Stereotypes... What kind of woman really does Martial arts?

Discussion in 'Women of the Martial Arts (Women Martial Artists)' started by Just4Kicks, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. Jenna

    Jenna Senior Master

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    Is that really the stereotype of the female martial artist? Maybe twenty years ago. Even the great Hollywood font of female stereotyping would seem to disagree, no? I had thought the new martial arts female stereotype was a lithe latex-poured vampyre hunting bimbo with a figure like miscalculated geometry.

    Not a single one of us is a stereotype imho.

    I would have to say I do not think there is any stereotypical *kind* of woman that does martial arts any more than there is any stereotypical *kind* of man that looks after his children.

    And but I am curious what made you ask the question?
    Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
    Jenna
     
  2. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Not a stereotype... more a universal fantasy! :D

    [drool]Kate Beckinsale[/drool]
     
  3. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Hollywood sterotyping is still in full swing.

    1. Angelina Jolie 'Lara Croft' movies
    2. Sai wielding Gardner
    3. Kill Bill...various 'hot chicks'
    4. Matrix
    5. Etc.

    Then their are the popular foreign imports. Can't recall seeing a single fight scene with 'normal' looking women in the past few years. I think my ALL TIME favorite was Brigitte Nielsen in 'Red Sonya'. *snort* Like those puny arms could ever wield a sword...no muscles.

    As long as popular media promulgates these fantasies, the stereotypes will persist.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    First, I'd say there's a difference between media intended to influence people, like fashion magazines and such, and hollywood action movies.

    Most of the examples you mention feature capable looking women, and I don't see a problem with that. Jolie, Carrie-Anne Moss, and Uma Thurman looked great in those movies and moved very well. They looked credible as action stars, and I think that's to be applauded. Most men don't look like the average male action star, either. It's fantasy. I'd add Linda Hamilton to your list, too. These are women who broke into a male dominated genre and managed to look both credible and feminine at the same time.

    I wonder if maybe we should do a better job of teaching our kids the difference between real and make believe. Sometimes, I wonder if the really damaging stereotype is the one where we don't give our kids credit for understanding that simple distinction.

     
  5. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Well, while I agree with the latter part of your post, I have to respectfully disagree with the first part. Unfortunately, I don't have any studies to reference, but I think that differentiating between the public's exposure to different genres simply gives too much credit for higher order processing.

    Young males, and old males for the matter, don't read fashion magazines. Most of them don't know any female martial artists, and so the general 'image' will be informed from...popular media.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    I think on the one hand you're not giving "people" enough credit for distinguishing between fantasy and reality.

    On the other, I think you're giving men (particularly young men) too much credit for drawing any useful conclusions from having watched Kill Bill beyond, "ZOMG, Lucy Liu is so HAWT!" Nor should they. That's kind of the point. It's fantasy and these action stars are playing archtypical roles. They SHOULD be gawking at the flexibility and athleticism of these women... that's the entire idea. But I would argue that men (particularly young men) don't give a second thought about whether these women do or don't represent "female martial artists." Men, in general, are equal opportunity objectifiers. :)
     
  7. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Just to throw this out there, this is what comes to my mind when I think of female martial artists and has little to do with movies.

    There are some very unnattractive female martial artists and some very, very pretty ones. Some are girly and others are not. Once again... if the idea is to react against a stereotype, my inclination would be to avoid promoting others that are just as misleading.
     
  8. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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    A very good string of posts, gentlemen. My compliments.

    I have to be honest that my thoughts on martial artists of female gender have been swayed by the 'movies' - but the movies I watched were martial arts ones, not Hollywood flicks with a patina of martial arts. So someone says "Name the first Female Martial Artist you think of!" and I answer "Cynthia Rothrock!".
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009
  9. harlan

    harlan 2nd Black Belt

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    Well...just performed an informal survey at work. For what it's worth, I asked non-MAists this question: Close your eyes, and picture in your mind what you think a female martial artist would look like. Describe her...be honest. The replies:

    -a jock (respondant 58 yr old female)
    -a young girl with that white top doing a karate chop, slim and dark haired (50 year old female)
    -an asian woman with long hair, slim, in a white robe...and honestly...hot (58 year old male)
    -my girlfriend/partner at a tkd event (27 year old female)
    -a tall, asian woman...athletic in a white uniform (another 50ish male)

    I'm sad...no one described me. :lol:
     
  10. super_newbie

    super_newbie White Belt

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    i only have 6 months of training under my belt (no pun intended) but i would have to say that no one is surprised to learn that i do MA training.
    I'm tall, lean, with tattoos, and used to sing lead in a rock band so people already kind of have this idea of me as being a tough girl.
    But I can get girly girly with the best of them!
     
