Being a “fighter girl”- stereotypes you deal with

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    Chad Moechnig
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    dl_angel
    Post subject: Being a “fighter girl”- stereotypes you deal with PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:00 am

    Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:49 pm
    Posts: 150
    Location: Austin, Texas
    Ok so I was writing another post and I just felt the need to complain about the stereotypes because it has become even MORE frustrating for me recently. Spend so much time trying to get people to think about it all differently- but it’s REAL hard.

    Here’s some examples:

    Like- I send my brother pics of beautiful fighters because he tells me, “NO guy will date a girl who’s gonna get punched in the face.. (sorta with the attitude that they’ll get all ugly)” So “Oh you wouldn’t date HER or HER or HER?!”

    Then my friend told me that maybe this person had mistaken me for a lesbian because I was a “tomboy” and do “lots of boy things”… the “lesbian” stuff is getting old.

    Then there’s the initial introductions when they find out what you do… I’ve gotta correct people about my not doing CARDIO kickboxing, then “No I’m not a lesbian” then “No I don’t ENJOY getting hit in the face and the idea is not to” and “NO I don’t like violence”… then “Flex for me” or “Wow you have bigger muscles than me!” (I think I’ve gotta stop dating smaller guys)… and during it all, it just sounds like the person is kinda mocking me behind it all (but maybe that’s my impression).

    Anyhow, every time I go out with my friends from school (primarily female) I get the “look at danielle’s muscles” crap and it makes me pretty uncomfortable because 1) they’re not that big (everyone else is just small cuz they don’t exercise at all) and 2) I just spent an hour getting ready and you’re looking at something that you see EVERY day. It’s embarassing mostly because there’s at least 2 or 3 other girls just as “big” as I am, but I’m the “strong” one? They all do more weight lifting than I do (couple of girls do triathalons, some just like to lift). If you wanna talk about my sport, great, but my body is not a conversation topic (not to say I’m not proud of it).

    So I’m thinking that I haven’t even begun fighting (I imagine it isn’t going to get better)…. I just train a LOT right now… so I’d love to hear some of the things that people have said to you/stereotyped you as being/etc. and if you’ve been able to change people’s minds, what you did to do it?

    From what I see, a lot of women in the sport date other fighters… is this because you both love the sport or because it’s hard to find guys who understand what you do? Or both? (I have gotten asked the same “Do you like getting hit?” question multiple times by the same guy… sorta freaked me out… he had a REAL hard time wrapping his brain around the whole “I don’t LIKE violence” thing)

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    Mma girl
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 8:46 am

    Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 12:58 am
    Posts: 35
    Location: Huddersfield, UK
    I can understand how you feel about this stuff, I get a lot from my family about, your looking way too thin and lean, are you eating properly and also, how can you so this stuff, you’ve always got bruises and you look lvery pale lately ( i think they’re just trying to find excuses to make me think its bad.).

    I don’t find I have a problem with people commenting on my body though. I am a very outgoing person and i have never had a nice figure before so now I have I feel really flattered that people notice that I’m in great shape and work really hard on it.

    I’ve not encountered the lesbian thing yet though, but i spend most of my time around other fighters, so I don’t have much chance.

    As for dating fighters, I know now I’m dating one, I couldn’t go back to dating someone outside the sport, I think for many reasons. a) because we do both love the sport and all the training is easier for your partner to encourage and understand, b) because I see so many guys who can fight and are in fight shape that i don’t find regular guys really attractive anymore c) because all my interets are in fighting and fight related topics and someone not into fighting would get very bored of me very quikly and d) because I couldn’t imagine ever splitting up with my current boyfirend.

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    Anthea
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 11:23 am
    Pro Fighter

    Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 10:08 pm
    Posts: 120
    Location: New Zealand
    I always feel a bit hesitant to tell people what i do because of the “oh you must be violent” stereotypes, but at the same time i can’t wait to get it out because i love talking about fighting (it’s hard to shut me up once i start…)! Annoyingly, when i do initially tell people, i quite often get “you? fight? but you’re so little!”. 👿

    But yeah, it is really hard to explain to people, especially older people like my parents friends etc, some are really good though, but other times i find myself constantly having to defend myself and my sport which gets me rather agitated.

