Women’s War Face
the Bloody Female Muay Thai Fighter Face – New Beauty
[the blog post on the thinking behind this page] – this page was begun June, 2014
There should be more bloodied female fighter face photos, but there aren’t. In fact, in a largely the male-shaped fight media (produced and audienced) there has been something of an absence of the bloodied female fighter face. Some of this is because women are discouraged from activities where their faces may be bloodied, so there are fewer images to be found, but some of this is editorial choice. Whereas the male face is depicted bloodied and bruised post-fight as a badge of manliness and strength, the female fighter’s damaged face does not often receive this same treatment – in fact, women are often depicted in stark opposition to the damage associated with fighting. Instead we get repeated images of women in make up and with belts, even in bikinis with belts or with fighting equipment (gloves, wraps, title belts) utilized to cover bare breasts rather than for their utilitarian purposes. There is nothing wrong with these beautiful images in isolation, except in the way that they may isolate and limit women who find meaning in female fighting. Media decision-makers (from website owners to television producers and fight productions) have been afraid of the bloodied female face to some degree, afraid that too much of this blemished face will put audiences off, and keep their sports from growing. Before the first female MMA bout on US television aired, there was talk that America wasn’t “ready” to see women hitting each other and/or bleeding in a cage. The bloodied female face is seen by this general public as excessive, ultra-violent and ultimately unattractive or as a strong image of victimization. We fighters, on the other hand, believe that the bloodied female face instead symbolizes the female fighter’s commitment, the possibility of blood and scarring being far from what society and gender role norms choose for us. The blood represents the fighter’s choice. The bleeding face may be the female fighter at her most honest moment, when she shows injury not as an adornment, but as a consequence of her endeavor. Notably, the photographed female fighter face is one of the few times a woman who is obviously injured is not a victim. The bloodied female fighter face is beautiful. It is strength.
Of all sports, in particular with full rules Muay Thai with the weapon of elbows in full employ, where the cut is strategically used to end fights, the cut announces women to be on the same footing as the men whose bloodied faces are far more celebrated and embraced as an image that symbolizes toughness. This page is devoted to recording the female Muay Thai fighter faces that have been bloodied, faces that are not (yet) embraced as those of men. The hope is that this collection of faces will prove unique and in some small part changing of what is acceptable in athletic female beauty. We are expanding the aesthetic.
For more on the thoughts behind this this page, read my blog post. If a Muay Thai fighter would like to submit a photo or photos of themselves (or even video) for our wall of blood we would love to have it! (At this point we are only accepting self-submissions. It’s important that these photos are personal expressions of the fighter, herself.) Just send your name, the photo, the date, opponent and location (if possible) to [email protected] A portion of these photos/clips are from me, simply because I fight a lot and in forward clinch style (84 stitches), but the more faces we have together, the greater the celebration, the faster the change.
The photos are more or less of fights in reverse chronological order.
Nissa Niazi vs Victoria Callaghan, Ignition Muay Thai, Perth, Australia – April 18, 2018
Photo credit Tom Brown: Muaythaiaction.com
Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu vs. Baifern Bor. Puiboonput – October 7th, 2015 – Thapae Stadium, Chiang Mai, Thailand you can see the full fight video and read its blog post here.
You can see the full Alldis vs van Soest fight video here.
You can see the full Merrett vs Alldis fight video here
You can find Nat “The Storm” Edwards on Facebook here.
You can see the full Melissa Reaume vs Nong Ying Phettonpung fight video here. And you can follow Melissa on her Facebook Page here.
you can see the bloodied, happy exit video, the walk to stitches here:
and read the blog post on the fight
You can find Juliana Rosa on Facebook here.
photo credit: Josephine Runneboom
As mentioned at top, as a fighter who has fought over 100 times in Thailand, and a muay khao clinch fighter, I’m going to have more than my fair share of bloody photos. My stitch count is up to 88 (as of 5/2016). The bloody fight above (2/2014), and the public reaction to it, was one of the first moments that really got me thinking about the female face and blood.
The Women’s War Face Album on Facebook