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Optional, but still a horror that it is even a topic, female athletes can wear skirts to the ring in Olympic Boxing by choice. The Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) has compromised the sexist issue successfully by allowing it as an option, but for many federations in other countries, it is not.
In response to many TV audiences complaining there is a lack of distinction between male and female boxers with the headgear obscuring the face, skirts have started appearing in the sport. However, as much as it may afford variation, it also comes with the message that shorts are too boyish and ill-suiting. Polish coach Leszek Piotrowski has even gone as far as saying, “Wearing skirts, in my opinion, gives a good impression, a womanly impression. Wearing shorts is not a good way for women boxers to dress.” He has supported the rule that compels Polish team members to wear skirts for all matches.
Surprisingly, a representative of the United States, Tyrieshia Douglas, has chosen to go with the skirt as well. “We’re women and women should be wearing a woman’s uniform. We need to look more feminine.”
AIBA permits the boxers go with personal choice, as ESPN notes that the bulk of the competitors favor shorts. Sort of an understatement regarding the expected protest and petitions, with more than 58,000 signed in at Change.org. A small victory goes to them for getting this far, although the situation still varies in other countries. Still, even for a demanding a sport as boxing, women are being categorized under the traditional call for polished elegance. Let me tell you, lady-like manners are the last thing that will be on your mind as you watch them pummel each other with their fists. Why shouldn’t these women be admired for their muscles and grit, just as the men of their sport? Whatever happened to personal choice in regards to what a person feels most comfortable putting on his or her body? I say, keep the option, but extend that to all of the federations. Even women with a boxer’s body may not want to show it off.