Thursday, April 23, 2015

Male Ring Card Girls

I’m not sure when the custom of ring card girls began in combat sports, but the history of how it came to be is less interesting than the question of why the custom persists.  I concede that it may be difficult for intoxicated onlookers to retain exactly which round is about to transpire, but I imagine it’s even harder to retain such information when it’s delivered via scantily clad women with bouncing appendages.  So it’s fair to say the utilization of ring card girls hasn’t lingered for practical reasons.

Of course, men (and some women) enjoy any excuse to fix their eyes upon the female anatomy.  But I’m not convinced that’s all there is to the story.  After all, there are other sports (even male-dominated ones) which lack any equivalent.  Sure, there are some similarities between ring card girls and the cheerleaders that perform at football and basketball games, but these are distinctly different phenomena.  And ask yourself, why don’t we have ring card girls at the DMV?  Or at the grocery store?  Or at funerals?   Why aren’t they holding up signs listing the current wait time, or a ticket #, or the parting words of the deceased?  If it were truly as simple as “it’s fun to look at hot chicks”, wouldn’t we have found a way to expand their contributions to society?  Indeed, the exclusivity among combat sports is intriguing.

Ultimately, I don’t think the custom is much thought about one way or the other, neither by spectators, combatants, promoters, event planners, nor the participants themselves.  It’s just something that is done, and seemingly always has been.  At best, the practice is an archaic pastime that endures out of a sense of nostalgia, serving as a celebration of the human form, while providing a helpful reminder of the upcoming round as an added bonus.  At worst, it is a demeaning exercise without any utility whatsoever, fostering a strange mix of sex and violence while engaging some latent archetype of the male psyche unconsciously rooted in fighting over the female sex.

All of that is fine.  I have no problem gazing upon attractive women as they walk around in circles.  But what strikes me as totally unacceptable in 2015, a time when females comprise a sizable and growing portion of MMA athletes, a time when the 135 lb champion Ronda Rousey is widely regarded as one of the best pound for pound fighters in the world (and one of the biggest stars in sports overall), is that there are no male ring card girls.  This, quite frankly, is an outrage.  It undermines the ideals of equality that we tirelessly strive toward as a society, it’s disrespectful to female fighters, and it should be highly offensive to you.  But most of all, it’s damaging to all the young boys out there who aspire to be the greatest ring card girls the world has ever seen.  Maybe you can sleep at night knowing we’ve trampled the dreams of our youth in blindly clinging to this custom, but I cannot.

I want to see scantily clad men in speedos and loin cloths parading around the octagon, doing their part to ensure everyone is aware of the upcoming round.  Rather than 3 designated ring card chairs filled with lady parts, I want to see 6 chairs next to the UFC cage occupied by male and female kibbles and bits.  And I want to applaud both sexes as they demonstrate how nimbly they walk while simultaneously holding up cards that show information more effectively communicated via the giant screens already present at each venue, and then deftly sit down ringside.  And I want to know that every MMA fan, whether male, female, straight, or gay, can behold a ring card girl within their attractive domain.

If we come together, we can turn this dream into a reality.  The world, and MMA, can be better.  We just have to choose to make it better.  Write to your representatives.  Write to your favorite fighters.  Write to the UFC.  And proudly spread the message that everyone should have the right to become a ring card girl, even if they have testicles.

36 comments:

  1. I agree with you that in an ideal world there would be ring card dudes in speedos at women's fights. It's unfortunate because as much as you and I agree that it's a good thing, I don't think society will hop onto this issue. People don't want to see men naked unless it's a show of toughness (fights, bodybuilding, pretty much any sports or pornography). If they were a ring card dude, it's not masculine by the way society would define it, and society doesn't like that.

    This of course is something that society has to change, and change doesn't happen on the macro level quickly. Change only happens quickly on the micro level when individuals begin to change in response to something, and eventually this idea spreads. This something can be art, as you recognize I'm sure is an extremely powerful force.