    Haha funny story: i was on the advertising poster for one of our fight nights, i was the only girl on it with about 7 other guys. It was plastered all round town and it was quite funny how many people recognised me from it – i’d be at the gym working out and guys would come up and go “hey aren’t you that girl that was on that poster?”, then the next question was “wow so you fought ALL those guys?”!!! After the 3rd time it happened i decided to start answering “yes” just to shut them up hehe….

    I don’t have the whole “look at her muscles” problem cos i’m just a scrawny wee thing (but they are getting bigger- just not worthy of noticing… yet…), but i do get the same kind of stuff that MMa girl gets from her family (the whole bruise noticing and commenting on what i eat etc). As for boys well i’m in a bit of a predicament- i don’t want to date someone from my club (i’ve made it a rule for myself- ugh imagine spending 4 hours a day with them every day and then if it went bad you’d be stuffed!), but i find it hard to find guys outside of the fighting community that actually understand and support my love of fighting, so i kind of see it as a lose/lose situation. Hence my single status 😀

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    thomas
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2005 4:15 pm

    Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 5:42 am
    Posts: 54
    All I want to say is: not all guys are like that. I’m not a fighter, but i would always support my girlfriend if she chooses that sport. This is just like when I race with bicykle and people would ask me if I like to fall and break my bones. It’s silly.

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    KnockOut2
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 10:47 pm

    Joined: Mon Mar 01, 2004 6:19 pm
    Posts: 439
    Location: Louisville, KY
    Good topic.
    I’m curious to see more replies to this.

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    Maulinator
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:47 pm
    Pro Fighter

    Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:43 pm
    Posts: 451
    Location: Hawaii, fighting out of San Diego, CA
    I mostly get the “you must be a lesbian” or “you must be violent” thing most often. And the show me your muscles thing makes me uncomfortable too.

    Mentioned on the other thread though, is that the guys you train with forget that you can still be a lady to. Or asumptions that I must beat up my boyfriends or again don’t like to be treated like a lady.

    One thing I get too, which is not true and can put you in bad situations (which I believe may have been part of Marie’s situation in another post) is the assumption by other people that you can take on anyone or like to fight guys. The worst is when they want you to grapple them, for money or otherwise – not for real training purposes.

    The worst worst worst though, is if someone thinks that because you are a girl you don’t train as hard, don’t fight as hard, or can’t take the pain. or are just not as serious about it as the men. That one burns me more than anything. Especially because most of the women that I know that train and fight deal with and do double what the men do, and still walk out of the gym with a smile on their face (most of the time 😆 ). I guess that goes hand in hand with people assuming these are “cat fights” or that women have no technique, which again I believe is the total opposite of the truth.

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    thomas
    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 10:24 am

    Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 5:42 am
    Posts: 54
    You fighters (specially female) have more experiences than I, but I still think that assholes who ask such a stupidity, belong to loud minority. But they are loud and give wrong impression how numerically superior they are. Silent majority approve this or at least have no object to female fighting. We live in 21. century for god’s sake.

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    dl_angel
    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:27 pm

    Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:49 pm
    Posts: 150
    Location: Austin, Texas
    Quote:
    Especially because most of the women that I know that train and fight deal with and do double what the men do, and still walk out of the gym with a smile on their face (most of the time ).

    Absolutely- I’ve noticed at my gym that even the girls who don’t necessarily even fight (or want to) tend to still do 100% all the time. Notice a lot of guys slacking.. When we work pads, for example, the girls go the whole time vs. the guys will start switching pads over when the yellow light comes on… lol. I get SO upset. I was leading abs the other day and all the people on my side of the room were doing them and I look over and the guys are resting their legs on the ropes of the ring, chatting it up… it was sort of funny (particularly when I made them do extra abs fer doing it)…. reminds me of the 6-8th graders that I’m working with at my internship- they had that “I’ve been naughty” look… I even put on the “teacher” voice. 😉

    I was discussing pushups with another girl the other day and how hard it is to keep up with the guys, even if I do girl pushups- they do them so friggin FAST… I like to take my time, go all the way down, really feel it… well she injured her shoulder so she does squats and such during them… she’s like, “Yeh well you’re going the WHOLE way down- they’re doing 1/3 a pushup and coming back up…” HAHA… I felt SO much better.

