Waldo Rastel (formerly known as waldo47 on the site) joins the staff today, and takes a look at the AIBA's belief that female boxers in the 2012 Olympics must wear skirts so that they can be "differentiated" from the men.
Women's boxing is set to be an official Olympic sport in London 2012, which means that we get to be introduced to the world of amateur women's boxing. I am by no means an expert or even an ardent follower of this flavor of the sweet science but I came upon a story earlier this week that piqued my interest. About a year ago the President of the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) Ching-Kuo Wu made a statement to the press about the endorsement of skirts in women's boxing. From Christine Brennan at USA Today:
"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," Amateur International Boxing Association President Ching-Kuo Wu told the Albany, N.Y., Times Union back in September 2010.
I have no problem with skirts being an option for women in amateur boxing, but what happened last week crossed the line in my mind. According to an editorial from Kathryn Bertine of ESPNW, the AIBA is asking all of its competitors to comply with a new dress code that would include the use of skirts. The main reason was similar to the sentiments in the block quotation. Women need to look feminine so that the fans can distinguish them from men. Does the opposite also apply? Should we limit men so that they don't wear those gladiator skirt things they sometimes wear in the ring? Are we going to have to limit the amount of fringe in the ring at any time? (Sorry Paulie!)
I truly don't care what the two combatants look like. If the two people in the ring can show off large the finer points of the sweet science, then I really could care less if they are a man or a woman. This should be true of anybody who considers themselves a boxing fan. Also this notion that having the women in skirts is going to up fan viewership is ludicrous. Boxing isn't beach volleyball. These are athletic destruction machines, who have the one goal of destroying their opponents. Don't believe me? Look at the picture of Ann Wolfe next to Kirkland posted at the top of this story. I am not afraid of many things, but I am terrified of Ann Wolfe. If she put on a skirt, I would be terrified of Ann Wolfe in a skirt. It doesn't make her sexier or more feminine, it makes her wearing a skirt much like a dude in a gladiator skirt is simply a dude in a skirt. That's my viewpoint on this issue but what do you guys think? Do you think someone needs to up the sex factor to get people interested in women's boxing or does it denigrate the combatants?