Sunday, March 18, 2012

A True Fighter: Laila Ali

Everyone who has been into sports the last 50 years knows about Muhammad Ali, the most famous fighter of all time. Fewer people know about his daughter, Laila Ali, who has become an acclaimed fighter in her own right. She has a great record for any fighter (24 wins- 0 losses), but yet can't escape the shadow of her father. I know is a big shadow to escape from, but I don't get why she is given more respect for making in a male-dominated sport.

Laila Ali always wanted to box ever since she found women could box, saying that "I've been contemplating doing it since I was 18, ever since I found out that women boxed" when she was on Good Morning America. She also explained that her father didn't want her box, but she was going to box regardless of what he felt. I feel that her father was genuinely worried about her safety, but I also feel that was a small sexist undercurrent at work here, and that's true for any male. Women aren't supposed to be fighters, but rather lovers. I don't think that if Laila was a guy ,boxing would be discouraged.

I think that Laila Ali was the perfect mascot for female boxing because it's not only in her blood, but she's very good at it. What I like her most is that she doesn't try and sexualize her. She doesn't give me the impression that she's a female fighter, she's just a fighter with extraordinary ability. Maybe one day, men can honestly see women as equals. That will take a lot of time and lot of changing. For right now, we can only hope that women like Laila can help lead us there. For some of her highlights:


  1. I agree with your opinion that Laila Ali was discouraged from boxing due to her gender. Women are not supposed to be boxers, and our society today frowns upon women who veer so far away from the standard. Sure, women can play certain sports (although professional women athletes in basketball and softball get little to no attention compared to their male counterparts), but the majority of women do not. It is much more common for young boys to participate in many different sports teams than for young girls to. If a girl doesn't play any sports in elementary school, it usually doesn't faze any one, while if a boy doesn't, it raises some eyebrows. My younger brother is involved in many sports, so I see the different manner in which even young boys playing sports are treated versus the manner in which young girls are treated when playing sports in elementary and middle school. For some reason, it seems like boys have more on the line when playing, while girls are usually taken less seriously. This definitely is a product of the sexism that still exists in society. I am glad that athletes like Laila Ali are fighting such stereotypes, are branching away from what society thinks women should do, and instead are doing what they want, no matter what others think.

  2. I admire Laila Ali for pursuing her interest in boxing even though her father initially discouraged it, which I find rather disappointing. This makes you question if Muhammad had a son that wanted to take up fighting would he then have offered his support. I agree with Tory that society has consistently taken a stronger interest in men's sports over women's sports. I played sports in high school and there was always a larger crowd at the boys lacrosse games than the girls lacrosse games. I hope that with time women's sports can develop a fan base that can parallel that of men's sports.


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