Nice effort, but why?


Nice effort, but why?

People: Hard Hitting Women
Friday, June 9, 8.30pm (8 Adelaide)

"People enjoy seeing the excitement of a fight" in any sport, claim the organisers of the first women's British boxing championships. Those who prefer to watch boxing are just being more honest about it.

This program traces women boxers participating in Europe's first all-women's international boxing tournament. They include Jane "Rocky" Johnson, Sam Beckford, Dawn Davies and Jennifer Achan as they train and size themselves and each other up before the competition. The program also follows Irish boxer Deirdre Gogarty as she travels to the USA for a world title fight.

All the women discuss their reasons for boxing. Deirdre's US opponent in the title fight admits she took up boxing to transfer her aggressive, uncontrolled behaviour — "I used to get into fights a lot" — into the legitimacy of the ring.

They're not all the kind of women you would expect to fit the stereotype of women boxers. Physically fit and strong, they also express concerns about their image from being involved in a non-traditional sport. "My only problem with being a female boxer is what people think ... they might think I'm 'butch' as they say, that's my main fear", confesses Deirdre. Jane admits that she knows very few women involved in the sport, except herself, who are lesbians.

They are an interesting bunch, and certainly have to work extremely hard to prove themselves in an overwhelmingly male-dominated sport. Nevertheless, I couldn't escape an impression similar to that I have when confronted with the debate concerning the right of lesbians and gay men to serve in the military.

Certainly, on the grounds of equality, lesbians and gays should have the right. Similarly, women of course have the right to participate in boxing as a sport, and should get equal coverage and financial support.

Nevertheless, I question why any person would choose to do either. In the world title fight, Deirdre inflicts a broken nose and very black eye on her opponent. In the military, as the old saying goes, you meet interesting people and kill them. All for the profits of the warmongers in their boardrooms.

I look forward to the day when feminism means a bit more than playing the same old games with some women in the ring.