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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Columns

What women fight clubs say about identity


Women are a group of people that have arguably the most set of “rules” drowned in minutiae that hinder them in fundamental ways.

Women are constantly at difficult crossroads, faced with choosing to be a mother or working — instead of doing both — or upholding beauty standards that are only achieved by a narrow set of women. One activity that some women partake in that break these social barriers around the world is fighting in female fight clubs.

In countries like Germany and Mexico, women fight for different reasons. Some fight for the sheer sport, or even as a ritual to the gods. One particular area that stands out is New York City.

The women that fight in Brooklyn do it to survive. These fights provide extra income for them to support their families and even opportunities to move one step higher on the social ladder. These underground fight clubs seem an extreme means to do so, but this isn’t taking place in Williamsburg; this is happening right in the underbelly of Brownsville, Brooklyn.

With the tops of their housing projects ironically resembling crosses, Brownsville is regarded as one of the borough’s most dangerous neighbourhoods. Over 80 percent of the population is black and with the high crime and poverty, the dots start to connect and lead to the “by any means” mindset that is prevalent in the community.

It’s easy to see that for each woman, what they do is deeper than just the fight itself. For the women in Brooklyn, they are in a position where they have no other option. They aren’t just surviving for themselves, but for their families who depend on them. This represents the lengths women will go to in order to keep things together and take care of their responsibilities.

In Mexico, it’s more for religious purposes. They fight as a ritual to their gods for rain and prosperous crops. This shows the relationship that woman have in the place of religion. It is their blood that is spilled and is the sacrifice. In these types of civilizations, women in this sense are seen as pure, a gift, an invaluable sacrifice.

In Berlin, it seems to have the most liberating, feminist reason: it’s to escape what they have to portray in their everyday roles. This is a chance for them to break away from roles that they either don’t believe that they fit in or are uncomfortable in. For them, what’s seen as an unladylike thing to do, brawling is the easiest way to even for a little bit, be something else.

Whether it’s a goal of more practical things like getting money, rain or respect, each fight holds more weight, whether it’s conscious or not.

Opinion columnist Dana Jones is a print journalism junior and can be reached [email protected]

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