Imagine being laid up for a few months with a broken foot and ankle, and the sedentary lifestyle gets to you. This is something that psychologist Binnie Kline had enough of and decided to get up and put on a pair of boxing gloves.
Klein chronicled her new found sport in “Blows to the Head” which is available now. She stopped by “Sportsgeeks” to talk about the future of women in combat sports and some of the inequality they face.
It wasn’t long ago that women were relegated to be ring card girls, but Kline says that these women shouldn’t be a determent to the sport.
“When I interviewed a particular author of a boxing memoir, I asked him how he felt about the ring card girls,” Kline remembers. “I as a feminist felt kind of uncomfortable with how skimpily they would be dressed. I would be at a fight and people would be hooting and hollering. He said the most interesting thing. He said, ‘Look. If I am in there being celebrated and focused on for my athletic abilities and these women are beautiful, why shouldn’t they celebrate their beauty?’”
Klein says that people are still getting used to the fact that women want to take up combat sports, and says that there are still inequalities when it comes to pay and recognition. She recounted a women boxer who was a heavy hitter in her own right.
“In a recent television program, they did an experiment to see pound for pound if Lucia Rijker could punch like a man and she proved that she could.”
The transition of female boxers into MMA has been a trend, and Klein says that gym owners are starting to see the huge popularity of MMA training.
“I remember the day that the ring was installed at the Fighting Fitness gym, and we were all incredibly excited. I remember coach John Spehar telling me, ‘I would also like to get a cage.’ I’m like, ‘You just got a ring. Now you want a cage?’”
Klien recognized that women have come a long way, and still have a ways to go. Don’t expect the numbers of females to dwindle anytime soon, however.
“I don’t think they are going to go away at all,” Klein stated. “If my little boxing gym is any indication, women are coming of all ages. They are doing it for different reasons, and they are drawn to the sport. Some of them are going to go on to compete. Some of them are going to be involved in the sport one way or another; whether it is writing about it, whether it is becoming a referee or becoming a ringside physician. I don’t see them stopping anytime soon.”
If there is one thing that Klein hopes for the book, is that more women try combat sports.
“I want to encourage people to push the envelope,” Klein confessed. “To take that risk. To do things people might find to be weird or uncharacteristic of you.”