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Giving a green light to male violence against women

USA Boxing’s new rules will allow men to batter women in the boxing ring.

Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'Neill
chief political writer

Topics Identity Politics Sport World

I’m old enough to remember when being progressive meant opposing male violence against women. When the decent liberal thing to do was to side with battered women against the gross blokes who beat them up. Not anymore. Now the right-on are giving a green light to male brutishness. They’re actively cheering men who fancy punching women in the face. As long as they do it in the boxing ring, that is. Courtesy of USA Boxing’s new trans rules, it is now permissible for boxers who were born male and who went through male puberty – that is, men – to compete against women.

USA Boxing’s ‘Transgender Policy’ says that in 2024 born males will be able to compete in the women’s category if they meet certain criteria. They must be over the age of 18 (under-18s boxing will still be strictly divided by sex). They must have undergone full gender-reassignment surgery (castration, the works). And they must agree to regular hormone testing to ensure their testosterone levels are low. Well, low for a bloke. If they do all this, then they can throw fists at a woman, something that would be massively frowned upon, and of course illegal, in every other area of life. USA Boxing can dress it up in as much woke finery as it likes, but to the rest of us this looks like the licensing of gender-based violence, the making of sport from the male battery of women.

Some say the rules are sufficiently strict to protect female boxers from excessive male force. An emasculated fella, his T levels greatly reduced, is not going to punch as hard as Mike Tyson. Getting whacked by a eunuch – a word we’re not meant to use, I know – is not the same as getting hit by a big intact lad with a WBA belt to his name, is it? In truth, a castrated man is still a man. His muscles and bones were as much moulded by the surge of testosterone through his body in his pubescent years as were every other man’s. His dick might be gone, but his biological advantage remains.

I like the way Aussie female boxer Ebanie Bridges put it: ‘Cutting [your] bits off and adding boobs won’t take back the masculine maturity your body has gone through before you decided [you] are now a woman.’ Thank God for antipodean frankness. Bridges is right. What the hike in T does to a boy’s body is extraordinary, and lifelong. It means men have 40 per cent more muscle mass than women. That men’s muscles are more dense. That men have larger heart and lung capacity. Higher metabolic rates. Longer arms, wider hand spans. And more strength. As the British swimming legend Sharron Davies points out in her brilliant book, Unfair Play, ‘The strongest 10 per cent of females can only beat the bottom 10 per cent of men in a hand-grip contest’.

The idea that these advantages conferred on blokes by the whoosh of sex steroids in their teen years can be eradicated by taking some oestrogen, or even by having one’s balls removed, is pure fantasy. A 2020 peer-reviewed study found that male advantage is only ‘minimally reduced’ by the synthetic suppression of testosterone. So the surgically altered / castrated male who gets into the ring with a female boxer will still likely have longer arms, larger hands, more muscle mass, higher lung capacity and greater brute strength than his opponent. To put it another way, this will still be a bloke beating on a woman. It’s not so nice-sounding when you state it plainly, is it?

Amazingly, the woke press is shocked that sportswomen and their allies in the trenches of reason are opposed to USA Boxing’s trans policy. These are ‘strict rules’ and yet still ‘some cisgender women’ are ‘complain[ing]’, says the Advocate. Those whiny women, will they ever shut up? Pink News had a pop at Riley Gaines – the American swimmer who lost out to lanky lad in a swimsuit Lia Thomas – for her ‘rage’ at ‘USA Boxing’s strict new trans rules’. Rage? Just say it, lads – you think she sounds hysterical and wish she’d pipe down like a good girl.

But these women (not ‘cisgender women’) who are pushing back (not ‘raging’) against USA Boxing’s new policy are right. Ms Gaines is correct that the policy ‘compromises the safety of women’. Why should a female boxer who’s trained hard her whole life expose herself to the blows of someone who has more muscle mass and longer limbs than she does, just to indulge his narcissistic delusion that he’s a woman? USA Boxing is essentially asking women to put themselves in harm’s way in order to flatter the fantasies of men who think they’re female. When Gaines says this is ‘utterly misogynistic’, she is speaking no lies.

The LGBTQetc media has slammed USA Boxing for being stricter on the trans issue than bodies like the International Olympic Committee, which says ‘transwomen’ don’t have to undergo surgery to compete in the women’s category. In truth, all these bodies are grotesquely selling out women. All allow men to compete against women. Some say you must be castrated first, others say it’s fine to keep your balls, but all have thrown open women’s sport to blokes. And that is sexist and unfair.

The consequences of the officially sanctioned male invasion of women’s sport have been dire. Men who masquerade as women have stolen medals from women in swimming, cycling, track and field. And in contact sports. Witness Fallon Fox, the ‘transwoman’ who competes in women’s mixed martial arts. One of Mr Fox’s opponents, Tamikka Brents, reportedly suffered concussion and a broken eye socket, and later said: ‘I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt… that night.’ Call me old-fashioned, but if your activism permits men to hit women, and to deprive women of medals, and to humiliate women who’ve trained hard for sporting glory, then it’s not ‘progressive’ – it’s misogyny in woke drag.

There’s another aspect of USA Boxing’s trans policy that should horrify everyone who believes in truth and equality. The policy implies, heavily, that a man who cuts off his genitals becomes a woman. That male castration equals femaleness. Have your balls removed and, boom, USA Boxing will embrace you as a ‘woman’. This is highly irrational. It is also chillingly sexist. It reduces women to the level of dickless men. It suggests there is nothing particular about womanhood – it’s just the curious state of being penis-free. Women are defined entirely in relation to men and our genitalia. They’re the ones who don’t have testicles, right?

Riley Gaines nailed it. ‘Women are not just a testosterone level’, she said in response to USA Boxing’s policy. Exactly. Allowing men to punch the shit out of women is the logical next step to society punching the shit out of the entire idea of womanhood. It’s time for some truth. If you were born male you will die male, and in the time in between those two events you should stay the hell out of women’s spaces and women’s sports. As we used to say at school: fight someone your own size.

Brendan O’Neill is spiked’s chief political writer and host of the spiked podcast, The Brendan O’Neill Show. Subscribe to the podcast here. His new book – A Heretic’s Manifesto: Essays on the Unsayable – is available to order on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. And find Brendan on Instagram: @burntoakboy

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Identity Politics Sport World

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