After a weekend filled with debate, I awoke this morning thinking about how little things have changed for women in this country over the last 30 years. Several very ridiculous debates have come about in the last few weeks and while I attempted to wrap my head around them several other incidents over the years popped into my head as well. First, lets discuss Ronda.
This weekend, after months of hype and build up, UFC 168 finally arrived and with it the Rousey vs. Tate fight. Folks who arent into MMA, if they knew anything about this fight at all, only knew what they had seen and heard in the media. I will give the general public a pass on knowing the ins and outs, so this is the story condensed. Rousey, who is the womens Bantam weight champ, has twice fought Miesha Tate. She is an olympic Judo bronze medalist, hailing from a former Judo world champion mother. She has an impressive 8-0 record fighting and beating Tate twice in less than two years. Her record as a fighter speaks for itself. Where the drama comes in is her personality. I've known about the Tate rivalry for a while, since before the first fight and there is no love loss between these two. They flat out dont like each other. Which, up to and during the taping of TUF 18 was mutual. They had shared very public verbal attacks, each giving as good as they got with Tate questioning Rousey's striking ability and Rousey questioning Tate's ground game. Once the cameras came on, it seemed as though the only person not fond of the other was Rousey. In the case of Tate, she seemed game to let herself be portrayed as the calmer, classier of the two and Ronda for her part seemed impatient, petty and perpetually butthurt. Rousey has since said that the editing was very favorable to Tate as she was attempting to mend fences with Rousey every week and clutching her pearls when the olive branch extended was repeatedly snapped in half. The anger between the two came to a rapid boil this weekend and culminated in Rousey's 3rd round win and a defening chorus of boos from the attending audiance as Ronda graciously accepted her belt back and attempted to explain why she refused to shake Tate's hand after the tap. Seems awful right? Well, lets examine this a little further shall we?
First, I dont profess to understand the reality TV editing process, but I do have to say that when you are told that you are coaching with one person, and your arch rival shows up in their place, you might be a little peeved. Second, Tate is well aware that this would upset Ronda, and for his part so was Dana. They seemed almost gleeful about the pairing as there was no way that Tate's presence would rub Rousey the wrong way immediately. Tension is a big seller and this rivalry did wonders for TUF 18. It was one of the most watched TUF seasons in history. In addition, everyone loves a good villan, and it was easy to slide Rousey into this position. She is confident, cocky, unapologetic. She will trash talk you, she absolutley has no quit in her and no room for self doubt. This is what made her a Judo champ and what makes her such a great fighter. That type of thinking and bravado that made Ali unstoppable, it is how The Rock spent most of his early career in wrestling (despite what you might think of the validity of wrestling) and in the same night, a fighter notorious for his grandstanding and mocking of opponants, who was arguably the best MMA fighter in the world, lost his rematch in a horrific injury. None of these people had any issue with being the villain. They were booed and jeered and they still went on to successfuly win or defend titles. The closest I have seen to the type of vitrolic angst displayed by Rousey haters was when Ali was called a draft dodger (this right here is deeper than rap so I will not go much further) but no one disputed his talent and his trash talk was not only tolerated but celebrated and quoted year after year. The difference in this comparison between a Rousey and an Ali only boils down to one thing. Gender.
America, god love it or something, still has a HUGE problem with women. Not just fighting women, or singing women, or reporting women, or business women. Nope, america's problem with the entirety of women in general is the same as its always been. If you arent humble, you are disrespectful and this is where Tate has been able to gain fans over Rousey. Its not about talent, because we were all on board with her and her talent last year during the Carmouche fight remember? No one was in Carmouche's corner were they? Well, she didnt look like Tate either, so there is that but basically put, pretty girls should be quiet and bragging about one's athletic prowess and not being willing to make nice with an opponant is a highly undesirable trait for a woman. Whether she chose to shake the hand of a woman who she felt had disrespected her family or not, the crowd's decision had been made long before that. The snub just added more fuel to the fire.
