Thursday, February 19, 2009

Women Sometimes Do Boxing

It's been a slow week at Women Do HQ. The Globe's sins since the tattoo fiasco have mostly been minor. No Women Do Power Lunch. No Women Run Giant Lizard Farms. No Women, Once Liberated From The Tyranny of Needlepoint, Now Rediscovering the Domestic Arts Anew. Even Joseph P. Kahn seems to have given up on the Mr. Mom story he promised us.

I dared to hope. Could it be that a new day was dawning over Morrissey Boulevard? Had Marty Baron seen the light? Had somebody over there been reading this humble blog, and thinking, "You know, maybe we ought to take a few reporters off the Women Do Macrame beat and send them out knocking on doors in Dorchester. Maria Cramer's getting kinda lonely covering the entire distro area of the Bay State Banner all by herself."

Alas, as today's classic story proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, the women are still doing stuff. Namely, boxing. They do it. If there is anybody living under a rock in New Hampshire who remains unaware that women sometimes do boxing, consider yourself informed.

Milton J. Valencia's story contains a nice example of the old standby of Women Do, the Useless Reveal. This is a kind of lede, much favored by reporters on all beats, in which the first sentence or two lulls you into a sense of complacency by suggesting that nothing is out of the ordinary...

"These hands are no different from any Jack O'Neill has wrapped in his decades in boxing. Good jab, strong one-two. He would like to see a little more head movement, but so far he likes the progress."

...and then, WHAM! A surprising fact is interjected!

"Matie Desjardins, the woman who walked into his gym a year ago with barely any skills, has earned his respect."

Only the dark-horse vagina fails to surprise, because of course the giant screaming headline has already given the entire premise of the story away. Rats! Foiled again! Editor 1, Reporter 0!

I love the Useless Reveal, especially when it involves long blond hair cascading out of football helmets. My personal favorite isn't from a Women Do story at all--it's from a science story, in which a mysterious special clipboard-carrying person is revealed to be carrying not just any clipboard, but a clipboard for writing down things about bears. Globe columnist Kevin Cullen has also made good use of it: for instance, in his notorious June 5, 2008 column, in which ceremonial Fenway pitch-thrower Javier Serrano is revealed to have no hands.

The boxing story (which, mercifully, is titled "Round won" and not, e.g., "She box, he box, a-we box") would probably have made a decent profile. Instead, it meanders through the last 16 years of women-in-boxing-in-New-England history, pausing occasionally to dish out tepid compliments.

"Women are finding other women to box with them at major events. Most important say those in the boxing community, is that crowds are starting to enjoy women's bouts as part of the show, rather than an oddity.

"These girls even start to have a following," said William Hoar, executive director of New England Golden Gloves..."

It Is Not Done Well, But You Are Surprised To Find It Done At All.


  1. I am very disappointed that the story makes no mention of Hillary Swank or crusty Clint Eastwood. Major fail, Globe, major fail. Sounds like somebody in the newsroom needs to get the former Wealth Reporter to give a class in how to do faux-trend stories.

  2. The "long blond hair cascading out of football helmets" reminds me of a pet peeve: TV ads that are supposed to surprise when the protagonist turns out to be a (gasp!) woman. It usually involves a helmet (motorcycle is the usual, although football has been used and a particular favorite of mine involved a hockey goalie.) Pee-Yew!

  3. But Suldog! A hockey goalie? Who is also a woman?