Several months ago I was talking with my friend about the aspirations I had for marketing REID MILLER Apparel as a brand that celebrates strength in women (particularly on the inside but also on the outside). It is a quality that I have admired in women for a long time, and yet it is infrequently highlighted in marketing and mainstream media. He took in what I said and told me about an article that he had just seen in the New York Times, “When will fashion discover Ronda Rousey?”
At the time, I had no idea of who Ronda Rousey was. He explained to me that she is an extremely accomplished mixed martial artist, Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Mohammad Ali. What’s more, I came to learn that, just four years ago, the UFC president, Dana White, said that women would never fight in UFC. And now Ronda Rousey is the biggest star UFC has ever had (CNN Money).
I became obsessed. I never watch sports. I have no aggressive tendencies or appreciation for physical violence. (I am so sensitive that I keep a bug catcher in my kitchen so I can gently catch bugs in our house and release them into the wild so they don’t come to harm.) Ms. Rousey is the most unlikely muse for any aspect of my life and yet the moment I learned of her, I could not stop thinking about this woman who has single-handedly turned our notion of what it means to be a woman on its head.
She is beautiful and the way she holds her extremely strong body is in sharp contrast to other women in mainstream media who seek to be slight and take up less space. Ronda Rousey does not seek to take up less space. Watching her on Jimmy Fallon she owns her seat. She is not afraid to come off as too powerful. Indeed Jimmy Fallon seems a bit scared to be so close to her, and at no point does she put him at ease by folding in on herself or sinking away from him.
It is fascinating to watch her approach the ring for a fight. She is not cute. She is not sweet. She does not try to be likeable. She looks terrifying and extremely focused. We NEVER see this look on a woman’s face. She owns her craft and embodies her intention to crush her opponent. When I see her, I cannot help but think “Thank God for Ronda Rousey.” This woman IS exactly who she IS, regardless of societal pressure for her to be otherwise.
Ronda Rousey will probably never wear REID MILLER Apparel. And yet I imagine women wearing the Riding Jacket, standing strong, and taking their strength seriously as they bring a unique craft into this world. They do not fear their strength, or shrink away out of worry of intimidating people around them. They are bold, confident and courageous. They take up space.
P.S - YES, I know Ronda Rousey lost her first fight last Saturday. She does not have to be invincible to be an inspiration. If she were invincible she would not be real. I'd prefer the real version to the invincible version.