On the 2nd of August most of us were still memorised (or entrapped for those of you who didn’t enjoy it) by the Olympic Games being held in London. It was also the day that Gemma Gibbons’, aged 25, won herself a well deserved silver medal in the women’s under 78kg judo competition. Love or hate the Games you have to admit, considering British Judo hasn’t seen a medal at the Olympics in 12 years, that’s pretty damn good.
But unfortunately not even an hour after Gemma had her silver medal in her hand, Mr Andrew Brown wrote a traffic chasing blog entry entitled “Women’s Judo: It’s disturbing to see these women beat each other up” which caused me to hope beyond hope that it was a blunder and then after reading the entry several times realising this man was being paid to be causal sexist to a woman who trains every hour of the day, to a woman who was supported by her mother through-out her judo career and then lost her mother to leukaemia eight years ago. I personally found this to be an outrage and scandal.
I am an athlete and my sport is judo. I have dealt with men like this throughout my judo career and unfortunately my life because guess what, I’ve got two X chromosomes, and I take extreme offense to anyone who tells me I shouldn’t be doing my sport because of my genetic makeup.So let us dismantle this pathetic “blog” entry piece by piece.Watching Gemma Gibbons gaining Britain’s first judo medal in 12 years, I found myself wondering: is women fighting each other violently a perfectly wholesome spectator sport?
Personally I find myself wondering this about MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) sometimes, but not women in MMA, the sport itself. Judo has a goal; you throw through randori or newaza for ippon, which means your partners two shoulders are on the mat. MMA I see as a sport that two competitors are literally trying to kill each other for the sporting pleasure of the spectator, which wrestles with my own ideas of ethical sports. However, this isn’t Mr Browns point; it isn’t even close to Mr Brown’s point. He is suggesting that women are meant to be passive in comparison to men.This wasn’t a bit of pretend wrestling. Gemma and her American opponent, Kayla Harrison, were properly grappling with each other, throwing each other with full force onto the mat. They both showed pure, naked, fierce, animalistic aggression of a sort that one doesn’t naturally associate with women – or girls for that matter.
I’d like to point out that Kayla Harrison is 22 years of age. They are not girls. They are fully grown women. Mr Brown has deliberately used the term “girls” to portray them to be fragile, defenceless and weak. In my mind I find that repulsive. Once again a sterling example of yet another man, sorry to those men who aren’t misogynistic idiots, of some power and influence feeding into the stereotypical identity of what a woman should be; soft, emotional and weak. To me this seems almost passive aggressive, that Mr Brown has to remove any type of power these women have gained for themselves, to make him feel secure in his own mind.With those judo contestants – and I realise this will probably sound appallingly sexist –This statement made me laugh, there is no probably about it. Mr Brown is being sexist, so he should stand up and be counted, as Mr Brown seemed brave enough to write this article I’d much rather he not hide beliefs behind a “probably”.I couldn’t help wondering about their soft limbs battered black and blue with bruises.
There aren’t words that can be published without being asterisk being used as replacements to describe the utter disgust I felt when I first read that. What does he think the process is to become a female Olympic Judoku?
They do not have soft limbs. They have the same limbs as Mr Brown and every other human being on this planet, made of flesh, blood and a nervous system to boot. Muscle tissue is exactly the same no matter your gender or sex. It later emerged that Gemma Gibbons was fighting with a broken thumb from very early on in the preliminary rounds, which increases my respect for her as an athlete but I cringe to think what Mr Brown would assume of this information.
I’ve been a judoku for nine years now, I have seen the BJA (British Judo Association) and the IFJ (International Federation of Judo) go through some huge changes with stances on women in the sport. I fight both men and women. I’ve competed at county, national and international level, won who knows how many competitions and lost even more, had countless number of injuries, but the constant is that there is always this attitude in the outside world towards female judokus. Unfortunately we just have to deal with it. But I would like know if Mr Brown has ever stepped foot on a judo mat? Or if he’d ever consider fighting the woman that he pulled apart in two hundred and forty-one words? I find it pathetic that a small minded, insignificant cockroach has a position of some influence and has an attitude like that. Yet it can’t take away Gemma’s medal, of which she should be proud of, especially as it was a woman who won the first Olympic medal in twelve years.