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    Maulinator
    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 7:06 pm
    Pro Fighter

    Joined: Sat Feb 28, 2004 9:43 pm
    Posts: 451
    Location: Hawaii, fighting out of San Diego, CA
    thomas – Yeah you would think it was the 21st century, but there are still a lot of minds that are old school. Problem is that the ones who don’t support us have louder voices or are in positions of power more than the ones that do. I have a feeling the prejudice will never go away. But I think I speak for most of the other female fighters in the fact that we just accept it. For the most part anyway, you have to pick your battles. We just keep on keepin’ on and that is the best way to fight it. let ’em know they don’t phase us….

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    thomas
    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2005 8:34 am

    Joined: Tue May 04, 2004 5:42 am
    Posts: 54
    Maulinator wrote:
    I have a feeling the prejudice will never go away.

    Well… things are better than 15 years ago and after 15 years things will be much better than today. OK you maybe don’t have time to wait 15 years, but next generations will be in much better position than you are now. 8)
    Just one example: How many people come to watch the fights? Hundred…..few hundred…..thousand? Depend of “rank” of Tournament. And how many assholes harassing you after the fight with stupid questions? 10 or maybe 20. The others just buy ticket, watch the fight and go home. And half from those 10-20 morons are just a poor bastards, who don’t know how otherwise to approach you and just playing machos.:wink: I remember my self…hmmm… maybe 10 years ago watching semi or light contact tournament. There was two girls too. At this time was girls pretty rare in this sport. I specially like one and have no idea how to approach her. When I finally came near, my mind was blocked and I said the most stupid think on the world. Something like:” Damn, if we being a couple, i will have free body guard.” She gave me that look, like:”Gosh, you are pathetic!” and walk away. I turn out like complete idiot.:oops:
    Sad thing is what dl_angel said, that girls have problems with the guys in the same gym.:roll: But I’m pretty sure, that half of them just playing machos. Yes there is a certain percent of people who thing that womans place is in the kitchen.:lol: The best think is just to ignore them.

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    chaosine
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2005 2:24 pm

    Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2005 1:54 pm
    Posts: 5
    Location: Sweden
    Maulinator wrote:
    The worst worst worst though, is if someone thinks that because you are a girl you don’t train as hard, don’t fight as hard, or can’t take the pain. or are just not as serious about it as the men. That one burns me more than anything.

    Yeah – I totally agree! I don’t know if I’m being paranoid or if it’s true, but sometimes it’s like “oh cool, a girl who fights!” but some people seem to think we just do it for the sake of seeming cool and don’t take us seriously.

    *sigh*

    it’s relieving when your club stops seeing you as a girl and just sees you as a person with pretty much the same goals as the others there – training hard and becoming a damn good fighter 😀

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    Rikki
    Post subject: PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 11:06 am
    Instructor

    Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:56 am
    Posts: 915
    Location: Lexington, KY
    I have no friends outside of the sport (and family) so I don’t have to deal with these stereotypes. The people I train with respect my ability and hard work.
    I don’t care what others say about me; if it’s not true, why should it bother me….and if it is true, so what?
    I had to deal with stereotypes all through school because I was the “freak”. I still occasionally have to put up with those and I don’t wish to add my hobbies to the lists of things to worry over. 😛

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    Sassy
    Post subject: PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 11:19 am

    Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 7:35 am
    Posts: 8
    Location: Sweden
    I don’t have any friends who is in to fighting but I don’t see that as a problem ’cause they tend to just think it’s cool.
    But my ex-boyfriend thougt that I was a “tomboy”, but he never said anything before he dumped me. Anyway, I would never have quit for his sake! 😈
    Now I’m dating a Ultimate fighter and things seems easier.

    My conclusion is that with boys it matters…

    Sorry for my bad english…

    //Sassy

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    dl_angel
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 5:46 am

    Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:49 pm
    Posts: 150
    Location: Austin, Texas
    (groans) Sorry- this is gonna be my official “bitching” thread…

    So I got in the ring to spar the other day with another girl, and one of the new guys says, “Don’t break a nail!” like he thinks he’s funny or something.