    If we just get everyone to agree and say "ok, I'll be okay with male ring card holders" it won't be their idea and they won't follow it with their own authenticity. They have to decide it for themselves. Thus, the way to watch dudes in speedos hold up cards is to allow people to change their minds on their own.


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    1. I agree people have to decide for themselves whether they want to see ring card dudes, but that doesn't mean it isn't beneficial to bring the possibility to their attention...otherwise the issue may never enter their awareness for consideration. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink - however the horse can't drink if it doesn't know where the water is. You feel me?

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    2. Definitely. No doubt that it's good to bring it to people's attention, as I would have had no awareness of it unless you made this post. Let's hope it and many other gender equality issues move in a better direction

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  2. Zack can you please create a twitter account. I've never heard about your blog! you need to get in touch with your fans through twitter. Thank you.

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    1. I have a twitter account...I just haven't used it: @Zack_Hemsey. But seeing as you found the blog without Twitter, the situation can't be that dire, can it? :)

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  3. This blog needs to be more prominent. You need a twitter account. And we all need a longer version of "So many trails, so many tears."

    Everyone that's heard it is demanding I send them the link to the "full version", and they won't accept "there isn't one" for an answer.

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    1. See the above response regarding Twitter. But I agree, this blog does need to be more prominent. Hey, you should remedy that by tweeting about it. ;)

      Regarding "So Many Trails, So Many Tears" perhaps it's just one of those things in life that is short and sweet. But note that there is not supposed to be any gap between this song and "I'll Find A Way" (at least, it was designed to be gapless, with one leading right into the other - some playback devices / platforms prevent a seamless integration though). So in a sense, both songs constitute a larger whole. Thus, one solution to the dilemma at hand is to begin looking at tracks 12 and 13 as an inseparable unit...then you'll have 9 minutes to sink your teeth into.

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    2. How attached are you to your past songs? I saw somewhere that you mentioned that you try not to look back on your own work too much, but I have always been curious about what artists think of their past work.

      Also, have you ever made something that presented ideas that you since have changed your mind on?

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    3. One more thing... do you have a favorite work of yours? I admire all of your songs, but "Teachings of a Ronin" gives me that esthetic arrest lately, and "Waiting Between Worlds" has the fantastic idea of the world being a magic show. Sorry for the questions man!

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    4. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “attached”. It is true that I try not to listen to any of my work after it has been released, but that has nothing to do with attachments. I simply want to forget what I’ve done, for a variety of reasons. One is so that it doesn’t influence me and isn’t in my consciousness when making new music. I also have a tendency to be hyper critical with myself, which can make it difficult for me to enjoy my own music as a casual listener (especially with more recent work - but if enough time goes by, then this tendency becomes less extreme).

      Nothing comes to mind as far as regretting past ideas. I’ve regretted certain executions of ideas, but not the ideas themselves.

      Lastly, I do not have a favorite work. I’m proud of many, but there isn’t one that stands above the rest.

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  4. Regarding the previous comments above, yes could you please have slightly more of a social media presence? I am sure many others, like myself, would be interested to see snip bits of your current journey in life and music creation process...best regards.

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    1. Is it just a coincidence that 3 separate Anonymous individuals have come to this article to express their disapproval of my social media shortcomings, or is there something larger at work going on? Are you each aspiring male ring card girls? Come out of the shadows and declare your passion to the world!

      I’m not opposed to Twitter and the like, however there’s only so much time in the day - I barely manage to contribute to this blog, and am far far worse with Facebook…who’s got time to Tweet? And what about Instagram, and the next 10 social media apps down the pike?

      I acknowledge the potency, benefit, and potential insight that these tools can yield, but they also come at a price, and that price is integrating them into your day to day functioning, such that you spend more and more time each day thinking about how and what to contribute to these platforms, and less and less time doing that which garnered the social media interest in the first place. In short, Twitter and its kin seem like a good way to become unproductive.

      I’m open to your thoughts on the matter, so let me know if you think I’m being shortsighted.

