means to be a woman.
But society sucks anyways, so I’ve gone ahead and composed a “pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate” little list of the most common verbal sewage female fighters get the great
pleasure of hearing all too often.
Get ready to roll your eyes… seven times over.
1. “You do know you’re going to hit, right? Like, in the face?”
Oh, shit! Seriously?!
Dammit… I thought my opponent and I were just gonna simulate a fight by striking at the air and giggling profusely.
Thank you so much for mansplaining that to me, though. I feel slightly less confused now.
2. “What if you get hit in the face? You won’t be pretty anymore.”
I’m so glad that you’re acknowledging my understanding of the fact that I’ll probably be getting hit in the face. But, you’re
right (read: wrong)… God forbid a woman do anything that could make her anything more or less than “pretty”.
I’m not sure what subconsciously scares people more – the idea of a female getting hit so hard in the face that it takes away her society-determined version of physical beauty, or that of a woman prioritizing kicking ass and taking names over her looks.
3. “You’re too delicate to fight.”
It’s funny you say that – I know I’m a small little lady with big, round eyes who wears shimmery highlighter and still manages to get carded at 18+ venues, but that doesn’t make me delicate.
It makes me short. “Tall” and “tough” are not synonyms, my thesaurus-allergic friends.
I take hits pretty well, and I’m more than happy to throw them back and wear my battle-wounds proudly. Contrary to popular belief, superior height, testosterone, and a need to grunt at things are not the only traits that can qualify you to be a fighter.
I would also like to take this opportunity to mention that if I was a male of the same size, no one would be telling me I’m “too delicate to fight”. Everyone would be telling me that I need to “toughen up”, “man up”, etc… and I’d just be expected to be down with that, whether I wanted to be rough and tough
4. “You’re never going to find a husband if you keep this up.”
Oh, thank God! If I’d known it was that easy, I would’ve strapped on the boxing gloves months before my parents even enrolled me in kindergarten.
But for real, if we’re considering this from a purely heterosexual stance, plenty of male and female fighters get married, and they encourage each other to become stronger, faster, and better every single day.
There’s also plenty of non-fighter blokes who wouldn’t be even remotely bothered by “a woman who’s tougher than him” (yeah, I hear that a lot too) – lots of men who are secure with their masculinity tend to think female fighters are pretty rad (yes, in the wifey way too).
Either way, anyone who can’t hang with a tough woman doesn’t deserve one anyways (
5. “It’s good that you’re taking some self-defense classes.”
Just because fighting teaches me how to defend myself doesn’t mean that I’m taking “self-defense” classes for “self-defense” purposes. I’m taking fighting classes – I’m learning how to be a fighter, not a defender. We mainly learn defense so that we don’t get wrecked while trying to smash up our opponents.
It’s amazing, isn’t it? When men take fighting classes, or even self-defense ones, everyone always assumes they’re going full-on Rocky Balboa. Meanwhile, anytime a woman bothers with fighting, it has to be because she’s
“helpless” in a scenario where some dude tries to take her purse.
You see, fighting for the sake of fighting, because you’re strong, aggressive, and like to beat up other people, isn’t “pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate”.
That’s why the term “self-defense” doesn’t even cross people’s minds when a guy takes up fighting – because men are expected to be the opposite of “pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate”.
Women, on the other hand, can only want to do something that’s not
“pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate” for the sake of defending all that is “pretty, cute, sweet, and delicate” about them… because if we’re anything more or less than those things, how dare we take up space in this world?
Yeah, I know… I can’t either.
6. “I’m glad you’ve found such a fun weight-loss program!”
If a woman isn’t fighting
to learn self-defense, then the only other reason she could be bothering with it is so that she can lose weight since, for us, becoming and staying thin is supposed to be what really matters.
Nothing says squeezing into that “yellow polka-dot bikini” like getting punched in the face, right?
7. “Oh well, you’re a girl. There’s no way your fighting can be serious or dangerous anyways. It’s not like you can beat up a man.”
Header image (Ronda Rousey): Retrieved from the New York Post
Image of Paige VanZant v. Bec Rawlings: Retrieved from UFC
Image of Paige VanZant: Retrieved from Maxim
Image of Cris Cyborg: Retrieved from the Bleacher Report