    I also went to a party Saturday night and some guys were trying to get me to hit this one guy (who volunteered with a “I won’t even hit back”)… I didn’t do it cuz I’m me and I was calculating how much later I’d have to be there if I actually did hurt him (this guy looked breakable). Anyhow, I now regret that I didn’t at least do a nice mt kick to the inner thigh… that would’ve seriously hurt and still been an area where he could hide the bruises. Oh well… next time. 😉

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    scarce
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 9:09 am
    Fightergirls elite poster

    Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 4:31 pm
    Posts: 791
    ..next time a guy says i wont hit back….

    you should do a powerful kenpo slap/palm strike

    trust me

    if you do it right…

    his eyes will move from left to right

    and that pick stuff in the eye moves nicely…
    and to top it off…he will not get a bruise…just a headache

    ..i did it in 2001…i got fired…but oh well..
    ,,,when i tell someone you have 5 seconds to get out of my face
    …you really only have 5 seconds…..
    ,,,and that was a good paying job////oh well…thats life///

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    Rikki
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:45 am
    Instructor

    Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2004 6:56 am
    Posts: 915
    Location: Lexington, KY
    Quote:
    So I got in the ring to spar the other day with another girl, and one of the new guys says, “Don’t break a nail!” like he thinks he’s funny or something.

    That happened to me once. I was sparring with another girl and some guy started making cat fight noises. We just ignored him and went on. The coach then told him that he was being very disrespectful and that he was lucky that Carey and I didn’t teach him a lesson for it.

    Hopefully someone from your gym will set the new guy straight. If not, tell him yourself. If he’s really into the sport, surely he will understand what a battle women have had because of that way of thinking.

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    dl_angel
    Post subject: PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:55 pm

    Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:49 pm
    Posts: 150
    Location: Austin, Texas
    The look I gave him probably said enough… 😆

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    Seth
    Post subject: PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 12:42 pm

    Joined: Mon Sep 27, 2004 3:15 pm
    Posts: 67
    I would think a city as open minded as Austin would be more accepting of fighting arts and women’s participation than other parts of Texas?
    It seems the top areas producing KB, MMA and BJJ fighters are in Calif. (esp in L.A and S.F), the Pacific Northwest and area’s that have large + established schools such as V.A and NY. The NAGA and Quest shows have helped expand competitive opportunities for fighters.

    Sometimes it seems the general public has an aversion to even guys training It’s perceived as anathema, so foreign in tradition like the bowing and Ram Muay. “What do you mean you have more peace of mind by fighting?!” A stage is set for misunderstandings to ensue.

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    powerhockey17
    Post subject: Stereotypes!PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2005 8:20 pm
    Instructor

    Joined: Sun Dec 26, 2004 2:08 am
    Posts: 59
    Location: San Francisco, CA
    I know I have had most responses that deal with the violence issue more than the other issues. I explain, that it is SPORT, not a street fight and the competition is with another consenting skilled participant. Its not like I am seeking out people on the street to fight. For those idiots are unimformed who seem weirded out by it, I make it sound more like Self Defense stuff.

    Maybe because I am not the prettiest of things, I dont get the catfight noise stuff or “break a nail” comments. Regardless of what one looks like, everyone deserves respect. I respect the pretty women more because they seem to catch more grief. I guess cuz I am not nothing pretty to look at, I don’t catch as much flack. But, I haven’t had the “butch” or “lesbian” comments yet.

    Society still has a problem with women who get “angry”, like their feelings should not be recognized or honored. I remember seeing this woman who was apparently upset and the men were laughing at her. From what I saw, they were not taking her seriously and thought she was overreacting.

    It is almost as if it is ok for a woman to scream or cry, but women fighting, certainly is not seen as something that women are suposed to do. And there will always be guys out there that think women fighting is just a “catfight”. A lot of non MA/MMA guys dont realize that fighting skill is so much more than BRUTALITY and STRENGTH! I know times are changing in regards to women competitively fighting, but slowly.

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    dl_angel
    Post subject: PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:06 am

    Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2004 6:49 pm
    Posts: 150
    Location: Austin, Texas
    Quote:
    Society still has a problem with women who get “angry”, like their feelings should not be recognized or honored.

    There’s actually a book on that… “Dance of Anger”… the author goes into how women express or don’t express their anger and how it is perceived when they do (like we’re less womanly for being pissed off). So I guess it can apply in MMA in some ways, but it seems stupid that people assume that anyone fights because they’re angry. If people fought because they were angry, they wouldn’t train however many months before their fights to get ready- they’d just punch the person in the face and get it over with. Plus if I was mad, it wouldn’t be other women I was fighting. 😉

    Oh yeh- I went to a boxing fight last night and there was a woman there- Ann Wolfe (spelling?) and she trains a bunch of the guys out of San Antonio who were fighting… it was really nice to see a woman telling men how to do it. They took her seriously and I believe they all won. Would’ve liked to a see a few women fighting, but guess that just wasn’t happening.

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