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    2. I think we all just really want to dress up in speedos and be muscular and wave cards around. It's the meaning of life

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    3. No, you're not being shortsighted. You have a very fare case in point, however one can argue that position for anything else in life, such as diet, habits, etc. It's all about moderation and balance. I, and many others are simply voicing out our opinions concerning your social media presence as your work has touched hundreds of thousands and it would not be anything benifical to have a more imminent social media presence. Take for example, I was with a few friends and I popped in a few songs off the album "The Way". Everyone thought that this was Hanz Zimmer, I am sure you have encountered this mix up before haha, but it drove me up the wall how you are not getting the recognition you deserve for your incredible work. In short, whatever you decide to do, I and the thousands of other listeners will respect to which extent you wish to have on social media platforms,
      Best Regards,
      - Aspiring Male Ring Card Anon (not srs)

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    4. I don’t think a Twitter presence would have any impact on me getting the recognition I deserve - after all, the only people who would follow me are people that already know who I am, so those who think I’m Hans Zimmer would remain under the same impression. However, I think you make a good point with respect to balance. To the extent that I can engage in social media while maintaining optimal balance between things, perhaps I should do so.

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    5. well, that's the beauty of social media, its unpredictable, also the growth of it isn't periodic, its exponential. Maybe at least experiment a bit before making a final judgement?

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  5. I used to be a little confused about why Ronin was different from your other works, in that the other albums felt more like stories or definitive meanings, but Ronin always felt like a medley of feelings or expression. And then I found out that Ronin means "wandering man" or something along the lines of a man that has no home or master, and am I right in guessing that the album is almost a collection of some character's internal experiences while "wandering"? Like a sort of insertion into a particular wandering man's mind?

    Hot damn I can't wait for some new music

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    1. Ronin is a bit of a loose term, traditionally referring to a samurai with no master. A ronin in feudal Japan may or may not have been a wanderer, from what I understand. Today the word is often utilized in general fashion to refer to anyone out on their own, without a master. As to your interpretation of the album RONIN, it is neither right nor wrong - but it is certainly valid and coherent.

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  6. Although I agree that you should have more of a presence on social media so that more people would discover you and your music, I completely understand the reluctance to do so. I'd rather you spend your creative moments writing music instead of coming up with creative anecdotes in 140 characters or less (or whatever the limit is).
    But getting back to ring card guys, speaking for the women contingency, we do not want to see a man in a speedo on a beach let alone in a boxing ring. Now if they were dressed like James Bond or Jack Sparrow I might tune in. ;-)

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    1. Well you wouldn’t be tuning in just for the ring card guys - that’d simply be a bonus. And is that to say the women contingency does want to see scantily clad ring card girls in a boxing ring?

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  7. I'm the one who started the twitter thing lol now I come to see if there's a comment from you and man you're really connected with your blog :D anyway followed you @twitter you can post your blogs there so me and others see it in the feed. Twitter and instagram they're a necessarily evil lol.

    I've been following your work since maybe 2010 comes to think about it.. man it's been a long time 5 years already since the famous inception trailer.

    I'd like to say that I like your approaches in every music you make and how's every one of them is different and unique from each other and above all else beautiful and inspiring. Actually you're the reason why I'm making music for almost one year and a half.

    I honestly have no idea what Male Ring Card Girls
    is lol.

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    1. I appreciate the compliment on the music. If you don’t know what a Male Ring Card Girl is, then you could be one yourself!!! Of course, you could always read the above article to find out - it would be like reading 40 tweets. Then again, maybe it’s best to leave it a mystery. But out of curiosity, what would be the point of me tweeting that there is a new article on my blog, for it to show up in your Twitter feed, for you to then not read it? :)

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    2. Zack stop mind heisting my brain!! I'm gonna read it now :D

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  8. So uh... got any update as to if/when new content is on the way? Couldn't help but ask, it's as if I'm addicted to your music like a drug and you're the dealer.

    Of course more importantly though, if given the opportunity to be a male ring card girl for a day, would you do it to support the principle behind it? (or any other reason)

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    1. I'm working on a new album. If all goes according to plan it will come out sometime next year, but it's too soon to project a firm release date.

