Canadian boxer Mary Spencer is seen fighting for a gold medal at the Pan American Games in Mexico. Spencer said the skirt she wore at the games was more comfortable than shorts (Arnulfo Franco/AP).
A bid to make female boxers wear skirts instead of shorts during Olympic competitions is taking a beating from opponents who slam the move as sexist.
Amateur boxer Elizabeth Plank has created an online petition against the skirt proposal, which now has more than 52,000 signatures.
"It really bothered me," said Plank, a Canadian studying in England at the London School of Economics.
International boxing leaders meeting in Thailand are expected to rule on compulsory skirts before the Olympic Games begin in London in June. The 2012 games will mark the official debut of female boxing.
Some boxing officials have said the skirts would be more elegant than shorts and help the women's competition stand out from the men's.
"Forcing women to wear skirts, I think, it's sexism," Plank told Teddy Katz of CBC Radio Sports.
"'What does elegance have to do with boxing anyways? There is nothing pretty about it," she added.
But other female boxers, including Canadian Mary Spencer, have said they don't mind wearing skirts because they're actually more comfortable.
Others say the controversy is about mandating skirts instead of allowing athletes to choose their preference.
"That's pretty draconian," said Mark Tewksbury, Canada's chef de mission for the London Olympics. "I think it should be optional for everybody."
Do you have a problem with the skirts themselves, and/or with the idea of making them mandatory for female boxers? Is this an innately sexist proposal? Share your thoughts in the field below.
(This survey is not scientific. Results are based on readers' responses.)
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