Sunday, August 09, 2009

This is why the current martial arts subculture really sucks right now.

If you follow my twitter, you might be aware that I competed at the Long Beach Internationals Martial Arts Competition, also known as IKC, this weekend. I came home with a first place trophy in Internal Styles (non Tai Chi) Advanced, and my little sister, Vivian (and before my mother can interject, I mean sister in the Kung Fu sense: someone who is a disciple of the same master as me) came home with second in Internal Styles Intermediate and a First in Northern Fist Intermediate. It was exciting and nerve wracking and my hands were shaking but the judges over looked that, which was kind.

And that is not what sucked.

This is what sucked: Apparently, the marketing geniuses behind a whole range of MMA products think that their lines of product are best represented at these events by busty, tiny waisted gals in midriff baring tops, tiny shorts, and a ton of makeup. Listen, don't get me wrong here! I'm all for looking smokin' hot when appropriate. I have little shorts and a makeup bag. Both almost never leave the house, but still. The point is, I ain't J. The problem I have with these booth babes is that the majority of women who do martial arts do not look like these women. What?! Shocked, I know, but it's true. In fact, the majority of the majority of ladies who perform at these tourneys are young(er than me,) impressionable girls who are just at the age to get their self esteem seriously effed up by the representations of the female 'ideal' in the media. So why can't the dojo, and by extension, the tourney floor, be a place where they can feel proud of the strength, power, and above all, uniqueness of their little kung fu, karate, kenpo, wushu or whatever driven little bods?

It was really gross to gaze into the rings at girls and women in gis and pads and silks and warm ups battling to be the best at what they do, and then turn around to the booths to find human Barbie dolls handing brochures to a gaggle of wolfishly staring men. Ick. And in all honesty, I did see some women on the floor who looked and dressed like the booth babes. These were usually hanging off of some Mixed Martial Arts fighter, two to a guy. And that's an attitude we would like to pass off to the girls we teach martial arts to, right?

My point is, if you are going to have lines called 'dojogirl,' or touted as the 'spirit of modern martial arts,' how about you have them represented by actual dojo girls, or women MMA fighters, like the skilled and lovely Jody De Simone, who looks nothing like a booth babe, and everything like a beautiful, bad assed woman? And let the girls and women who have already had to overcome a lot of misogyny and backwards thinking to become black belts and red belts and masters and disciples and martial artists have a world where they get to feel like the goddesses they are for once, no matter what size and shape their bodies come in.

And for the record, this is what women who do martial arts look like:



6 comments:

Anonymous said...

word.


awesome awesome post.

Zac said...

you act surprised? We are still a relatively conservative culture and as long as sexuality is shrouded in mystery there will be a large amount of the population that will fall victim the the ads that exploit that mystery. Sucks but as long as the "sex sells" theory works, people are going to use it to sell there product. Even if it attracts the wrong crowd. hopefully there will be some people that are drawn if for the wrong reasons but stay for the right reasons....

Allan said...

These companies would also probably make more money as well as gain respect if their "booth babes" were actual martial artists. In the end these guys look at the girls but probably don't buy anything from them. Someone into martial arts would rather converse with a woman who is a Kung Fu Master rather than a woman who thinks Kung Fu is a dish at Panda Express.

Lemon Jitters said...

A-freaking- men. Although I know nothing about the specific situation, I get fired up about this very topic.

Even more liberal areas where sexuality isn't 'shrouded in mystery,' market in the same manner. Their advertisements feature idealistic beauty as well. It is not a cultural issue limited to America.

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