Boxing and Gender Politics

[He began a discussion on boxing with someone. Of course, she had Things to Say. Yes, she is always allowed to butt in.]

[he said (to another party decrying the brutality of the sport)]

As are all contact sports. Boxing is no different. There are higher serious injury statistics in football, hockey, and lacrosse than boxing. People’s perceptions about boxing are somewhat skewed – Ever seen a football hall of famer? Much worse shape than boxing, mostly because you don’t fight as often as you take the gridiron, as they say.

For every force, and all that.

I always find it interesting that people can be so against boxing, and so laissez faire about other contact sports, that injure far greater numbers.

[she said]

My thang: I don’t really care what people do to themselves with full knowledge of the risks.

I can’t say it doesn’t bother me that there is a market for it. Boxing is the closest thing we have to gladiatorial games. It isn’t our best side. I suspect over the next century or so the sport will evolve into something nonviolent.

[he said]

I respectfully disagree. Football is far more dangerous, as for the long lasting injuries. Than hockey. Than lacrosse. Than boxing. Just look at the insurance premiums – they know.

Personally, I prefer 1 on 1 competition, and boxing and racing (swimming/biking/running) are the height of this because they are the purest forms of direct competition.

Either way. Bad fights are terrible to watch, where as most people see the beauty of an Ali fight.

I will say this: I would really like to see pro boxing adopt head gear and move to the Olympic format. It’s safer, and more about boxing – not knocking out. The objective should not be injury, rather, skill, strength, conditioning, heart.

[she said]

Are you getting me mixed up with [other person]? I didn’t mention relative injury rates, and I don’t doubt you. It isn’t about that. When I say boxing is the closest thing we have to gladiatorial games, I’m talking about an individual competition where the goal of the game is to injure your opponent. That’s what people find offensive–the idea, not the reality. In other sports, injury is collateral damage. In boxing, injury is the point. That is probably a big reason why boxing is safer–the sheer violence has never been ignored or swept under the carpet, and considerable compensation has been made.

I question my own qualification to debate the matter. The collective recoiling from violent sports is part of a feminizing of culture; the over-arching (recent) idea that what is male is bad, and what is female is good. I strongly disagree with this. I am, however, female. Society is still (of course) heavily biased toward the male. I want balance, but it’s not for me to say what must be kept on the male side of that equation. To generalize, men receive a level of emotional gratification from sports that I cannot fathom. I’m reluctant to withdraw that because I find it distasteful or uncivilized. It could very well just be something I don’t understand.

I don’t think men and women have to share everything, or that either gender should become the other. This extends to larger society, and we can’t expect every activity to be “safe” for both genders, or that we will always understand the other gender.

How’s that for broadening the scope of the argument?

[he said]

[really nice things that embarrassed her]

2 Responses to Boxing and Gender Politics

  1. jane/jen says:

    You should read The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay. Don’t look at the movie, though…totally different story.

  2. Cat says:

    Jeeze…I just figured out who the jane/jen person is. HI!!! I like your new look. You’re a big namedropper tho. 😉