Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee

In class we have talked about gender differences as well as the importance of motherhood. Laila Ali is a great example of both of these topics. Laila Ali is well known for being the daughter of the famous boxer Mohammad Ali; however, she has done a very good job of making a name for herself. Making her mark in the women’s boxing industry Laila has held her own in the ring even while often being compared to her legend father. Not all people agree with females being a part of a male dominated sport but Laila Ali was not ALL rough and tough; she had a feminine side too….VERY feminine!

I am a firm believer that the connection between a father and his daughter is extremely important. However, Laila did not grow up with her father because her parents divorced while she was still young. As a child she played with dolls and even owned her own nail salon when she got older. It was not until her early twenty’s that she started training with her champion father to become a champion herself. Her father, of course, was excited about her decision to fight; on the other hand, her mother was a little skeptical. It was not ‘typical’ for young women to aspire to be a boxer but obviously her father had a lot to do with this desire. My only question is: How do you go from painting nails to knocking people out?!? Best of both worlds, I suppose.

Laila Ali returns and embraces her feminine side while participating in a season of Dancing with the Stars and actually does really well. It is easy to make that connection from the boxing ring to the dance floor because both dancers and boxers are trained to be light on their feet. But I personally was surprised to see her on the show because it was hard to think of her as a sexy woman dancing in a little skirt. I couldn’t get that ‘boxer-tom-boy’ image out of my head but she did her thing and made me a believer.

In a recent Kohl’s commercial, Laila talks about her transition from the boxing ring to motherhood. To me, the commercial gives the impression that she is a great mother: very interactive, intimate, attentive, and loving. Motherhood seems to be a very important role to her. She states in the commercial that she ‘shops to win’. Although she has money out the “wah-zoo”, I’m sure she still gets that great feeling that women get when they find a great deal, especially with two little ones to dress.

Laila Ali has proven that women can do whatever they choose to do as long as they put their mind to it and commit. Even while pursing her boxing career, she stayed true to her gender and sexuality. Always dressing to impress, Laila gives a message to younger girls that anything is possible.

About michalchavis

Future ODU Alumni-2013, asprirng US Marshal, destined for greatness
This entry was posted in Fathers & Fatherhood, Gender Reversal, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee

  1. Becky Martin says:

    I actually grew up in a small town where Muhammad Ali owned an estate, and it was not unusual to run into him and his family around town: at school functions, McDonalds, or at the Haunted House. His son went to my high school, just a few years behind me. From my observations, the entire Ali family stays clear of “gender normalcy,” which is a fantastic way of raising children. Muhammad himself made plenty of appearances at local sporting events, of course, but also was sure to appear at more “feminine” events such as high school musicals and concerts. His wife Lonnie, on the other hand, was always the first person present at “masculine” sporting events, even if her husband wasn’t with her. Laila is the obvious result of wonderful parenting, showing that a person can be, and can do, whatever interests them – no matter if it’s “normal” or not.

    Great blog post, Michal! :)

  2. michalchavis says:

    Thanks Becky!! As opposed to raising children ‘genderless’, I feel like giving them options and letting them explore is definitely the way to go.

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