Vol. 57 No. 3 (2009)
Research Article

Women Who Fight

Published 2009-09-01





Although only recently legalized in many countries, women's boxing is gaining increasing worldwide popularity. However, participation of women in this hypermasculinized sport is inconsistent with long-standing cultural expectations of femininity. This survey catalogs the nicknames given to women boxers, obtained from two online data bases (Women's Boxing Archive Network; Boxing Encyclopedia) and contends that many of these nicknames are intended to reassure the boxing audience, and often the boxers themselves, that despite their aggressiveness, these women are still inherently female.


  1. Abel, Ernest L. 2004. “Nicknames of American Civil War Generals.” Names 54: 243–285.
  2. Abel, Ernest L. and Michael L. Kruger. 2007. “Gender Related Naming Practices: Similarities and Differences between People and their Dogs.” Sex Roles 57: 15–19.
  3. Allen, I. L. 1983. The Language Of Ethnic Conflict: Social Organization And Lexical Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.
  4. American Demographics. 2001. “No Longer Just for Fun and Games.” May, 36–38.
  5. Bernstein, Alina. 2002. “Is it Time for a Victory Lap?” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 37: 415–528.
  6. Bodo, P. 1985. The Courts of Babylon. New York: Scribner.
  7. Cahn, S.K. 1994. Coming On Strong. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  8. Dale-Green, Patricia. 1963. The Archetypal Cat. Dallas, Texas: Spring Publications.
  9. De Klerk, V. and B. Bosch. 1996. “Nicknames as Sex-Role Stereotypes.” Sex Roles 35: 525–541.
  10. Feinstein, John. 1978. “Women Boxer Proves Hype to Gate As Sport Returns to N. Carolina.” The Washington Post. February 5, E4.
  11. Festle, M.J. 1996. Playing Nice. New York: Columbia University Press.
  12. Garro, Julia. 2006. “Guts and Glory.” Retrieved May 14 2007 from www.xtgra.ca/public/viewstory.aspx?AFF_TYPE=3&STORY_ID=2185&PUB_
  13. Hargreaves, J. 1997. “Women’s Boxing and Related Activities: Introducing Images and Meanings.” Body and Society 3: 33–49.
  14. HBO. 2007. “Boxing Fighters: Floyd Mayweather Jr.” Retrieved April 16 2007 from www.hbo.com/boxing/fighters/mayweather_floyd/bio.html
  15. Holland, T.J., Jr. 1990. “The Many Faces of Nicknames.” Names 38: 255–272.
  16. Juipe, Dean. 2000. “Daughters Cheapen Dads’ Names.” Retrieved April 17 2007 from www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sports/2000/mar/31/510065944.html
  17. Kane, M.J. 1995. “Resistance/transformation of the Oppositional Binary: Exposing Sport as a Continuum.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 19: 191–218.
  18. Keegan, Tom. 2007. “Bringing Boxing To Town.” Retrieved April 16 2007 from www2.ljworld.com/news/2007/ apr/14/keegan_bring_boxing_town/
  19. Klein, Marie-Luise. 1988. “Women in the Discourse of Sport Reports.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 23: 139–152.
  20. Lafferty, Yvone and Jim McKay. 2004. “Suffragettes in Satin Shorts? Gender and Competitive Boxing.” Qualitative Sociology 2: 249–276.
  21. Lawson, Edwin D. 1973. “Men’s First Names, Nicknames, and Short Names: A Semantic Differential Analysis.” Names 21: 22–27.
  22. Lentz, Harris M. 2003. Biographical Dictionary of Professional Wrestling. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Co.
  23. Leslie, Paul L. and James K. Skipper Jr. 1990. “Toward a Theory of Nicknames: A Case for Socio-Onomastics.” Names 38: 273–282.
  24. Matteo, S. 1986. “The Effects of Gender-Schematic Processing on Decisions about Sex-Inappropriate Sport Behavior.” Sex Roles 15: 197–211.
  25. Messner, M. 1992. Power at Play: Sports and the Problem of Masculinity. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.
  26. Morgan, Jane, Christopher O’Neill, and Ron Harré. 1979. Nicknames: Their Origins and Social Consequences. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
  27. Phillips, B. 1990. “Nicknames and Sex Role Stereotypes.” Sex Roles 23: 281–289.
  28. Playboy. 1984. “Women of Steel.” Retrieved April 25 2007 from www.womenboxing.com/Casillas.htm
  29. Pruyne, Terry W. 2002. Sports Nicknames. 20,000 Professionals Worldwide. Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co.
  30. Theberge, Nancy. 1998. “Same Sport Different Gender.” Journal of Sport and Social Issues 22: 183–198.
  31. Wierzbicka, Anna. 1992. Semantics, Culture, and Cognition. Human Concepts in Culture- Specific Configurations. New York: Oxford University Press.
  32. Williams, Dee. 2007a. “Daisy ‘The Lady’ Lang.” Retrieved April 25 2007 from www.womenboxing.com/biog/dhang.htm
  33. Williams, Dee. 2007b. “Suzanna Warner.” Retrieved April 25 2007 from www.wban.org/biog/swarner.htm
  34. WBAN. 2007. “Women Boxing Profiles. Past. Shirley Tucker.” Retrieved April 24 2007 from http://www.women-boxing.com/Tucker.htm