Rousey and Zingano – Feminist Warriors?

The weigh-in for the recent Ronda Rousey / Cat Zingano fight on UFC 184 was not only exciting, but also instructive on the subject of sexual politics. Naomi Wolf wrote in ‘The Beauty Myth’ that a significant problem with body image stereotypes is that while men are presented with a whole range of physical images which culture deems attractive, women have only one; the tall, thin, insect-like supermodel.

When Zingano and Rousey stripped down to get on the scales, we were confronted by two women who were fit, lean and mean. Further, both had achieved their physiques through diet and exercise, rather than starvation and privation. They hadn’t done it in pursuit of an image; their bodies are the consequence of hard training and the desire to win.

That distinction was thrown into even sharper relief when the fighters shaped up in front of the ring-girls, who are clearly representative of that established single ideal. Zingano and Rousey, however, signify something else entirely. Who would have thought that a grubby, blood-soaked sport from the margins would become a platform for gender equality? 003_Ronda_Rousey_and_Cat_Zingano.0.0

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