Verbal Grappling, the podcast collaboration between Jiu Jitsu Times and The BJJ Hour, has put together some phenomenal content over its first 4 episodes. We are exploring controversies that exist throughout this amazing art/sport at times with people who are the sources of that controversy. This Sunday we are airing yet another truly special episode.
Sport Jiu Jitsu has shown many that female competitors can give spectators just as impressive a display of technique as their male counterparts. I know that the first women’s match that I personally watched was Mackenzie Dern vs. Michele Nicolini at Metamoris 2. That match, for me, was the best of that evening, and when I heard that Ralek had decided not to set up women’s matches for subsequent events I was a bit puzzled. The reality is that in the sports world there always has been a certain level of sexism. Women don’t get paid as well as men do, women are not treated with the same respect as men are.
Dominyka Obelenyte undertook the task of getting equal pay for women in the IBJJF a few months ago (see this article for more information about her cause: Equal Pay for Jiu-Jitsu: Give Female Competitors Equal Financial Opportunities And Rewards) For anyone who doesn’t know, Obelenyte is a very young black belt. The 20 year old earned her black belt in January 2015, and went on to win double gold at worlds. She is the first competitor ever to win double gold at worlds their first time competing there as a black belt. She’s an amazing competitor. She’s also a student at Columbia University (one of the best universities in the world) doing a double major in sociology and visual arts.
We will be featuring Dominyka along with another special guest, the one, the only, the 27 time world champion Renato Laranja, if you don’t know who Renato is you’re gonna learn, if you do, well, his credentials speak for themselves. Expect this to be a very fun episode.
As far as the specifics of the discussion:
To the best of my knowledge the entire podcast team, myself included, support Dominyka’s cause and firmly believe in what she is doing, but we will need to ask tough questions, questions that make implications that we don’t necessarily believe in, on behalf of those out there who don’t think that there should be equal pay.
Expect to see the following points AGAINST equal pay to be discussed:
- In other sports women are not paid equally to men because they simply don’t draw the same kind of audience. What makes BJJ different?
- BJJ is a male dominated sport, not necessarily in skill level but in sheer numbers. Men outnumber women in the sport, and thus put more money into the sport, why should women be paid equally?
- In spite of high level grappling, women are on average not as physically strong as men and thus cannot perform the same athletically.
On the side IN FAVOR equal pay:
- BJJ is different in that its fans are interested in the display of the art, regardless of gender; as a result women’s matches draw the same number of fans as men’s matches do.
- Because BJJ has so many more men than women, women who get really good at it inherently have overcome obstacles that men never had to face. As a result the women at the upper echelons are truly remarkable and deserving of equal pay.
- Jiu jitsu is not about physical strength, women who become amazing at jiu jitsu and can compete and win at a high level show us all what we should aspire to reach.
There will of course be many points made that are not on this short list, and given that Renato has been known to be a bit of a loose cannon, his points may come from a different sort of mind space.
So, porra caralho, tune in Sunday, 11/15 at 6pm Pacific 9pm Eastern and watch us discuss pay equality in jiu jitsu!