Linda Chavez is not related to Julio Cesar Chavez, neither Junior nor Senior, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay her no mind.
Chavez is driven, ambitious, wildly ambitious, crazy ambitious. She worked in the Reagan administration. She worked in first Bush administration. She was the first Latina ever nominated, by Bush the Second, to a cabinet position (from which she was forced to withdraw when it was discovered that she hired an illegal immigrant to clean her house and do childcare for “$100 to $150…every few weeks”).
According to the Washington Post, Chavez “sits at the helm of a political empire.” She fills think tanks with her high-octane rhetoric, works with Super PACs that have been fined by the Federal Election Committee, is director of two Fortune 1000 companies, and is on the Board of several non-profits, including the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Were that not enough to establish her bona fides, in her spare time she writes a syndicated column, where she has carte blanche to rail against whatever smacks of egalitarianism.
On August 10, one of Chavez’s op-eds appeared in the NY Post. It was titled “A Brutal Example: Boxing’s Bad for Women.”
Beginning with the words “As an American…” Chavez praised Claressa Shields for winning a gold medal in the London Olympics—before bringing down the hammer.
“I am deeply concerned,” she wrote, “that her win will encourage other young women to pursue this dangerous, potentially life-altering sport.”
Chavez, a shrewd political operative if there ever was one, knows a thing or two about that which is “life-altering.” Altering lives is the name of her cynical game. But in 2003 she “suffered traumatic brain injury” and it changed her mightily. The injury didn’t happen in a ring and didn’t result from a punch. She, in her own words, “took a bad fall, slamming the back of my head to the floor and losing consciousness briefly.”
Losing consciousness must have come as something of a shock to someone as conscientious as Linda Chavez.
“Although early MRIs showed no sign of damage,” she went on, “a recent brain scan showed that one side of my frontal lobe had shrunk slightly. My doctors believe the changes occurred as a result of my brain slamming against the inside of my skull — which is what happens whenever the head rapidly accelerates and then stops or reverses direction from hitting a hard object, shaking, being jerked forward in a car accident or being hit.”
If you don’t get the connection between Chavez hitting her head on a floor and Claressa Shields winning a gold medal, fear not. It’s on its way.
“So why is it we should celebrate encouraging young women to punch each other repeatedly, risking not just broken ribs, cuts and bruises, but serious trauma to their brains? The same, of course, can be said for men.”
Chavez is no fight fan, which is just as well, because with friends like her who needs enemies?
“Boxing is a brutal sport, one whose sole purpose is to hurt the opponent while avoiding being hurt yourself. Even football has other goals — advancing a ball down the field — which relies on passing, running and kicking, not just brute force.”
Anyone who believes that boxing is “just brute force” knows next to nothing about the sport.
“There are other reasons to oppose boxing for women,” she continued. “Many feminists see the decision to include women’s boxing in the Olympics as a step forward in recognizing equality. These same feminists want to see women in military combat. Their ultimate goal is ignoring any differences between men and women, even when those differences are biologically rooted.”
Attacking women’s boxing is bad enough. Why not take potshot at feminism while we’re at it.
“For millennia, women have played an important civilizing role in society. No society has ever existed in which women were the warriors,” she writes, ignoring the Amazons, the all-female warriors in Greek mythology and Classical antiquity. “Males are larger, more powerful and driven by testosterone to be more aggressive than females. Women are life-givers — not life-takers.”
That sounds so good. She should tell it to “life-givers” like Hillary Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi, and Aileen Wuornis.
“Yes, there are exceptions. Women do commit murder — though they are far less likely to engage in random or stranger killing than men — and their murder rate is 10 percent that of males.”
Women would kill more if given the chance, or if they weren’t first being killed by their trigger-happy spouses.
“I’m sure that there are some women who could do well on the battlefield,” Chavez wrote, taking no position on women in combat, let alone on combat itself. “And no doubt Shields could defeat many bigger men in the ring.”
If you’re losing the thread of Chavez’s argument, not to worry, you’re not alone. Her argument was specious to begin with. Suggesting that “Shields could defeat many bigger men in the ring” has less to do with boxing than it does with the author’s inability to articulate a cogent position.
“But is more violence and aggressiveness something we really want to encourage in our species?” asked the woman who never met a war she didn’t like. “Is there no evolutionary advantage in having half the population play a gentler, more nurturing role that tempers the aggressive tendencies of the other half of our species?”
Gosh that sounds great, but who’s kidding who? Leave it to Laura Chavez, that paragon of all that is “gentler” and “nourishing,” the iron fist in a velvet glove Laura Chavez, to play good cop and bad cop in the same poorly worded paragraph.
“Whatever glory Shields and other boxers earn in the ring will be paid for by future generations of women — and men — who are hurt by following their example.
Instead of welcoming women into boxing competition, the Olympic Committee would serve society better by eliminating the sport altogether.”
Although Chavez doesn’t know it, pomposity is no substitute for coherence. Not that most of her readers are any the wiser.
Nancy J. Jancourtz from Brooklyn wrote, “I am in total agreement with Linda Chavez. God made men and women to complement each other. Certainly, men and women can be competitive in numerous endeavors, but we are basically different. I happen to believe that to be God’s will. I will venture a bit further and suggest that men, too, should turn to sports other than boxing. Is it truly essential? There are so many other athletic pursuits that are far less destructive to the human body.”
Thank you for those comments. We don’t know much about God’s will and even less about men and women complementing and/or competing with each other. But insofar as your boxing question—“Is it truly essential?”—is concerned, the answer is an emphatic YES.
W. Olson from Suffern wanted to dig a little deeper.
“I see another issue in Olympic boxing besides head injuries,” he wrote. “US boxer Claressa Shields’ gold medal is a clear example of how our society is being feminized. It’s a trend that I’ve been aware of for some time. The US men were all eliminated, but a woman wins gold. And what’s up with medalists’ crying all the time?”
I’m assuming the W. in W. Olson doesn’t stand for Woman, because no self-respecting woman would write about “how our society is being feminized,” and then bitch about crying athletes.
In the spirit of fair play, The Post published a comment by David Lawrence, who trains boxers in Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn.
“Chavez writes that she has had brain damage,” he wrote. “So have I, except mine came from boxing professionally. I’d take brain damage three times over just to have had the thrill of fighting in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. It was worth every brain cell that died. However, I do agree with her statement, ‘Women are life-givers — not life-takers.’ We do not want women to be as animalistic as men, but female boxers have a calling to fighting like I did. Chavez does not have to imitate Nanny Bloomberg and tell people how to live their lives.”