      Although I do not have any personal aspirations to be a male ring card girl, if it would help to usher in a new era I would absolutely do it for the good of the land...but it would have to be during a UFC main event featuring Ronda Rousey. Go big or go home, you know what I mean?

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    2. Awesome, I can't wait. Any chance of a single popping up or anything?

      I mean, if you're going to wear a speedo for thousands to see you don't want to leave anything behind, right?

      Good luck with the cocai- uh I mean music, can't wait for some more!

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    3. If by single, you mean a song that exists as a standalone work not contained within a larger body of work (e.g. “The Home Of A People”, “Finding Home”, etc), there is no chance of that happening between now and my next full length album (but who knows what the future holds after the new album).

      If by single, you mean an advanced release of a song that will subsequently be included within an upcoming album, there is also no chance of that happening (now or ever). In truth, I have never understood this practice. Maybe I will write an article about this, as it might benefit from being explored in some depth.

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    4. -Different Anonymous-

      Awesome!
      Can't wait to listen to another great of yours. You are by far my most favorite artist of all time, your music, your appearance. I'm literally listening to your music everyday, most of the time Ronin since it's my favorite album. (I can literally remember most of the lyric in my head)
      It was really hard for me to find your CDs physical, but now I am proud owner of all 3 disks.
      To be honest, I'm kinda nervous since this is the first message I ever sent to you.

      My head will explode the day it comes out.
      Lastly I want to excuse myself for my english, I'm not a native english speaker.

      I'll be patiently waiting for your new album.

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    5. No excuse necessary Anonymous # 8 - your English is perfectly fine. I suggest everyone keep low expectations regarding the next album, as I cannot guarantee anyone will hold it in the same regard as past releases - of course, I certainly hope it will be equally regarded, but music is subjective so who can say for sure. Better to have low expectations and be pleasantly surprised, than have high expectations and end up sadly disappointed! Haha.

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  9. How does it feel to make some of the most badass music in human history?

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  10. I discovered your music on a Conor McGregor highlight video, so it is somewhat of a coincidence to stumble across your blog (I say 'stumble'. I - like a genius - Googled 'Zack Hemsey Blog') and find a piece written about MMA and indeed a subject I have thought about myself a lot before. Your blog makes almost as excellent a read as your music makes a listen. I understand in a recent blog post you (also coincidentally, it seems) remark in detail about copyright on Youtube and the like, so I hope you don't take offence at where I discovered your music. For what it's worth, the video in question was very, very well made and you are credited by the creator. Not that that means much, I suppose.

    Anyway... I guess the reason I started to write this is that I wanted in some way to tell you how utterly incredible your music and lyrics are and I can't stop telling people about it.

    Sincerely,

    Iain.

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    1. No offense taken whatsoever at the source of your discovery - my quarrel is with YouTube, not the people who upload videos. And to be clear, I don’t object to the sharing of music on YouTube - I object to the monetization of shared music (i.e. someone monetizing a video that contains other people’s work without authorization), which YouTube facilitates and participates in.

      I did see a fan promo for the McGregor vs Aldo fight a couple of months ago, which used my music - it was exceptionally well made - not sure if it’s the same video you are talking about.

      In any event, thank you for the kind words…and for the promotional work you’re volunteering to do on my behalf!

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  11. Cool man! Only half read the copyright one tbh as it was late and I smoke a bunch of weed. Such is life.

    The one I saw was called 'Embrace the Chaos' I believe. There are a lot of good fan made stuff on youtube; a lot of it better than the material the UFC sometimes put out.

    No problem. I shall endeavour on with my promotion as long as you don't mind me imploring said friends to wait for a thunderstorm, blast 'See What I've Become', fuck their girlfriends and pretend they're involved in the conception of the antichrist.

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  12. I want to know that every MMA fan, whether male, female, straight, or gay, can behold a ring card girl within their attractive domain.
    long stay parking Stansted

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