INTERVIEW-British boxing star Nicola Adams combats gender stereotypes

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* Olympic boxer says sexism holds back women * Film traces boxer’s battle for equality

* Adams calls for more education on racism By Rachel Savage

British Olympic boxer Nicola Adams has always faced two fights: one in the ring and another against those who argue that women have no place in one of the most male dominated sports. Adams, who is black and lesbian, said sexism has been the biggest hurdle she’s had to overcome in her 25-year career, as new documentary traces her journey as a pioneer in battle female boxers to be treated on an equal footing.

“We’ve just been put in a box for so long that every time a woman does something that thinks outside the box it always feels very extreme, but it shouldn’t be,” Adams told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during a video call from its London. residence. Adams, 39, became the first woman and the first openly LGBT + person to win an Olympic gold in boxing, her victory at the 2012 Games in London making her a household name.

Her story is told in a new documentary, “Lioness: The Nicola Adams Story,” which was released on Amazon Prime last month. The film traces his career from his debut in the city of Leeds, in the north of England, to his gold medals at the London 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

It also features other female boxers who fought to create a place for women in the sport, such as Jane Couch, who won a lawsuit in 1998 to legalize professional female boxing in Britain. Archival footage used in the documentary features well-known male boxers and promoters criticizing the idea of ​​women fighting.

“It’s really a little cruel,” Amir Khan, a former British world champion, said in a file clip. “Why would I want to see this? “

Khan’s representatives declined to comment. “Boxing has had such a negative reaction, like ‘Oh my God women box – they’re too precious and fragile to be able to do something like that,’” Adams said.

LGBT + LAWYER Adams has also used his platform to dismantle stereotypes and advocate for gender, racial and LGBT + equality.

She broke entertainment barriers as part of the British TV show’s first gay partnership “Strictly Come Dancing” last year, a competition that pairs celebrities with professional dancers to learn Latin and ballroom routines. “I didn’t see why this should have been a big deal anyway. I mean, women have been dancing with women for god knows how long,” Adams said with a laugh, thinking back to his much-discussed association with her. dance partner Katya Jones. .

She would have liked the couple to do dances in which they didn’t introduce themselves as mere friends, like the opposite-sex couples on the show, who often perform passionate romances. “We should be able to show the passion of different dances,” Adams said.

“We have to move beyond the concept of women (being) seen as sex objects. I think it will make things a lot easier for lesbians too, because automatically, as soon as someone sees a lesbian … (they are) sexualized everything right now.” Adams said that she doesn’t let the racism and homophobia she occasionally feel, be it the suspicious security guards dragging her into stores to the offhand comments she receives that being a lesbian is a waste”.

“It’s just laughable,” she said, of the intermittent abuse she and her girlfriend Ella Baig, a 23-year-old social media influencer, receive online – to which they sometimes humorously respond in TikTok videos. “I don’t have time to hate and focus on someone who hates.”

Nonetheless, she believes that as more people talk about racism since the Black Lives Matter protests, there needs to be more education. “At school, you are taught the minimum,” she said. “Black history shouldn’t be just one month a year … Black history is there all the time.”

NEW RLES Adams retired in 2019 after sustaining eye injuries at a boxing match, prompting medics to warn she could go blind if the eye was further damaged.

She is now focusing on acting, taking classes and working on a few projects beyond sports that she was not yet ready to discuss. “My dream role would be that of a superhero in a Marvel movie,” she said, while her ideal co-star would be Hollywood actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

“I would love to play a villain or a really deep character who is so far removed from the person everyone thinks of me as – the happy, fun Nicola Adams,” she said. She’s not about to stop talking about her boxing career, however. Reflecting on its impact on sport and beyond, Adams said that women’s perceptions have changed dramatically from stereotypes about mothering and caring roles.

“We are no longer seen as those fragile creatures. We can do so much more than that,” she said. “And we’ve always been able to do a lot more than that.”

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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