After an extended absence, I have returned! *The crowd roars!* I was attending the Amnesty International Midwest Regional Conference in Kansas City, and it was a blast. But now it’s time to get back into the swing of things with a Weekly WTF.

According to the BBC, there is an internal debate within the boxing community on whether women boxers should wear skirts in the ring. Yeah, evidently that’s a thing. At last year’s World Championships, the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) encouraged female boxers to wear miniskirts instead of shorts. The AIBA wanted to phase in skirts over time. However, even a year later at last week’s World Championships, only two teams wore skirts. One of those teams, Poland, made the skirts mandatory. Because skirts are “elegant.” And ladies should always be elegant.

I bet I can guess what you’re thinking, because it’s probably the same thing I thought. Who cares if women wear shorts while boxing? It’s two people pummeling each other. Think again, stupid! There is a very serious problem these skirts are designed to address. People can’t tell men and women apart!

I have heard many times, people say, ‘We can’t tell the difference between the men and the women,’ especially on TV, since they’re in the same uniforms and are wearing headgear,” Dr. [Ching-Kuo] Wu [President of the AIBA] said.


I don’t watch boxing. I don’t know how hard it is to tell the difference between men and women boxers. But my sense is that this is incredibly disingenuous. But, like I said, I don’t watch boxing, so I can’t speak from experience. Besides, there’s a bigger problem here.

Why do people have to know? I’ll say it again, these are people who pummel each other for our entertainment. Does the gender of the people doing the pummeling really matter?

I suspect the real issue here is this: People need to know when it’s OK to not take the sport seriously. Oh, it’s just the ladies. Tell me when the real men come out. It’s all about belittling kick-ass female athletes.

There is nothing, I suppose, inherently belittling about a skirt. I wear skirts sometimes. But it’s this idea that women always have play by certain rules that men don’t have to play by. That women should always dress and act a certain way, and that way is to please male audiences. It’s disgusting.

I usually don’t like to use other people’s words too much on this blog, but Michael Rivest at The Times Union gets it so right:

The comparison between sexism and racism is too rarely made, but it is apt. If Black Olympic athletes were asked to wear something – anything – on their uniforms to distinguish them from white Olympians, the world would explode in opposition, as it should. And what if that distinguishing mark was not a color, nor a stripe, but something much more provocative – like, say, shackles. It even hurts to write it.

Yet women athletes, human beings with prodigious talent and a ferocity of soul sufficient to have arrived on the international stage as fighters, are given skirts.

Seriously. WTF?

Image credit: Generation Bass