Sports like wrestling and boxing are training women to be as aggressive as men.
I know this question is the most politically incorrect one could raise in these exultant, post-Olympic days and that I’ll be met with shouts of derision or sheer disbelief, but I’ll ask it anyway: should women engage in the sport of boxing? When I saw the photographs of Olympians Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams fighting in the ring I felt aghast – and I still feel that way. It might seem a victory in the on-going feminist struggle for women’s complete equality with men, but it strikes me as a hollow victory; a blow against the nature of womankind; indeed, a step backwards for civilization.
I had better state here that I have absolutely nothing against the two young women who won their boxing gold medals. I understand that Katie Taylor, aged 26, who won Ireland’s first gold medal as a lightweight, and who already has won four world and five European titles, is an evangelical Christian who regularly attends a Pentecostal church and who prays before her fights. In almost any other sport she would make an excellent role model. She is now wondering whether to turn professional. Nicola Adams, aged 29 and from Leeds, a flyweight, who has struggled for years to get sponsorship, sounds equally talented, dedicated, modest and charming. She has commented that “It’s great to think girls might take up the sport because of me. It’s a great sport and it’s an honour that people are looking up to me in that way.”
Scouring the newspapers for a smidgeon of support for my own position, I have not been able to find one dissenting voice in the accolades Katie and Nicola have been receiving. Jonathan McEvoy in The Mail On-Line enthuses, “You have to remind yourself the two slight figures in the ring, hidden behind their head guards, are not blokes.” He reflects, “At the acute risk of being called a chauvinist, I had…some misgivings. I am not sure my concerns amounted to a reasoned objection. If women want to box, who are we men, or indeed their fellow women, to say they shouldn’t? Nor is it a logical misgiving when you consider that women take part in rugby, taekwondo and wrestling. They can all be more injurious than amateur boxing with its protective gear…” Watching Nicola Adams in the ring he is quite won over: she “even had this sceptic’s support, 100%.”
Amir Khan, the 2004 Olympic boxing silver medalist, is on record as having once said, “Deep down I think women shouldn’t fight. When you get hit it hurts. It can be very painful”. It appears he has now changed his mind. He wants to promote Nicola Adams, declaring “I’m happy to take Nicola under my wing. I will make her a world champion.” Sir Clive Woodward of the British Olympic Association is also a champion of women’s boxing, stating exultantly that “We have arrived at true equality.”
I am sorry to sound a curmudgeon in all this. I am just wondering if everyone is too punch-drunk at the sight of our gleaming gold medal table to ask if it is appropriate for women to punch each other hard on the head and face in several bouts, with a view to knocking each other down (or out?) Women are not the same as men so why do we have this need to prove ourselves “equal” to them in every way? The sexes are different in personality and character as well as in physique; they are complementary, not interchangeable. Men are physically stronger, more aggressive; they are the sex who traditionally went into battle to protect the hearth and home. Women were supposedly the gentler sex in the best sense so it was thought, with gifts of compassion, caring, sympathy and intuition; the sex that civilized men by creating a home for them and their children (or in these days, creating a kinder, more humane atmosphere in the office). Why is it “chauvinistic” to say this, or to feel you have to apologize for acknowledging, as Jonathan McEvoy has admitted, that you have “misgivings”? Why are Amir Khan’s instincts “deep down” now seen as wrong?
The age of women’s rights began with a noble cause: the right to vote. But this endless battle for literal “equality” has ended by making fools of us all. Personally, I think we are all pretending we enjoy watching women, looking at a distance “like blokes” in their protective head guards, attacking other women in a deliberately aggressive, close contact sport that has been traditionally and rightly a male preserve. Either people are afraid to say the sight makes them uneasy or everyone has become more decadent in their tastes. For the record, and as McEvoy raised it, I also don’t like the thought of women doing taekwondo, wrestling or rugby, other masculine-type contact sports. It’s not that they are “unladylike”, a word with class connotations of “gentility”. It’s that they are unwomanly in its deepest sense. They are training women to be aggressive – and men are already aggressive enough.
