Arrogant. Obnoxious. Offensive. These words and more have been used to describe Ronda Rousey, but the the first UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion and Olympian’s accolades and accomplishments stretch beyond a few harsh words used to describe her talent and confidence. The core of Rousey’s criticism, along with a large quantity of women, is the continuous label of being “masculine.” Although the word is often used and few can provide an accurate definition when it applies to the role women play in modern society, adopting a Ronda Rousey mentality can make life easier, simpler, and purely enjoyable.
What makes the woman who ranked number one of fifty Most Dominant Athletes Alive in 2015 a figure to look up to? Rousey is a constant reminder of how to make your life simple just by following one rule: be your best fucking self. Not only is she a powerhouse in the ring and in the MMA world, her "Do Nothin' Bitch" speech was included in Beyonce’s latest performances, along with other powerful women including Maya Angelou and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as the megastar continues to empower women and make it known that she’s a feminist and proud.
Rousey has been public and unashamed to open up to the media and discuss the obstacles she’s faced on the road to becoming one of the greatest athletes of all time. "When I was in school, martial arts made you a dork, and I became self-conscious that I was too masculine. I was a 16-year-old girl with ringworm and cauliflower ears,” Rousey said. “People made fun of my arms and called me "Miss Man." It wasn't until I got older that I realized: These people are idiots. I'm fabulous."
Masculinity versus femininity, one of the great debates along with “Ether” versus “Takeover,” are two terms often abused and misused words used to describe men and women. The two words have been known to mean the opposite of one another, which have led to generic stereotypes and prescribed boundaries created for those who fit the mold and everyone that might fall somewhere in between. Masculinity has been defined as “having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man,” which in turn makes femininity “qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a woman” by default.
With a sub-par definition of femininity, you began to question and ask yourself, “What does it mean to be a woman? Taking the question and putting it into present tense makes you ask, “What does it mean to be a woman in an ever evolving society?” Taking it a step forward and asking the question from a realistic perspective makes you wonder, “What does it mean to be a woman in an ever evolving society where being nice is a weakness and being strong is a form of intimidation? The questions are as infinite as the answers.
Going back to the “Baddest Woman on the Planet” and her mindset, she knows first hand what it’s like to experience these questions and a plethora of negative feedback. Working within a male-dominated industry and being one of the top stars among both men and women, facing body shamming, dealing with criticism about your talents based on your gender—including a recent jab from Floyd Mayweather—, and constantly figuring out ways to push and motivate yourself are issues that we all deal with, including Rousey.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a woman with her own business, let Ronda Rousey be an example of breaking free from man-made boundaries and defining who you are by your own badassery, which Rousey defines as engaging in seemingly impossible activities and achieving success in a manner that renders all onlookers completely awestruck.