Archive for January 18, 2010

Not so long ago I did a post on Violence– and how I tend to think humans, most of them anyway- delight in violence.  Of course one can easily object to this if one uses a very narrow and incorrect definition of violence which only includes physical violence.  Many people do that- only consider physical aspects of violence when discussing the subject-especially as it pertains to their own actions – because it allows them to feel better.  However,  it also shows a penchant, at least on this topic, for narrow thinking.  I also tend to believe that humans, most of them anyway- know at heart this is a cop-out and violence goes way beyond the physical.  The basic meaning of violence is simple- that which causes another pain, discomfort, or injury.  The word physical is not a qualifier.

That said, I have (briefly) been participating on a thread at ND’s where I asked her about MMA.  Her response is as follows:

I think MMA is wack all around. I’m not into violence for violence’s sake, and I don’t celebrate every dumb thing women do to emulate men. Feminism isn’t about being just like men, especially when what men are doing is stupid.

It seems like a straight forward enough answer, on the level and simple enough, yes?  However, while I am sure ND thinks that everything she does has a purpose and is done with a reason -thus not done for its own sake- I do in fact believe that she and many of her readers engage in violence- maybe not physical violence- but violence nonetheless.  For instance- while she and others might be speaking out against and critiquing the conditions which lead to things like J.Woww and her sizable implants- in order to do so, they verbally attack J.Woww herself.  She is, specifically, as an example, pointed out, mocked, and insulted because she is an embodiment of what it is these women dislike and find wrong with society.  This sort of behavior is violent- any time a person attacks another person- via words, fists, monetary superiority, weapons or other things that can be wielded over another and cause harm- it is violence.  Pure  and simple.  Is it necessary?  Needed?  Is is unnecessary?  Done merely for the joy and release of doing it?  I do not know.  I tend to think it is done for the joy of doing it because it seems to me it would be possible, perhaps even easy, to attack or critique culture and society without holding up and attacking individual human examples of it.  It could easily be done.  Would it be as “fun”?  As “funny”?  As popular?  Would it bring in other like-minded people to go off on a rant about how much they hate that?  Probably not.  Maybe that makes it necessary.  I cannot really say. 

And perhaps because there is the thought that this sort of violence is done for a reason- it is excused in the mind of ND and some who read her.  Perhaps because it is acceptable targets upon which to inflict this non physical violence, it is okay.  Perhaps there is acceptance, even glee, based on some utilitarian slant,  that pegs this non-physical violence as acceptable.  I do not know.  What I do know is this:  In the last 24 hours on ND’s blog, I’ve seen Trinity (a woman practitioner of BDSM and PWD advocate) told to “fuck off” because of her opinion, and I’ve seen a group of radical feminists take great glee and award the Internet to Miss Andrist for “taking me to task” (“privilege” and all) for being non-aggressively adamant about the fact that stripping is a good work out and asking ND’s opinion on MMA.  Now, true enough, ND herself has told no one to fuck off nor joined in on the “you go girl” foolery, but it is condoned.  It is apparent that there are people who frequent her blog who slather at the opportunity to “best” other women who do not share their views or dare to question their positions.  Does it foster debate?  Yes.  Is it also violence- often times unnecessary?  Yes.  There is no need or meaning behind attempting to verbally slice a woman one does not know screaming about privilege for making a simple, one line point.  There is no need or meaning behind verbally bashing a civil woman who holds different views on BDSM with the phrase “fuck off”.  Such things are said and done in an attempt to upset, harm, or distress those whom they are said to. It is violence- engaged in for the thrill and fun of it- and the whole “oh you go, you told them, yeah! You win the Net teeehehehehe” attitude that follows shows it for exactly what it is:  gleefully engaged in, condoned, and appreciated violence.   Necessary?  I am skeptical.

In fact, all things considered, the blatantly sadistic nature of it actually amuses me.  It is often, right down to the keening laughter, similar to what happens when a lone hyena wanders into the territory of an established hyena pack.

So yes, back to the MMA and ND’s statement on it.  She does not believe in violence for its own sake, nor celebrate every dumb thing women do to be like men (esp jerks).  Hummm.  I would argue people (men and women alike) who are into MMA are not merely there for the violence for its own sake.   They could be there for countless reasons; channeling excess aggression, working out demons, merely to learn how to fight, personal challenge, fitness, the love of competition, or yep, profit.  And the violence is necessary for these things, the violence is in the sport.  I would also argue most women in MMA are not there to “be like men”.   There are very, very few activities that are exclusively the purview of men, or exclusively the purview of women.  To me saying a woman in MMA is trying to be like man is like saying a woman who wants to be an astronaut is trying to be like a man.  Both the MMA woman and the Astronaut woman probably want to be…a fighter or an astronaut.   Man or wanting to be like one probably has very little to do with it, really.  

Which brings me to the part where I always end up shaking my head.  Why yes- culturally, socially, via just about every institution known to the world historically women are not encouraged in any way to be physically aggressive at all.  Men are.  Never mind that all humans- all of them- have aggressive feelings or desires or moments of rage and anger- women have never, ever, been encouraged to express that physically -even in a somewhat controlled environment like contact sports or even violent sports like MMA and the Sweet Science.  So their aggression and anger and other such things comes out -has been conditioned to come out- in other ways…such as verbal violence.  Such as social pack gang up/hazing mentality.  Such as telling a civil dissenter to fuck off or delighting in a perceived verbal hit on an adversary.  It is still violence.  It is still throwing a worded punch and hoping it gains the desired result: pain.  And often, why yes, there will be people standing around cheering the display on.

