The director of the Andorra Taekwondo Federation, Juanjo Padros, has presented the world of Taekwondo with a female specific Dobok (uniform). He explains that this new, more form fitting uniform, uses Lycra fabric and has incorporated a skirt “giving it a more feminine touch.” Thus, we learn it is always important to feel feminine while trying to kick someone’s ass or trying not to have your own ass kicked.
Padros offered a number of reasons why a female specific Dobok would benefit Taekwondo including the following points:
– to renew the female Taekwando image and make it easier for spectators to determine whether it is a male or a female fighting
– to improve the image of Taekwondo for television and media
But the most important reason to mass produce female Doboks?
is to take a better advantage of our female competitors because they are a treasure. It is important to show that practicing Taekwondo gives good health, helps to stay fit and gives a beautiful body shape. The last issue must be exploited and must be used to promote Taekwondo in this specific moment, after the success in the Olympics and a great World Championship, to attract television and mass media interest.
Traditional dobok.Now, it seems that the article has been translated from Spanish so maybe exploited wasn’t the word he used and maybe it was but I think we get the idea. Let’s show off the bodies of our female athletes to try and bring in some sponsorship dollars. Why aren’t we ‘exploiting’ the bodies of men? Why are we ‘exploiting’ anyone?
Women’s specific items present a double-edged sword. They are nice in that they acknowledge that many women appreciate the same pursuits as men, whether as fans or as participants. Yet, while these items may be intended to welcome and include women they simultaneously drive a social wedge between the genders; in effect, you can sit here but you can’t sit there. It seems that while the roles of men and women have increasingly blurred with both genders working, taking care of the home, playing sport etc. we have tried to separate the genders through the consumption of products. For example, now we have light beer for men on ‘guyets’ (male diets – WTF?!?!), pink boxing gloves, skin care products explicitly labelled and coloured for men, and women’s tool boxes. Oh and the best one yet – yogurt for men (aka brogurt) and yogurt for women! Call me crazy but I thought shampoo was for HAIR and not genitals and yogurt was for our insides not our outsides. Perhaps, I am the silly one.
What I do appreciate is that designing something specifically for women screams the fact that women were never considered in the original concept. To design a women’s specific Dobok, hockey skate or ski is an acknowledgment that men are the norm and women are the afterthought. Do I like being the afterthought? No. But the fact that we are afterthoughts supports the continued need for feminism demonstrating that we are not yet equals and still have battles to fight. Girl power still has some work to do.