Boxing and consent
|July 3, 2011||Posted by Joe Towse under lifestyle, sport|
Since when has getting one’s jollies from seeing two human beings attempting to savage each other been acceptable? In case that opening sentence didn’t proffer enough information to guess what this is going to be about, I logged onto Facebook this morning, and all I saw was “David Haye this”; “David Haye that”; “what a shame he lost the fight”; “no it’s not, he’s a c**t”. The last two of those are quotes.
In our modern civilisation, do we really need to fight? Is it appropriate that we do so? Although certain Darwinian principles may have existed in the past, meaning that at times it was necessary for human beings to lock into combat with one another, both for their own survival and for the continuation of evolution, those necessities, I believe, were gone even by the time that the Romans introduced gladiatorial combat.
Now, normally, I’m not one to see myself as a moral compass for others to follow, but I just feel that it is unnecessary in this day and age for people to pit themselves against one another, and to attempt to hurt one another. One may argue that they have consented to this, but I beg to differ – although some consent can exist in that they agree to fight, neither one believes that they will be badly hurt (and if they do, they’re in such a poor state of mind that their consent is worthless anyway), and there lies the difference between that and other consensual practices.
One of these other consensual practices is the murky realm of BDSM (which stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism and masochism). This sort of practice, I am fine with. The reason I am fine with this and not with some other practice of ‘consent’ like boxing? Because when someone enters into BDSM, they know, at least to a certain degree, what is going to happen. They can pre-empt the exact consequences of their consent upon their body, and even if something does go slightly astray from their initial plans and expectations, then in any sensible practice along these lines there exists a ‘safeword’ (or a safe action, if it is not possible to speak).
In boxing, when one enters into the ring, they cannot be sure of what to expect. Also, I don’t believe (correct me if I’m wrong) that there is any equivalent to a safeword, aside from the existence of a referee figure who is there to step in when he deems that things have gone too far. This is not the boxer deeming that he is too badly hurt, but rather a third party, who does not in fact share the same sentience as the boxer, deeming so.
Finally, the use of such actions for sport is wrong. Just like one would think it wrong to watch a pornographic film in which two consensual minors had sex, it is wrong to take advantage of the situation which the two boxers, as I argue above, have not consented to. It is impossible to consent to the unknown.
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