Shark Girl had a good point in her blog post, about bjj suffering from a man, or specifically “bro”, problem- referring to this article in the NY times about the technology community and their own issue with alienating females in the field.
Fortunately we don’t really have this problem in our academy: everyone, man or woman, is treated with respect and we all share our enthusiasm and drive for learning and improving in the sport. And I am aware that I am probably pretty lucky to be in this situation: there are always going to be jerks in the world- guys who make lewd comments about how they want to be in some girl’s triangle or whatever.
From here on out I’m going to call these folks “bros”. I want to make this clear: men in general are not the problem- I know a lot of jiu jitsu guys that are kind, respectful and overall wonderful to train and associate myself with. I don’t hear these inappropriate sorts of comments often, but I think that also has to do with the fact that I stay off of Internet forums and if a comment like that is made, it’s not made by one of our guys but rather at some outside event like a tournament, and I am generally oblivious to conversations going on around me during those events. Nothing personal, I’m usually just focused on something else.
For some women however they have to deal with those bros every.single.day. When this sort of culture is unchecked, it can make an uncomfortable training environment for a woman to train: it doesn’t matter if the transgressors mean what they are saying or not- it may be a joke, but it can slowly but surely alienate you female training partners, making them feel unwelcome in your presence and creating bad mojo in your academy in general. This absolutely doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have fun, or joke around, or share a laugh with your teammates- but no one likes to be made to feel like the odd duck, the freak in the crowd.
Really it boils down to this: Bros, I implore you, before you make that shitty comment that isn’t very funny in the first place (which let’s be honest here, you know it’s true) regarding women in jiu jitsu- please take a moment to think and recognize that your female teammate may be different from you, but they also have every right to be at your academy, to learn to love this sport/martial art as much as you do. Also, while you may make a personal delineation that you are not referring to those particular women in your academy- but really, just… just don’t, guys.
What do you guys think? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!