UFC fighter Bethe Correia, best known for her fight against Ronda Rousey in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, recently opened up about the realities of being a popular female fighter in the UFC. According to her, it involves a ton of inappropriate behavior from men, some in real life, but almost non-stop online. Bloody Elbow has her words.
“In Brazil we have these pick-up lines from construction workers, but it’s every day on the internet, especially from foreign people. They are crazier, I don’t even know what to call them,” she said. “They harass me on Snapchat and Instagram from seven to 10 videos a day. Guys send me videos of them masturbating with pictures of me. Sometimes they get to the point of masturbating themselves while watching me fight and I’m just working, I’m doing my job, practicing a sport. They get turned on and send that individually. I think there’s a lot of men who fantasize with female MMA fighters. They want to have sex with a female fighter. I block them due to their inconvenience, but there’s always a new perv.”
“Ignoring is one way to deal with it, you can’t fight them all. It’s a matter of awareness. I embrace the ‘it’s not your fault campaign.’ Walking around in short clothes or in a bikini doesn’t give anyone the liberty to act like that.”
If Correia is getting this kind of treatment, you have to figure it’s equally bad if not worse for many other female fighters in the organization. The sheer volume of disgusting behavior being levied at her is disturbing, just another one of those unspoken aspects of being a public female on the internet that we don’t consider enough.
It brings to mind Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s open letter to the internet from two years ago detailing the kind of behavior she consistently receives from ‘fans’ of the band — violent, aggressive sexual comments across all forms of social media.
“What I do not accept is that it is all right for people to make comments ranging from ‘a bit sexist but generally harmless’ to openly sexually aggressive,” she said. “That it is something that ‘just happens.’ Is the casual objectification of women so commonplace that we should all just suck it up, roll over, and accept defeat?”
Hopefully with Correia’s comments and the stories of more women from the world of women’s mixed martial arts, we can take this kind of behavior out of the shadows and work to mitigate the flow of this sort of sexual harassment. There will always be perverts out there, but even if we could push back against the ‘casual’ stuff found on Twitter and Instagram, it would be a step in the right direction.
(Via Bloody Elbow)