Female boxing will make its Olympic debut in the upcoming London games, but the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) seems intent on keeping the sport in the Victorian era. The organization recently suggested that female boxers wear short skirts in the ring because it looks more elegant and helps distinguish female boxers from their male counterparts. This ludicrous recommendation clearly has nothing to do with athletics and only serves to enforce gender stereotypes and the subjugation of women.
The idea that female boxers should be made to wear skirts reduces these skilled athletes to sex objects. It undermines the the respect they have long fought for. Beyond the obvious misogynistic implications of such a recommendation, forcing female boxers to wear a uniform they are not comfortable in may have direct consequences on their performance. Research has repeatedly shown the reality of stereotype threat on individual performances.
On 18th January, the AIBA will make their final decision about dress recommendations based on public opinion and feedback from boxing professionals. That means that every signature the AIBA get will help force them to abandon the proposed dress code for good.
No matter what the AIBA does, it cannot change the fact that boxing is not a pretty sport, nor should it be. Female boxers should no more be forced into skirts than male boxer should have a jacket a tie required. Tell the AIBA to play fair and end its dangerous game of gender discrimination.