Various places: 1896-1940s. Group of 25 photographs or photo postcards of boxing women in varied states of undress, all more or less postcard- sized (some were evidently extracted from an album as there is evidence of glue or tape residue). Each example is preserved in a mylar L-sleeve and laid into a fitted cloth case. Very good. Item #4095
CURIOUS COLLECTION OF VINTAGE PHOTOGRAPHS AND PHOTO POSTCARDS OF FEMALE BOXERS. To our shame we knew nothing about the term "Agonophilia" prior to encountering this collection, which certainly has illuminated the subject for us considerably. From Urban Dictionary: "Agonophilia covers a broad range of sexual arousal, from fighting paraphernalia (boxing gloves, protective cups, headgear, mouthpieces, satin trunks) and through the actual engagement in fighting (legitimate or fantasy). [...] Some men who ordinarily consider themselves straight clearly enjoy the combination of fighting gear and male to male contact while fighting, and of course volumes could be written about the attraction to mixed boxing and female on female fighting." Whereas our collection illustrates female on female boxing, we have not located the "volumes" that have been been written abou it.
The earliest example dates from the late 19th century; it is an American postcard which depicts two properly dressed young female boxers who, in mid-match, are being separated by the Colonel's Orderly as they fight over a soldier's affections. The American flag behind them bears 44 stars, indicating that the postcard was made between 1891 and 1896.
There is a Japanese photograph of two female boxers and a female referee on a stage, positioned in front of an odd backdrop of painted faces, suggesting a crowd of people ringside. This may be from an early performance of the all-women theater troupe Takarazuka (founded 1913, first performance 1916). Another is a completely nude woman from the 1920s who is practicing her right hook on a suspended leather punching bag.
The most alarming photos are of women who are actually fighting. In this series of eight blurry photos, two women in underwear come to blows in a field; one woman is wearing shoes, the other is barefoot. Both are flailing and grimacing in a most violent manner.
There are two Viennese postcards depicting a group of genuine female boxers, identified as the "Internationale Damen-Boxkämpfe." In the first postcard, thirteen women are ringside as they surround a male coach; the second postcard depicts a boxing match between two women (one of whom wears odd protective breast padding) in shorts and skimpy tops; the referee is a Black man wearing a tie. These postcards were not made after 1922, the date of the canceled stamp on the back (the postcard was sent to Yugoslavia).
The most recent photographs belong to a series of 12 "girlie boxers." The women are named Nancy, Joan, and Shirley (or so they have been identified by an accompanying clipping from an album). As the series begins, the women are fully clothed (i.e. shorts, shirts and high-heeled shoes); not surprisingly, the women proceed to box each other's clothes off; finally there are no clothes to be seen; in a couple instances the gloves come off and the she-fights degenerate into spankings and general staged silliness and laughter.