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A deeper look at appearances in WMMA

A deeper look at appearances in WMMA

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Chin up, chest out: A deeper look at appearances in WMMA.

When confronted with thoughts of violence, bloodshed, and hand-to-hand combat, more often than not, a person is picturing a statuesque male, with indomitable spirit and a physically domineering stature riddled with muscles and intimidating prowess.

I can almost guarantee that no one is envisioning a menacing 5’0 tall women with perpetually angry eyebrows and a resilient attitude, but yet, here I am.

In fact, when thinking of female fighters, many will either imagine a woman who is so strong and powerful, she will be ridiculed by being delegating to “looking like a man” or she will be fetishized like Xena and Wonder Woman.

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Imagine being so confined to unconscious bias and stereotypes that it would be unfathomable to view a female fighter as one who is both capably strong and confident in her own femininity as well.

Such a hard concept to grasp, I understand.

Women many times feel like they have to prove themselves in male dominated fields or that they have to conform to certain molds in order to be respected and taken seriously. I’m sure many people reading this article might think I have a chip on my shoulder or that I’m a “typical” jaded woman, carrying animosity on my back as I try to cement my place in the world of mixed martial arts.

Honestly, I have no desire to exhaust myself trying to change the small-minded opinions of those who lack the empathy to understand different viewpoints that drastically misalign with their own misguided thoughts and opinions; I’m too busy training in the gym and furthering my career.

There was a time in my youth where I would spend hours doing my makeup, styling my hair, throwing on heels, and dancing at the sultry clubs. Now, my body hurts too much to stuff myself into anything remotely uncomfortable and there is zero time for wasting on luxurious hairstyles and elaborate makeup when I will be sweating everything off on the mats regardless. Am I less of a woman because there’s stubble on my legs or muscles in my biceps? Sure, some men would be disgusted at the thought of me, but I am not trying to win beauty contests and the admiration of those lusting after me when I step into the cage. I’d rather offer an Only Hands subscriptions versus an Only Fans one any day of the week.

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One time, several years ago, there was a fight poster with myself and an opponent on it that was advertised and posted on social media. Almost immediately, my opponent’s fans lambasted the photo with insults to my appearance telling her in the comments to “beat that man’s ass.” I was floored, but not in the way you might think. Being small and tiny my whole life, I was shocked to see people thinking I looked muscular enough to be called a man.

I was ecstatic and took this ‘insult’ as such a compliment. All this ended up backfiring, as my whole ‘BDE’ (big d*ck energy) brand was born out of this exchange and ended up getting my name out there on a larger scale due to the chatter it brought on. Hard to insult someone when they wear their confidence like a suit of armor and the negativity bounces right off.

Female athletes with any appearance of muscle get bombarded with disparaging remarks on their appearance in the comments section. Often with people clambering for them to get DNA tested, saying they must be on steroids, or else calling them a man. Not a lot of creativity going on in the insult department but then again, not everyone is as quick-witted as the keyboard warriors believe. Why is being called a man so insulting anyways? I am proud of all the hard work it took to get me where I am and love seeing the results of all that effort. Fighting is ridiculously difficult, and I laud anyone willing to do what it takes to step into the octagon. I can’t choose the things people will say to me or about me, but I can choose the ways in which I respond and I will always walk with my head held high because I am choosing to never accept criticism from anyone I wouldn’t also take advice from.

In my teenage and young adult years, I would have been greatly affected by the online comments bashing my appearance and insulting my looks. Fortunately for me, years of MMA training has instilled a confidence and bravado in me that keeps me walking tall regardless of any personal disparagement hurled my way.  I am far too busy to consume myself with gloom and I am entirely too happy with  my own endeavors to let miserable people penetrate my wall of emotions. If looking like a man is the best insult they can come up with, maybe they should take a walk in my shoes and see the amount of work it takes into becoming an elite athlete. No vitriolic response could ever ascertain enough power to deter me from my path.

These muscles benefit me in the cage and my mental fortitude benefits me in life. While I may not be the object of desire like the gorgeous women in these magazines, I am perfectly happy chasing my own dreams and doing whatever it takes to reach the top, muscles and all. There is very little in this world that could distract me from walking with my head held high, chin up, and chest out.  Female fighters are here to stay and to make their mark in the combat sports world and cement their place in history. And if my appearance continues to bring in testosterone-laden comments, then I know I am continuing to do all the right things.

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Bring it.

At the end of the day, there probably won’t be any posters of me in men’s locker rooms tantalizing the testosterone-fueled bodies and exciting their minds as they lust after my appearance. But I hope there will one day be young girls with pictures of me on their wall as a role model and someone they inspire to be like in their future. I’ll for sure take motivational human over object of desire any day of the week and I owe it to my martial arts training for the confidence and self-esteem I now possess. Forever walking with my chin up and chest out (except in the cage when it’s our chin down and hands up). It’s not just a career, it’s a whole entire mood.

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