Oprah Winfrey. Ronda Rousey. Beyoncé. All smart, independent, empowered women. All role models.
Women have made great strides to move towards gender equality in the last couple years. 2018 promises to bring even more positive change for women in society. But wait, here comes the Lingerie Fighting Championships. Why does the LFC exist? How can this possibly help the advancement of gender equality in today’s society? This organization is a slap in the face to respectful women everywhere! It’s demeaning not only to female MMA fighters, but to ALL women. I’ve heard all of those criticisms from people who are against the LFC.
But is the LFC really demeaning to women? Will it really hurt the drive for gender equality? Tough questions, and people have strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Obviously, I’m a strong supporter of the LFC, as I am a supporter of all forms of female fighting and have been since 2010. However, I respect the opinions of those who are against the LFC, and those people are certainly entitled to them. I’ll share some of their criticism, and then present my own opinions.
From what I’ve heard, there seems to be two major criticisms of the LFC, one regarding the way the ladies dress, the other being a comparison to MMA. Over and over I hear “Why do they have to be in lingerie? They dress like whores.” People ask if this is supposed to be a sport, why can’t the ladies dress in sporting attire? Athletes don’t compete in lingerie, so these ladies aren’t real athletes! Women should dress in a way that shows respect for their bodies, not flaunt their private parts around to make a few bucks.
As well, critics say the LFC is a slap in the face to women’s MMA. This isn’t MMA! This is a “fake” sport all about T&A. Female MMA athletes train all their lives for the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the UFC or Invicta. The ladies of the LFC make women’s MMA look like a circus, a sideshow, not deserving of respect. What’s more, none of these ladies would last a round with a female UFC fighter. It’s not a sport, and shouldn’t pretend to be one.
I, however, have a different perspective. Firstly, is the LFC REALLY demeaning to women, or do people just think that because it’s something new? As a diehard fan of women’s MMA, I remember how hard it was to convince people that women should be MMA fighters. People said women shouldn’t fight, because it’s not something women do. Dana White once said women would NEVER fight in the UFC. And yet, women’s MMA has become a HUGE business in the last few years. Some of the highest rated UFC pay per views are headlined by women, specifically Ronda Rousey. There’s even an all-female MMA company in Invicta FC. My point being is that something that was once so openly mocked is now considered mainstream.
As for how the LFC ladies dress, Victoria’s Secret airs a fashion show each year that draws millions of viewers, and the models wear next to nothing. The models are adored and are praised for their beauty and incredible figures. Young women idolize the models and strive to be like them, often times at the expense of a healthy body image. While the ladies in the WWE don’t wear lingerie per se, they also dress very provocatively. They definitely don’t wear standard wrestling attire such as singlets, and young women everywhere want to be just like their favourite WWE female star.
Yet, women that want to compete and fight wearing similar clothes are mocked and called names. The Legends Football League has female pro football players wearing lingerie, and if you’ve ever seen a game, you know how hard hitting and tough the ladies are. And if you’ve ever seen an LFC card, you know the ladies can fight and deliver some hard shots. You don’t see much positive mainstream press about the LFL or LFC. Why is that? Why do women have to be runway models or WWE stars to be adored? Why can’t they fight? Who are we to tell women what they say, do, and dress like? The ladies work hard to look the way they do, and what’s more, they are HEALTHY, not skinny stick figures like some models. They are the ladies that should be adored by society.
Another thing I commonly get is the question, “What if your daughter wanted to compete in the LFC? Would you still support the idea?” Hard hitting question, and while I don’t have a daughter, there’s an easy, common-sense answer I always give. Either my daughter would be an adult or she wouldn’t. If my daughter wasn’t a legal adult, I would not let her compete in the LFC. Why? Not all things in life are for children. I wouldn’t let my child see a scary, bloody, violent horror movie. I wouldn’t let my child visit adult websites. I wouldn’t let my child run off with strangers. The LFC is not for children, nor does it pretend to be. However, if my daughter was a legal adult, I would whole-heartedly support her competing for the LFC. I would have raised my daughter to believe that she could do anything she put her mind to, and to live her life the way she wanted, not the way others wanted.
I also get asked how I can possibly support the LFC when I have so many followers in the world of women’s MMA. I must be a hypocrite! I completely disagree. Firstly, there can be no doubt that LFC fighters aren’t on the same level as UFC or Invicta fighters. If they were, they would be IN the UFC or Invicta. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re not tough, and it doesn’t mean that they don’t have a certain level of training in boxing, wrestling, or MMA. These ladies can hit! Just like in pro wrestling matches, the striking is stiff as can be the holds, there’s nothing “fake” about being kicked in the leg or side of the head. Even if you maintain that the strikes are 100% fake and never land, which I don’t, the ladies still need incredible endurance to move around an octagon for several rounds. LFC fighters are professional athletes and deserve respect for that, whether or not you support what they do with their athletic ability.
What’s more, consider this. There are only so many spots available in the UFC, in Invicta, and in WWE. Not everyone can make it to those companies. So what are female fighters supposed to do if they don’t, just mope around at home waiting for a phone call? No. The LFC provides opportunities and exposure for them. It helps them make an honest living doing something they love. It lets them show the world that women can be empowered, sexy AND strong.
So that’s what the LFC means to me, and that’s why I believe in it and I believe in its athletes. But I’m not about to tell you what to think. You have to decide for yourself. Is the LFC demeaning to women? There’s no right or wrong answer. The only thing I ask of you is to have an open mind and an open heart, and watch for yourself. Order a show, see what you think, and then vote with your wallet after that.
I believe in the LFC. I believe in what they stand for. I believe in their fighters. I believe in ALL forms of female fighting. After all, I AM @chickfightsrock.