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Ain’t that a kick in the head

January 24, 2011

This T-shirt was in all the sports-gear shops when I went home to St. Louis for the holidays. If you can’t see the image, it’s a graphic of Johnny Cueto with feet and dreadlocks flying, with the text “Cueto fights like a girl”—an homage to the Cincinnati pitcher’s role in the August brouhaha between the Cards and the Reds.

Call me a humorless feminist, but when I envision a girl or woman pinned against a wall and kicking frantically, it’s generally in the context of something a lot more dire than a quaint diss on the baseball field.

Besides, since when is kicking by definition unmanly? I looked in vain for the “Cueto fights like Jet Li” T-shirts—they must have been sold out—and resisted the urge to remind a store employee (who questioned why I was taking photos of the shirt and asked why I didn’t want one) that girls were not the ones forced to invent Mixed Martial Arts and Ultimate Fighting to remedy the sad and unmasculine lack of kicking in the formerly dude-approved sport of boxing.

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