Without apology : girls, women and the desire to fight


Without apology : girls, women and the desire to fight

Leah Hager Cohen

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2005

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'Any girl who boxes,' writes Leah Hager Cohen, 'challenges, wittingly or not, the idea of what it means to be a girl in our culture. Through the prism of what she does with her fists, she brings a fiercely contrarian light to our most fundamental notions about femininity and power and appetite and shame and desire.' Originally intending simply to research the subject, Leah met four adolescent girls from a Boston housing project who were training under a female coach at the Somerville Boxing Club. In the course of a year, she grew close to them, learning about their families, where they grew up, their explosive friendships and experience of each other as 'intimate adversaries', and especially the damage that had turned each of them into a fighter. Drawn into the ring herself, Leah sparred with the girls and was astounded by the strength and authority of her body. 'I was beginning to get a feel for my own reach.' Spirited and provocative, Without Apology is Leah Cohen's account of what she discovered in that gym about herself, about girls who box, and ultimately about the buried connections between femininity and aggression.

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