Confession: I went to Buffalo Wild Wings and watched people pummel each other for five hours and I have no regrets.
Okay, so a little about me for context.
I am a 25-year old female feminist who advocates for survivors of sexual violence 40+ hours a week, indulges in cynical sarcasm, and maintains an unhealthy obsession with my cat as self-care. In my office, rape is lunch talk. Stalking and harassment are casual hallway conversations. I don’t believe we become numb to it, but we accept it as a reality and move forward from that reality.
I spend my day managing a massive schedule of advocates answering our 24-7, statewide crisis line. During my breaks, I catch up on current events, primarily those related to violence against women and marginalized populations (although I wouldn’t recommend saturating your entire day in interpersonal violence). Of recent, my spare moments are spent reading lengthy articles on Bill Cosby’s victims, rich white celebrities opposing decriminalization of sex work, undercover videos of Planned Parenthood meetings, and quotes from Donald Trump’s lawyer claiming you can’t legally rape your wife.
On Saturday, I consumed a different brand of media: mixed martial arts. This consensual form of beating the shit out of someone was… well, incredibly refreshing! Now, I am not usually one to support violence in any form not only because of my advocacy work but also because I can’t stand the idea of people, animals, or fictional creatures getting hurt (I am still traumatized by Bambi and The Fox and the Hound). At first, I didn’t exactly enjoy this male-dominated, arguably misogynistic sport but then an ass-kicking warrior woman changed everything.
Enter Ronda Rousey.
If you haven’t watched Ronda Rousey end the dreams of Bethe Correia in 34 seconds, you need to do that right now.
If you’ve already watched it, then you’ve already witnessed the utterly amazing feat of human strength that was Ronda knocking out Bethe. Now why on EARTH would someone like ME be endorsing one human trying to bash the face of another human? (Please note: My father once invited his three adult children to shoot clay targets with him. I declined, choosing instead to cover the ears of newly born farm kittens because I worried gunshots would surely induce feline hearing loss).
Why? Because this was the first time I have ever in my life seen a bar full of men covered in buffalo sauce anxiously awaiting a FEMALE sporting event. A room full of MEN watching a WOMAN excel in sports. (I am not entertaining the sexualization of the athletes or the influence Ronda’s drop-dead gorgeous body had on the popularity of this fight. That is a dissertation in itself and we don’t have time for that.) I’d like to instead thank Ronda for being bad ass enough to draw attention to her sport in a way that had a room full of people – from college bros to lesbians – yelling and cheering her on, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, or race. Forget the fight, forget the knockout, forget all the spectacle around it. Bringing people together is what’s truly inspiring.