A special guest post from our very own Tina Le!
CrossFit is an egalitarian sport. Men and women, from the everyday athlete to the elite, compete with equal visibility, and CrossFit’s rapid growth built a community and created a market. In other words, if you’re looking to gear up, there is so much stuff to buy, no matter your sex or gender.
Generally speaking, in the world of sport and fitness merchandise, with the exception of perhaps gymnastics, figure skating, or tennis, women are comparatively more limited in their options. And this is especially the case for those of us ladies who practice the mixed martial arts.
Women of FCF, imagine if you will, if lifting shoes only came in men’s sizes, and if you didn’t fit the smallest available men’s shoe size, that was still your only choice. The one thing differentiating that shoe from the men’s version is yours comes in a lovely shade of pink. And even worse, the quality of your shoe is below the men’s. How do you think your performance would fare in the gym or competitions? And even if you overcame the discomfort or awkwardness of subpar and ill-fitting gear, how fair is it to always be reminded on some small level that your presence is not entirely wanted or expected–in a sport you are deeply passionate about?
This is precisely the experience of many female MMA practitioners. My sister, Lynn, and I both train in stand-up fighting styles (boxing, kickboxing), are just short of 5’0″, and have always bought 12-oz. gloves–we wrap our hands up and clench tight fists to fill up the extra space and keep our hands from sliding around. I also practice submission wrestling, and it’s a challenge to find durable performance wear (think, leggings and rash guards) that can survive regular training. The inseams of those cute yoga pants aren’t making it past a month and they weren’t cheap!
For every dozen options of any piece of gear or clothing for men, there are one or two choices for women, and those choices utilize hypersexualized marketing or the styles don’t suit the tastes of a diverse population of women. Due to the rapid growth of women’s MMA in the last 5 years, however, this is slowly changing (also owed in great part to CrossFit’s popularity and influence on how we perceive physically strong and muscular women, I’m sure), but being the entrepreneur she is, my sister got fed up and decided to do something about it. Enter Society Nine and gloves finally designed with the needs of female fighters in mind.
Inspired by Title IX and women’s longstanding fight to be on the same athletic playing field as men, my sister created Society Nine to represent the modern female fighter and athlete who is in power in the gym and empowered in life.
Society Nine’s first commercial spot! (That’s my sister’s voiceover and she also appears in the video)
Her first project–to manufacture the boxing and MMA gloves–is currently a “Staff Pick” on Kickstarter! If you also box, you can pledge for a pair of gloves, but there is also an infinity scarf, jacket, and track pants, among other fly items to gain if you pledge. Teaser: these are all designs from the future sportswear line… But first things first: there is only one week left to fundraise (deadline is Wednesday, February 25, at 8:25AM PST!), so please show some love, pledge what you can, and share the Kickstarter link with the ferocious females in your life so Society Nine can reach its goal to be the brand of badasses who run the world(? Girls!).
Check out the Kickstarter campaign!