I am not trying to stereotype women as shrinking violets. Catholics have the person of Our Lady as a model and guide. She was amazingly strong, steadfast and courageous – but also intrinsically feminine, not a pagan warrior queen. If we want women to behave like the fabled Amazons we are embracing neo-paganism. Judaeo-Christianity once gave us a more truly civilized sense of the particular genius of women – and it did not include participating in essentially male sports. Perhaps in countries where a Catholic culture is still alive or in a faith where women can identify with strong role models like Edith Stein or Blessed Gianna Molla, there is less of a craving to imitate men?
I think I’ll need protective head gear for saying all this.
1. There's nothing aggressive about boxing or other martial arts. Boxing teaches you to be assertive, not aggressive and there's a huge difference.
2. Are there any other "sports" where the purpose of the sport is to physically injure the other person in order to be victorious?
3. People can dislike boxing for many valid reasons. People can particularly dislike women's boxing because women are more physically vulnerable. These people are not necessarily chauvinistic, sexist or disgraceful.
Meena Julian Lord • 3 years ago
My posting is 100% factual - save the very last sentence, which is my opinion.
Krisco Williams • 3 years ago
You are not alone. I too agree with you. There are many more but they might not come out and say so.
Mother of a boxing woman • 3 years ago
If you are going to drag Our Lady into your justification, I'm sure she would be against men fighting also.
Carl • 3 years ago
I think that boxing is very degrading to the character and nature of women.
Ronk • 3 years ago
No you are not alone. The writers you quote, and most of the commenters here, have confused EQUAL with IDENTICAL.
Ron Van Wegen • 3 years ago
Are there any other "sports" where the purpose of the sport is to physically injure the other person in order to be victorious?
Certainly, injuries happen in all sports but they are not willed directly.
I believe that deliberately attempting to destroy a part of God's creation without due cause is immoral.
I'm a man and an orthodox Catholic and I have deeply considered this for many years.
I also know that I enjoy watching boxing but I refuse to watch it.
I congratulate the author of this article and I challenge others to use reason and Catholic teaching to argue their point.
One final question...
Men are not allowed to hit "below the belt" for obvious reasons.
Are women allowed to hit below the neck?
Both men and women of traditional character must stand against the efforts to eliminate cultural gender differences. Those difference are biologically based but can superficially be made to seem environmentally based by gender bending social engineers, through television and film propaganda. About 15% of women are indeed born more masculine than average women but they should not be allowed to force upon the other 85% their perverse ideology of eliminating femininity.
Emma07 • 2 years ago
I agree with Jessica - why do women always need to be like men? Surely if we are secure in our gender, we don't need to do the same things as men - we are equal definitely, but also different and rightly so. Too much of today's secular, aesthetic culture promotes the masculinity of women rather than the wonderful women we were born and created to be
Pragmatist • 2 years ago
How sad that you feel that only men should express aggression physically. You say it makes you feel "uneasy." Perhaps you should explore why you feel that way. What makes me uneasy is the fact that a woman would subscribe to any notion that limits her possibilities in this life. What a small and limited world to live in when you allow your genitalia to decide what you can and cannot do.
But that's not really the problem is it? No. The real problem is that your generation specifically has been inundated with chauvinist notions. You feel uneasy because you've been taught to feel uneasy. Search yourself, search your faith, and be free from notions that would force you into a corner. Are you just as "uneasy" when you see a man cry? It's equivalent, right? Crying is reserved for women, not men, right? To say otherwise, you would have to expose yourself as a hypocrite.
Also, be careful in saying that it's in a man's nature to be aggressive. That opens a whole world of writing off needless aggressive acts that result in rape and death to the fact that they simply can't help themselves. Genitalia do not entitle anyone to anything. I'm actually very frightened by your viewpoint, no matter how well you present and sugar-coat it.