  11. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    In my time in MA, I've had female instructors at nearly every school & few of them were ever the stereotype masculine female.

    In fact, a dear friend of mine is this gal at BabydollRiley.net
    Quite feminine (heck, downright girlie at times) but can also kick some booty.

    I really don't think there is a stereotype today that was around 20 years ago or more.
     
  12. Dagney Taggert

    Dagney Taggert Green Belt

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    I don't have time to answer this, I am looking for my lip gloss...
     
  13. Just4Kicks

    Just4Kicks Green Belt

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    It seems I forgot about this thread...

    I asked the question because of the myriad reactions I get from people when they find out I do martial arts. These reactions can range from a "that's cool." to a strange look and a, "but I thought only butch chicks did martial arts...". I've even been asked if I was a lipstick lesbian because of it. haha

    Actually, back in highschool, I was told that I intimidate the boys after I did a tkd demonstration at the school talent quest. Either that or they'd catcall about being able to beat me anytime, even if they had never been trained or in a fight their entire life and couldn't run 100 metres without wheezing. It was a pretty rough school though, most of the girls had been in some kind of fight so I don't see what the big deal was. Maybe it was because I wasn't using my nails?

    But most of these blatant negative reactions ended with High school, I guess I deal with less fragile egos at University. Now it is mostly a "cool" and at worst they go "awww", like watching a kitten trying to scratch a big dog.

    I got that from an ex boyfriend who told me that he could beat me any time. He said that it was "cute" that I was trying to be tough but I didn't need that anymore now I had him... naturally he didn't last very long.

    But on the flip side, I have gotten the femme fatale response too, usually when friends come and watch me at competitions and think that the dobok and guards are not sexy enough.

    I wonder what my instructor would say if I started coming to class dressed like a Charlie's Angel? ... I think I'll stick to my "white pyjamas".
     
  14. Tez3

    Tez3 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Dr. Rosi Sexton, TKD Dan grade and MMA champion.

    Rosi is absolutely lovely, a shy person who is one of the best ambassadors of our sport. I know the guy who's photo is shown too and there was no need for the comment made at all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2014
  15. Becca

    Becca Yellow Belt

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    I have to say I've gotten some very funny reactions too. The most common one is probably that I don't look like a martial artist. What exactly does a martial artist look like???

    The funniest i've ever gotten was from my art teacher in my final year in highschool. She'd taught me four years when she found out. The look on her face was a real kodak moment. :D
     
  16. Jenny_in_Chico

    Jenny_in_Chico Black Belt

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    No one is EVER surprised when they discover I do martial arts.
     
  17. ChingChuan

    ChingChuan Blue Belt

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    Well, they definitely don't look like 1.54 m tall girls with 75 cm long hair... (but I do look Asian.)
    Everyone gawks at me when I say I do martial arts. Some people don't even believe it, which is extremely annoying. Especially when a couple of boys start bragging about some technique to deflect a kick (they don't do martial arts at all, just 'saw something on TV') - they'll never believe me when I say it won't work, not even when I explain why. My boyfriend practises the same art as I do, but he started 1.5 years later. Still, everyone will talk to him regarding martial arts, even when he says he doesn't know the answer to their question and refers them to me...

    But I'm getting used to it ;). At least I've got a nice advantage over potential attackers...
     
  18. Tiberius

    Tiberius Green Belt

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    Maybe it depends on the age she starts. I am with somebody who does sports since age 4 and she is strong muscley assertive and dominant. However it might just be her personality. Like with most questions of that kind, you would need to do a research XD
     
  19. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    people surprised when i said i do MA. Because i dont look like one, either.
     
  20. Slipper

    Slipper Orange Belt

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    People are usually surprised when I tell them. I love my dresses and sandals and tend to be more interested in home and hearth. People usually laugh when they hear it but then they want to know more.
     

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