So yeah, I find it a little odd when people are so against one form of violence, physical, like there is in the MMA, but are fine with other forms.  It seems like the cheap and easy way to go, really.

And yes, sure sure, I sense some of you rolling your eyes… after all, I engage in all kinds of violence, verbal, physical, fantasy, video game, fictional, all the damn time.  True enough…but I’ve never said I was against it or wasn’t into it- in fact- quite the opposite.  I’ve admitted quite plainly that I was more than a few times. No, that makes me better than no one- but in this sort of scenario, I think it might make me more honest and dare I say, even more critically thinking.  Shrug.  I like both telling people who annoy me off and MMA…but I see the violence in both, and in humans themselves, for what it is- necessary and not.

“MMA”

Posted: January 18, 2010 in Sports

Which would stand for Mixed Martial Arts…something that after the thread over at ND’s I am feeling like writing about.  So yeah, what is MMA? 

Well, most well-known via the UFC, MMA is one of the fastest growing competitive sports in the world, classes for it are springing up at gyms all over the place, and while yes, most participants are men and they make more money/get more TV time and press in it, there are women competitors in MMA as well.   In the sport itself, participants (who often come from boxing,  martial arts or blended backgrounds) basically get in a ring and fight until one is declaired the winner or one is no longer able to continue.  A lot of folk think it is barbaric as hell.  A lot of people think it is fine entertainment.  A lot of folk will tell you that the athletes in MMA are the most finely conditioned athletes in the world.  Some folk will tell you they are nuts.

So yeah, why am I talking about MMA again?  Well, since it is obvious stripping is the most evil form of physical fitness ever, and because I’d seen ND mention MMA (specifically UFC) before, I thought I’d ask her thoughts on it, more specifically, what she thought of women who did it.  She says its whack and she doesn’t figure women acting like men (doing MMA) makes any difference in the whack factor…

Which sorta makes a Renegade wonder… I mean, whats up with the idea/declaration that MMA is a man thing?  I mean, is that to mean that men would be the only ones who would ever want to do it?   That kind of thing makes me nervous…I mean, just in general, I have had in my life various females I know say they wish they could have played sports (and I mean sports in general) like I did growing up but they weren’t allowed to because “girls did not play sports”.  Period.  Band, sure, music, sure, art, sure, theatre, sure…but nope, couldn’t play sports because girls did not do that.  Sports were a man thing.    I also knew girls who could do gymnastics or dance or do figure skating, but even if they really, really wanted to play hockey or basketball or take karate…nope, because those are contact sports and only boys do those things. 

I never liked that idea at all myself. 

And I also wonder about the thought that a woman who would want to participate in an aggressive sport is somehow trying to be “like a man” or whatever.   I mean, I played rugby in college.  I knew a lot of women who also played rugby…and truthfully, I do not think a single one of them was doing it to be “like a man”…they were doing it because they liked playing rugby: liked the sport, liked the physical nature of it, liked being part of a team, all that. 

So part of me wonders if it goes back to the Very Culturally Enforced idea that women…well…cannot be aggressive or physically competitive blah blah blah good girls just don’t get in a ring and beat the snot out of each other, no matter HOW good they are at it, how much work it takes to get that good at it, or how much they enjoy it as competitors, fighters, and athletes.    Tut tut, how freakin’ uncivilized and all that…and we all know it is women’s jobs to be forever civilized and, well, boys are different and can get a slip there and get in a ring and all.  I also wonder about people who might think it is great for a gal to take karate (for health and self defense and all that), even though sparing is part of the karate learning process, yet have a totally different opinion of (especially competitive for pay) MMA.

Now sure, do I think some skeevy shit goes down in competitive MMA?  Absolutely.  Steroid abuse, fighters getting ripped off by promoters and agents, big time stars feeling as if they are above the law and everyone else… all that Bad Sports Stuff (which happens in all sports and countless other industries).  I also get that many people, flat out, Do Not Like sports like Boxing, Wrestling, MMA, Football, or any other sort of sport where hitting and such are part of the plan if not the whole plan itself…as well as people who do like them but do not think women have any place in them.  Some feel that things like MMA put us a single step away from the days of the gladiatorial ring and all…

But I sort of think that is a part of us and always will be… and I am also rather pleased to see women in MMA because, well, I know girls who were not allowed to participate in sports- at all.   Hell, Vlad takes boxing at a gym that teaches a MMA class (the instructor is a woman) and sure enough, I’ve considered it (seems like one heck of a full body work out)… and I don’t think I would be doing it to be “like a man”, but rather because I think the women in MMA are probably pound for pound some of the best conditioned athletes in the world and in possession of some amazing and useful skills…and well hell, I would not mind a little of that myself.  Also might be a great outlet for some of my aggression…you know, a constructive outlet and all. 

But I guess along with stripping, MMA is just not an okay form of fitness either…even if it is…well…a great form of fitness.

Humm, maybe politics need to stay out of both the bedroom and the gym.