Bitch Boxer by Charlotte Josephine – 2012

Characters: Chloe Jackson.

Synopsis: Chloe is a 21 year old boxer from East London, Leytonstone. Her mission is to fight in the 2012 Olympics coming soon, in Stratford, which is pretty much down the road. This will be the first time boxing is allowed opened to women, her dad also her coach, puts it simply in order to do well she must train, tidy the house and no boys. As she prepares to take on this challenge, she gets a phone call from Len. Her Dad’s dead.

Available from: Amazon

My Thoughts

“You gotta fight for the things you love Chloe.”

What initially drove me to this play was the fact that it was set in my hometown. Then the main character also turned out to be a martial artist (a boxer to be precise), and I’m a karateka, this was a clear sign to pick it up and put it on my list.  It was meant to be.

Now, although the play wasn’t written by a person of colour it is actually very welcoming for anyone of any race. This is often my first thought when buying plays, you don’t want to be totally engrossed in a character to then later find out that her mother doesn’t want her having black babies (this happened to me actually, after someone recommended a play for me to get a monologue from – uh no thank you).

Bitch Boxer is a very honest and fun story despite it’s dark and trying moments, like dealing with the death of a father. It looks at the strengthen within as well as the strength without. It also marks a very important moment in our recent history, as of 2012 women are finally allowed to compete as boxers in the Olympics. It shows the type of woman that isn’t the conventional beauty that is expected in today’s society. The sportive woman, just like our beloved Serena Williams who is pretty much invincible, and yet gets so much nonsense for having an athletic body and not being of the “proper female aesthetic”. The amount of times I have heard men say they would not date a woman with muscles, or “more muscle than me”, or a woman who does a combat sport. It’s quite laughable. 

It’s refreshing to see the woman as a fighter in it’s literal sense. Chloe’s character shows resilience, perseverance and a genuine growth. As a fighter it can be very hard to let people in, you are always on the defence, ready for any attack to strike. This can be difficult when dealing with personal matters, be it the loss of a family member or romance. Personally, I know that it can be difficult to detach yourself from the persona you become after leaving the dojo. I am a very emotional person, if I let anyone in, that’s me letting my guard down completely and becoming vulnerable. In fact, it feels like the possibility of being attacked becomes more heightened once you put your fists down. There is a quote in the play that sums this up perfectly:

“He likes me best when I’m ill. Says I’m too weak to keep my guard up and just let him love me. When you’ve been a fighter all your life it’s hard to let someone else take care of you”. 

Not sure how I feel about him only liking her when she’s ill, but the idea is there, that only when we are vulnerable can we allow others in.

The relationship with her mother is quite sketchy, she describes her mom as a slapper who left her and her Dad when she was 11, “with some bloke she’d met in Tesco”. Her mother doesn’t understand her fascination with boxing, it’s not pretty and it most certainly won’t pay any bills. As a creative this kind of talk really hits. There is nothing more frustrating than having a dream so great, you put your all into, yet people do the utmost to tear you down and away from it. Projecting their fears into your goals. The competitive spirit however, can strive from doubt, feed off of it, use it as a motivator to do the very thing it is being told it can’t do. It is stubborn and it is selfish. As a creative if you don’t have this, it can become very hard to keep doing what you love with your head held high, it’s not to say that there isn’t any self doubt, any negative days, any can’t do days, but they should have less significance than the can do days. You come first, improving yourself always comes first. However the entire process of doing you, for you, can take time. So remind yourself if I’m not bouncing back immediately, it’s alright to let myself breathe.

“And bollocks to all the haters. I’ll prove ’em wrong. Can’t be an embarrassment to that silly slag with a gold medal can I?”

Her mother leaving was the incentive to get them started on boxing, Chloe’s dad became her coach, he was present in pretty much every aspect of her life particularly the most crucial – her passion. She tackled his death the same way she would a jab to the chin, take it and keep moving. Before his death the plan was to take on the Olympics and get that gold medal, that plan certainly didn’t change. Stratford is literally a 10 minute drive from Leytonstone, this is an unmissable opportunity. An opportunity she’s been working for three years with her dad, he wouldn’t have had it any other way.