Days after local lawmakers and activists in Australia called out fight promoters for using “ring girls” to hoist round cards in the ring, fight organizer Dean Lonergan made a change.
Except neither he nor those in attendance at the fight on Saturday night in Bendigo, Victoria — which sits about 100 miles north of Melbourne — were happy about it.
“Who are they to judge what employment these women have,” Lonergan said, via ABC. “Do they know what they do with their lives day-to-day? All these women actually do a lot for women’s empowerment.
“I am disappointed, but I am also responsive. I will replace the three women who were employed to signal the start of each round with men.”
So he did just that.
Lonergan replaced the three women card holders with two men, who he called “fight progress managers,” during Jeff Horn’s bout with Michael Zerafa. That move didn’t go over well with the crowd, however, who booed every time the men entered the ring.
A pair of Bendigo city council members recently slammed the practice of having women hoist the round cards at fights, saying that it was giving the “wrong look” and is an “outdated and misogynistic concept.”
“Tourism can wait. The future of women and girls cannot,” Bendigo city council member Yvonne Wriggesworth said, via ABC. “I'd love to raise in my colleagues about how this is an OK thing … it's not OK that we have young females portrayed in this way. If the sport has merit on its own, it can stand without these token trophy women and these accessories that are somehow being translated as part of the glamour.
“If this is about true athleticism and skill, they don't need people standing behind them in black cocktail dresses.”
Eventually, Lonergan replaced the men with the original women — which the crowd appreciated.
“Ironically, four women will be fighting tonight and wearing less clothing than those women I have now had to replace with men in response to these protests,” Lonergan said, via ABC. “They have denied three women the opportunity to do the job they applied for. They are intelligent women. Their freedom to work in an environment that they choose and enjoy doing has been completely undermined. These protests are an attack on them.”
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