Combating Stigma


Jaydlyn Soto practicing for a fight.

Girls in combat sports shatter gender norms and stereotypes. 

At one point in time women in combat sports were seen as a problem. Sports like mixed martial arts(MMA), wrestling, boxing, were dominated by men. So, when women wanted to engage in these physical activities, they were ridiculed and humiliated. Though women today still often face the same mockery their formers faced, their strength and determination has earned them respect from the community. As of now, famous female fighters like Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg have built well known names for themselves. Allowing women all over the world to see these changes and find hope.

Jaylen Gresham, a junior on the Curtis wrestling team, shared her thoughts and experience of being in a male dominated sport.  ‘’This is what I’m meant to do,’’ said Gresham,and she never doubted herself. Even when people’s  reaction to her wrestling was that its not very feminine it did not deter her. Jaylen also explains that being surrounded by what she calls a sisterhood, has helped her.   She even describes the team at Curtis as a female dominated team. As opposed to other women who struggle with their femininity doing combat sports, Jaylen found her feminine power through wrestling. She never wants to stop combat sports after graduating. And her advice for women interested in combat sports but hesitant; “Join, it’ll boost your confidence.”

Jaydlyn Soto, a sophomore at Curtis, boxes outside of school. She got into boxing when she was six and has stuck with it ever since. She gave an insight into her training and said she only trains with guys and prefers it that way. Although it’s not a sisterhood, she doesn’t feel alienated. It actually pushes her to do better. She says that men claim women’s boxing is ‘’sloppy’’ and ‘’slow’’ and this motivates her, making it her job to prove them wrong. Sometimes, however, She feels like she is being looked at as a branch ready to be stepped on. On the bright side, she describes some people looking at her in a positive light. Soto said,  “they treat you better, like a strong woman.’’ Soto wants to move on to fight at Madison Square Garden and make it to the junior Olympics for boxing. And her advice; ‘’Do it, you learn discipline and you get stronger mentally