A blog about how Ring Girls belong to a bygone sexist era and I thus question the sexism still pervading boxing and mixed martial arts!
So, I turn on my facebook this morning and see a photo from some MMA website of a lady called Rhona Rousey, with only her fighting fists covering her breasts and some handy camera work keeping her modesty. I am not going to lie, as they wanted, I was slightly turned on because Rhonda is a very attractive young woman, but my overriding emotion was one of utter dismay. I looked at the image and shook my head in utter disappointment at Rhonda Rousey for agreeing to do such a photo. I did so because Rhonda is currently big news in the USA, namely because she is the first newly crowned female champion of the the biggest mixed martial arts organisation at the moment called The UFC(Ultimate Fighting Championship). At a time when female boxing and mixed martial arts are finally starting to get taken seriously by media and people alike, doing such ‘sexy photos’ can do nothing but potentially harm and undermine their cause. This then made me start thinking of another issue I have with boxing and MMA, namely the phenomena of bloody silly RING GIRLS. For the last five to six years I have been frequently moaning and tweeting how it is about time they no longer existed.
Ring Girls and such photos like the Rhonda Rousey one I described really annoy me because they implicitly imply that all men are nothing more, than carnivorous sex starved hungry creatures, that think about nothing else but sex twenty-four seven. A lot of mainstream advertising similarity transmits such connotations still and as an educated thirty something man,I want to explicitly greatly reject this!
About two months ago I went on to facebook and saw a scantily clad photo of the UFC no 1 Ring Girl, Arianny Celeste. I cannot remember exactly what I wrote below the photo but it was along the lines of , I watch fights to marvel at talented fighters, not to get titillated at such Ring Girls. I then popped on again a few hours later and some immature kid/adolescent had written me some homophobic abuse at me, saying was I that word that rhymes with maggot??? As I have friends that are gay I was so angry at this churlish remark by this uneducated numpty. I do not communicate with such prejudiced people but if I had I’d have gone, “NO IDIOT, I’M A HETROSEXUAL MAN WITH A BRAIN…WHO WON’T GO ALONG ANYMORE WITH THIS SEXIST ASSUMPTION ABOUT STRAIGHT MEN” EG I dont think about sex all of the time. I suppose I can not blame the Ring Girls themselves because they are just trying to make a decent living like everybody else. I guess my main bone of contention should be with the companies and promoters that employ them. I watch UFC events and when the cameras focus on the Ring Girs being all cutesy and flirty with the camera, I JUST CRINGE…..I’m not that sad to get off on that thank you very much. You’re telling me men who order these Pay-Per-Views, wouldn’t anymore if these women didn’t exist….I hardly think so? Therefore, it is time for this sexist,archaic element of combat sports to no longer exist!
Please do not get me wrong, boxing and MMA have come along way with sexism and female representation through the years. For example, the last Olympics had female boxing in it for the first time which was a great success. Irish boxer Katie Taylor is a sporting icon within Ireland and after winning a Gold Medal with Team GB, the immensely likeable Nicola Adams has become somewhat of a household name within Britain. Although still in its infancy, the UFC now thankfully has female fighters on it’s roster. It is also a welcome sight to see a female referee officiating mens fights in the UFC, namely Kim Winslow. Yes of course there needs to be more female fighters,judges and referees etc, but positively changes are starting to happen in this respect.
I have to question therefore why in the background of the changing positive representations of women in boxing and MMA, the presence of sexist Ring Girls still pervade these two industries? In an ever changing world where sexism is no longer tolerated thank goodness, I do not understand why Ring Girls are? I was so disappointed a few years with the UFC when they constantly promoted one of their Ring Girls(Arianny Celeste) being in the latest PLAYBOY magazine. Again, I’m not against PLAYBOY per se but what I was against was with it’s close association with the no 1 mixed martial arts brand. How does this help the sport grow and become mainstream…..the simple answer is that it it doesn’t! Perhaps I am missing something but I am unable to comprehend how seeing a Ring Girl during the fights enhances your enjoyment of them? There are so many competing sports out there competing for mainstream media coverage, surely the connotations of girls walking around the ring or cage with hardly any clothes on can only harm this? Or OK, if you continue to persist with this phenomena, then where are the Ring Boys for the ever increasing numbers of female heterosexual boxing and MMA spectators? Either way I do not watch sport for cheap titillation and it is about time more men like me with a brain, said out loud they were no longer willing to be patronised like this. I love boxing and MMA because I watch on in awe at these greatly skilled modern day Gladiators competing for glory and fulfillment .WHEREAS LOOKING AT RING GIRLS PRANCE AROUND THE RING OR OCTAGON WITH THEIR FAKE SMILES AND FAKE BOOBS, THEY DON’T TITILLATE ME, THEY JUST INFURIATE ME!!!!!