How would the world change if every girl learned how to fight?
It’s not the answer to all this violence: men have the bulk of that responsibility. But while we wait, shout, advocate—what would be different if our fists learned to fly?
A Costa Rican boxer stands on the screen, her every muscle trained to align behind a blow. Beside her is a little girl whose shirt has a cat with oversized glasses; the glasses have big letters in hot pink. “Meow.” Together these two women, one in black and one in white, throw jabs and crosses, hooks and uppercuts. Together, they teach 9,900 viewers self-defense in a live broadcast. “Qué carga,” says the champion to the sprite after one demonstration. “Qué carga.”
Carga: capable of doing great things, of carrying heavy burdens. That’s what women do. Empowered fists cannot eliminate those burdens, but can they lighten them? Can they change the way we walk, the shape of our spines, the set of our faces? Can they change the way we look at our daughters, training next to us?
What is the impact of a champion who turns to the camera and says “This, too, belongs to you?”
Text by Katherine Stanley Obando, inspired by the champion Costa Rican boxer Yokasta Valle and the self-defense classes she offered in 2021 on Facebook Live with the support of Grupo Mutual. Our weekly Media Naranja column tells short love stories with a Costa Rican twist. During our November edition, “Tenacious,” they focus on how nontraditional Costa Rican sports and athletes emerge from the shadows. Photo from Yokasta Valle’s official Facebook page; through her uniform in the photo, the boxer is commemorating femicide victim Eva Morera Ulloa.