I hate women’s boxing.

I hate the whole idea of women’s boxing. Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter, is a professional boxer and there is a move to legitimize this sport (judging from the Diane Reems interview I heard the other day). I realize the irony of using “legitimize” and “boxing” in the same sentence, but that’s a different blog topic. This on the heels of news of Tonya Harding to wrestle a transvestite. Any story with lines like “[Her opponent] never told me she was a he when we were talking on the phone” and “As long as Harding doesn’t wear boxing gear while she is engaged in pro wrestling, the promoter is not breaking the law” has to be read to be believed.

But I still hate women’s boxing.

Catfights are one thing, after all, everyone knows that they’re kinda hot. However, boxing, the deliberate pummeling of an individual, especially a woman, for the sake of bruising a brain to the point of losing consciousness is nothing short of barbaric. I do love men’s boxing. Heck, I’d be for bringing back gladiators, but as we’ve seen, cultures and cultural tastes evolve and different things fall out of favor.

My double standard makes me inconsistent, you say. Maybe. I don’t think women (should feel the) need to participate in every dumb thing that guys do. Yes, I think this includes war. I’m not a big fan of women serving in the front lines of the military. I’m of the simple philosophy of why have the best of mankind (women) participate in the worst of mankind (war). Granted, in theory, I’d have trouble if I found myself in a war and the enemy has female combatants. Though I suspect that I’d get over it, or at least make exceptions, if she was toting a gun aimed in my direction.

Sue me if you think my language is too sexist. Put simply, I love women. I love everything about women. My love of women makes me deplore the rising tide of a mentality of violence against women in our culture. It may sound like a leap from women’s boxing to porn to rape, but I see them of symptoms of the same desensitization. I’m pro-self-defense, but the idea of inflicting abuse for the sake of sport troubles me.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a woman who’s strong … but not too strong. My wife sometimes gets a little cocky (my, what an unfortunate turn of phrase). She has two inches on me and can probably bench press me. She’s like Monica from Friends: freakishly strong. And she knows that I’d never lay hands on her, because though I am many things, a bullying coward is not one of them. Though, if something should go down, to echo the sentiments of that great philosopher, Chris Rock, I might have to shake her like a British nanny. You know, so that I don’t upset the balance of power in the relationship. Male chauvinist that I am.

Men and women are different. It’s true. Vive la differance and all that. Call me sexist or patriarchal all you want. I open doors, I try to stand in the presence of a woman, and I pull out chairs.* There’s room for the lost art of being a gentleman. I think we can balance that and the fact that woman are equal, capable, independent, should earn the same pay for the same work, but are different. Sure, they are soft and squishy in all the right ways, but I think you can measure a lot about a culture by the way they respect their wives, mothers, and daughters.

*Yeah, I know. A long way from my more charming days when I used to say “your arm ain’t broke.”