Not only will Ronda not sell herself short, but she refused to engage in what looked like calculated attacks on her group by the Tate folks day after day during the TUF season. Even after Dana sat them both down to discuss it, Ronda practiced avoidance and Tate just kept poking the bear. The eyebrow joke about Edmund, the socks thing during the square up photo, the training coach who came just to start shit with Edmund to get him kicked off, and how could we forget Tate's boyfriend being confronted about his mysoginistic tweet threatening to punch Rousey's teeth down her throat or the subsequent "know your place" tweet. So, when the media sees Tate smiling with her outstretched hand to offer her congratulations on the fight (after baiting and goating this thing along for months) everyone is appauled at Rousey's lack of sportsmanship when she doesnt want to shake her hand? I dont recall that being a caviot of competition, that you smile and accept the extended hand of your opponant less you be seen as a createn or a nardowell. No, I dont even think we would be talking about this if these two were men.
We are talking about professional fighters here. People who spend their day's and nights training to pound in each others faces and we are all so shocked that they arent going to the nail place together? No, we arent, and if this were a group of men, no one would give a shit about because it doesnt really matter unless you are a woman. Then maybe you should smile pretty and be everyone's friend and never crow too loudly about your accomplishments and in the words of Brian Caraway know your place. Maybe then you wont be seen as disrespectful and then we can talk about what this is really about. Letting women continue to be mute and sexy agreeable entities who do this for the enjoyment of men, not the love of the sport. The worst offenders by the way are women. You should see the way they have gone on the attack. Joining right in with the men to defend poor Tate against that horrible Rousey. They are all over the comments sections of every blog, report and I tell you, I expect it from men, but the women really shocked me. Women's MMA is already much maligned and those involved struggle everyday to support each other and defend women's right to even be included in this sport. Between the "this isnt feminisim" folks and the "women shouldnt do this camp" it just bothers me to watch women lead the charge against each other. I dont want it to seem like this just applies to physical persuits. Nope, lets talk about this new Beyonce album.
For the last three weeks I have had to hear all about how Beyonce isnt shit. She cant sing, we hate her songs, her fans are annoying. Yeah yeah, okay so depending upon the week that's every women in the entertainment industry. Oh you think not? Lets see. Lady Gaga is too weird, and cant sing, J.LO cant sing or dance, Mariah is crazy, Ciara is a man, Taylor Swift is bitter, Miley Cyrus is a slut, Katy Perry is stupid, Mary J. cant sing, Christina A. cant dress, Adele is too fat. I mean those are just the ones in the public eye right now. Those that have passed? They dont get a break either. Whitney was a druggie, Amy Winehouse was a drunk. I mean there are countless other singers who no one can seem to say anything remotely nice about and of course who is leading the charge? Women. My own friends have bought the hype. Personally, I cant figure out all the hatred for Beyonce. She doesnt bother me one way or the other. None of them do honestly, but the most in thing to do these days is to just complain about how someone who does something you couldnt do on your best day isnt good enough. The new album is a departure from her regular radio friendly fare. She talks about sex with "gasp" her husband of almost 6 years and she had the audacity to bite back at those haters who she was tired of hearing from. God forbid she think she is great at what she does, and speaks about sex. She must be horrible, she cant be a feminist! People please stop it. We have enough trouble making it through the day without having to hear from everyone how substandard we are as women, now we cant even listen to music?
And this isnt new. Remeber when Natilie Maines said something about Dubya and Texas? Jesus they were talking about killing those girls. God forbid they dont agree with your politics. Sometimes it doesnt even have to be political we just have the audacity to breathe and live and suddenly women who dont pipe down are lesbians or dont know their place. It just fosters the male belief that we are emotional and catty. It happens at our jobs, all day on social media, and everywhere you turn. So when people feel like they need to speak up about Ronda Rousey not knowing her place or not being humble enough for the masses I have to wonder when we are going to stop being villified for being proud enough to own our greatness and not cow tow to those who feel we shouldnt brag about our accomplishments?