Becky • 2 years ago
Katie Taylor and Nicola Adams box not because they want to be in equal with men, but because they fell in love with the sport. I think it's people like you, who think women should so nothing but sit at home over a stove with a baby on her hip, waiting for her husband to come home to jump to his every need are truly the reason are society is, as you said, "uncivilized". People have the right to pursue whatever career they want and indeed take part in any sport they want. The fact that you think a woman should not take part in boxing, despite her passion and hard work is sexist and disgraceful. You should be ashamed to even suggest this in your article. Is like to see you actually suggest to Katie or her father, Peter that women shouldn't box. I'd bring some headgear if I was you.
Rosie19 • 2 years ago
I am the proud mum of 2 girls, both boxers. My eldest is in the army, has served her time in Afghanistan and is now planning her wedding..... A more girly girl you could not find! My youngest had a boxing match this last weekend, she is 14 and knocked her opponent out before the end of the first round. She has also done modelling for a catalogue company and has been on numerous CBBC programmes as an extra. Both of my girls are beautiful and feminine and this is their chosen sport. They show a dedication and commitment to none. Neither of my girls are "aggressive" and certainly do not show any anger towards others outside of the ring. They show a commitment and dedication that is second to none. They are both extremely easy going and lovely girls and love nothing more than shopping, after training, on a Saturday morning, talking about hair and make up and boys with their friends.
Why don't you try getting to know some of our female boxers before judging them!?
Nammy • 2 years ago
Women boxing is not about being more like men. I just took up boxing because I like it. Boxing is not teaching me to be aggressive. I have no desire to "fight" anyone outside of the gym. Since I started boxing, I actually feel more feminine. I am more confident and in better shape. Also, one does not have to be a Christian to be a good role model. I am a Buddhist. Yes, I am a non-violent Buddhist who likes boxing. People do not fit into nice little boxes. We are all complex. You also have the right to express your opinion, though. That is okay. It is no skin off my Buddhist boxing self. Good luck to you. Have a nice day!
Sam • a year ago
Not to offend anyone but this really bothers me. Why must us women are expected to do girly things like shopping and not experience life like men do. If I'm a girl and have a passion to box then I should be able to box. It's not about women trying to do manly things just to make a point. If a woman has a passion to do a sport, even if it is a man dominated sport, they should have every right to do so.
chiefkeef • a year ago
So true women are not designed to be aggressive or take part in men's sports like boxing rugby etc. it's a laugh to watch them trying though
M.c juggar chiefkeef • a year ago
Well, if they are an experienced female boxer they look exactly like the men just watch them side by side. And boxing isn't about brute strength; it's about stability and punching at the right time and place.
Miss Donna • a year ago
There's nothing aggressive about boxing or other martial arts. Boxing teaches you to be assertive, not aggressive and there's a huge difference. I challenge you to go to a dojo and find the aggressive behavior you disapprove of. On the soccer pitch and at the ballet school, yes, at the dojo, no. I'm a 53 year old Catholic woman AND a boxer.
Amen to that. Ms. Phillips, you obviously have no idea what boxing is really about. Experienced boxers know that nothing about boxing is masculine or aggressive. It's just about being human, pushing your emotional and physical boundaries, learning how to face your fears, amongst many other things. The sport is a great tool in life that should have absolutely nothing to do with gender.
Old stager • recently
As a former male boxer, want to express some opinion about the discussion.
1. Most female boxers box not because they want to be in equal with men but because they fell in love with the sport - TRUE
2. A woman should not have any external constraints to her possibilities in her life - TRUE
3. There's nothing aggressive about boxing or other martial arts - NOT TRUE
Yes, boxing develops discipline and ability to control emotions and move aggression to
the right direction. However, when you fight your goal is to punch as hard as possible
in order to make maximum damage to opponent's brain or his/her other key organs. Look
at boxing instructions which explain how to properly hit the opponent's head in
order to cause abrupt brain liquid move which might leave a boxer unconscious.
There are no sports other than boxing and similar martial arts where the
purpose of the sport is to physically injure the other person and make him or
her unconscious in order to be victorious.
Conclusion: People can dislike boxing for many valid reasons. People can particularly dislike women's boxing because women are more physically vulnerable. These people are not necessarily chauvinistic, sexist or disgraceful.