- The Washington Times - Friday, May 12, 2000

Dressed in a sports bra, shorts and gloved fists, she glared into the camera menacingly, calling another woman to fight the way juvenile delinquents in New Orleans' Desire Public Housing complex dared an opponent to come take his whipping like a man. Jacqui Frazier-Lyde, daughter of Joe Frazier, was taunting Laila Ali, daughter of legendary Muhammad Ali. Ms. Frazier-Lyde had just won her first professional boxing match. Now she wanted to crush Ms. Ali.

"You wanted to know if I was a professional fighter. Now you see," Ms. Frazier-Lyde said. "I'll kick your butt, Laila Ali. I'm challenging you. Don't make me come and get you."

The 38-year-old Ms. Frazier-Lyde, a Philadelphia lawyer, who sold this bluff known in the vernacular as a "wolf ticket" in the presence of her three children, isn't the first woman to stand in the ring. Female boxing dates back to the 18th century although it never really took off. In the United States, lawsuits forced the industry to deal with women as seriously as it had men. In 1996, female fighters had their global coming-out party when promoters of the Mike Tyson-Frank Bruno bout put Christy Martin and Deirdre Gogarty on the card. Now, there are plans to include female boxers in the 2008 Olympic games.

Have mercy.

Women's rights advocates celebrate the bruising, scarring and pounding of female flesh. It fuels their claims that women can "do anything men can do" better, or at least just as well. Boxing promoters, like the ever-parasitic Don King, see cash money, and so do women, some of whom earn as much as $100,000 per fight.

Despite the assertions of this cash-and-carry crew, women in boxing is bad news. There is long-term physical damage sure to be inflicted with each match; Ms. Ali's and Ms. Frazier's famous fathers are testimony to that. More important, women in boxing is yet another expression of the defeminization and destruction of American womanhood and motherhood. It advertises and advocates violence and aids in the subversion of society's moral standards.

Interestingly, women see guns as the primary cause for the moral erosion. Sunday under the "Million Mom March" banner, they will converge on the nation's capital. Citing the "12 kids die from gun violence every day" statistic, they will challenge Congress to pass a "common sense" gun policy, including a "cooling off" period, extensive background checks, mandatory licensing for handgun owners, registration of handguns, a one-per month purchase limit, safety locks and beefed-up law enforcement.

They are right to argue for tighter controls. No one can deny the horrendous effects of guns. But, just as the entertainment industry and computers cannot be held wholly accountable for the carnage in America, neither can the full weight rest on the gun industry. If mothers really want to arrest fully the violence and rescue their children and their communities, they can start with themselves.

If it is true that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world and that women set the standard and tone for society, then at least part of what has gone wrong with America's youth can be traced to what is going wrong with women in this country. There has been massive and wholesale desertion by women of their families for the greener geography of corporate America. (A recent article in The Washington Post documented the increasing number of children being sent to boarding schools so their parents can have the freedom to pursue, uninterrupted by the demands of family, lucrative careers). Others are being kept at day care so long, it gives new meaning to the term "extended." Further, in the name of liberation sexual and otherwise women have sullied their own image. Even when they are not members of the "Red Light District" labor force, a whole bunch dress the part tattoos, hip-high skirts, see-through blouses, waistless pants that slip well past the navel (a la Mariah Carey), and other unimaginative, hoochie clothing. (During the height of segregation I remember African-American women wearing gloves, hats, and never smoking in public.)

Women also are too comfortable with the language traditionally ascribed to sailors. And not unlike Ms. Frazier-Lyde, they frequently threaten to kick butts and take names; newspaper headlines and the prison population prove that far too many times their words aren't just bluff.

If women have forgotten standards, principles, and have little regard for civility, why should children be expected to remember them. If women increasingly are resulting to sundry forms of violence, why is it so hard to consider the involvement of children. And, if a child knows his mother is getting paid to beat the mess out of another woman, why shouldn't he go one better, reaching for a handgun to annihilate his opponent?

If those million moms want to see greater, longer lasting reduction of violence in society, they will have to push for more than effective handgun legislation, stiffer criminal sanctions and fancy marketing campaigns. They will have to convince their sisters to close the cleavage, remove the tattoos, wash out their mouths, take off the gloves, get out of the boxing rings, and go home to their children.

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