“S#X AND VIOLENCE” - THE WOMEN OF BOXING
10.31.04 - By Wray Edwards: In my last article “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” reference was made to three recent examples of popular culture. They were, in order: 1. a paraphrase from the Opra Winfrey Show in which women were discussing their preferences, 2. a common question asked by fast food servers and, 3. a famous scene in which Meg Ryan demonstrates for Billy Crystal how women fool men under certain circumstances.
Article posted on 31.10.2004
By the way some reacted to the references, you would think that the examples were blatant pornography rather than a bit of tongue-in-cheek innuendo. Let’s do a reality check – shall we? The primary subject matter for entertainment on this planet is sex and violence, and Boxing is
twenty-five percent sex and seventy-five percent violence. The TV show “Baywatch” is one of the best examples of this premise, and it became the number one show in the world. Boxing is not a sterile showcase for pure violence hosted by dour people in tuxedos.
After the first round, every other round begins with an almost naked, very attractive woman vamping around the ring in a very sexy manner holding the round number card. Friday Night Fights shows her about once, Showbox recently showed her between each round and HBO usually tries to avoid the slightest hint that she is even there. Generally, TV crew members hover over the boxer’s corners with shotgun mikes, trying to pick up the corner conversations between rounds. These highly directional mikes seldom pick up what is going on away from the corner.
The difference between being in the arena and watching on TV is huge in this respect. In person at the arena one hears loud whistles, cat calls and a general hubbub over the appearance of this delicious honey. Sports promoters have not lost sight of the importance of the connection between sex and violence. Is there anything wrong with this? The answer is most assuredly NO!
Healthy red-blooded fight fans appreciate the exciting contrast between the bikini babe and the big, hairy, sweaty fighters. It’s nice to take a little break from the violent mayhem, and look at a little beauty before the beasts resume their attacks. Frankly, the yammering of the trainer between rounds is pretty much the same old yadda, yadda from fight-to-fight which I would rather not listen to. Let's see the babe!
It’s analogous to a sip of wine or water during a meal to refresh the palate before getting back to ripping into that helpless Porterhouse. Boxing shares this provision of alternating to soft and sexy with other contact sports. The Lakers have their cheerleaders, the Cowboys have their leggy review and still, certain auto racing events have the trophy girl who kisses the winner. In case you hadn’t noticed, the Cowgirls’ and Lakerettes’ dance routines are not exactly the minuet. There is a lot of hip shaking and pelvic thrusting which does not make me think of relining the brakes on my car.
In 1819 the poet Keats wrote: “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty, -that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” Well, that might serve to evaluate a Grecian urn, but had this Guy been confronted by the willowy siren in the green dress in Cheech Marin’s “Born in East L.A.”, he would have waxed more than poetic. This writer wrote in 1975 that “Beauty is Power and THAT is all one needs to know. Just ask Samson, Achilles, King Kong or Quasimodo and a more poignant line applies: “Ah yes – twas Beauty tamed the beast.” The bell-ringer in boxing brings forth beauty before each round, and that’s the way it should be. Helen may have launched a thousand ships for one war, but the cuties of Boxing have launched millions of rounds.
And if you think that these women are not appropriate in this setting just consider this: Boxing is all about Power, Dominance, Agility and Control. The same is absolutely true about good looking women. As the men compete by physical contact, the women use their beauty weapons to confront each other and, for that matter, control men.
If you doubt that in the least, just consider the adjectives used to describe a beautiful woman. To wit: What a bombshell, drop dead good looks, to die for, femme fatal, and – my personal favorite – “She’s a knockout!” Notice anything? That last one is an actual reference to Boxing. Female attractiveness is compared to lethal or loss of consciousness impact. Be still my heart.
Back around the turn of the last century Gentleman Jim wore a literal but-floss outfit, possibly paying homage to the Greek era in which athletic competitors were actually buck naked; Pretty bold, considering the era’s proximity to Victorian values. I’m sure the few ladies present were well amused.
These days the boxers wear really dorky baggies with advertisements on them. Contrast is the word; it’s the yin and yang, the sweet and sour, the agony and the ecstasy which makes human life a vital adventure. This sport, which has brought the two seemingly unrelated words “sweet” and “science” together, is a lusty and passionate field of dreams.
The archetypal image of the alluring female strutting her stuff while the bucks clash horns, is well-served by Boxing which satisfies our basic animal humanity. Another article on this site referred to the microcosmic nature of boxing compared to the human condition. It goes even deeper than that.
When all other forms of organized conflict break down, hand-to-hand combat is always the final decider. Rather than the anonymous individual in the enemy uniform across the field, it is close-up, looking the other guy right in the eye as you put him down. During WWII one of the most powerful reminders of home and the good life was the pin-up girl. Many species in the animal world, of which we are a part, practice some form of mating combat. One-on-one, the guy in the white hat defeats the guy in the black hat, gets the girl, and rides off into the sunset.
Now, back to the subject at hand. I have spoken with several of these ring girls/women. Every one has said they really enjoy the gig. They like the whistles and cat calls knowing that they can be appreciated and stir things up. Just as the boxers enjoy the cheers of their fans, the ring girls take great pleasure in the power they possess.
Come to think of it, what better way to get more testosterone flowing in the arena as lusty, nearly naked women parade around while the gladiators are making their pit stops? It is a genius idea to layer the sensual beauty of dominant females between the harsh periods in combat of the most macho males in our society.
Yes, there are lady boxers, some of whom are very attractive, but they are hardly there for their looks and I enjoy some of their matches. There is nothing chauvinist in these observations, for if women go to the lengths they do to appear attractive, then they must accept, and, frankly, do enjoy the consequences. Boxing is a ribald sport populated with violent young men, greedy promoters, slick managers and a general atmosphere of chaos and danger.
The Marquis of Queensberry may have insinuated a few gentlemanly attributes into this form of sanctioned dueling, but I’m thankful that Boxing provides this one minute of erotic contrast to the three minutes of blood and guts. These ladies are an integral part of the pugilistic pageant and provide indispensable contrast to the general scene. Long live the round card girls! They are sugar and spice and everything nice until the bell rings for the next frame.
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