Warning: this post contains feminism, NSFW photos (suggestive, lad-mag style photos), and language.

It’s impossible to get away from Kyra Gracie. The moment a woman starts doing BJJ, it seems as though Kyra is the first woman she is made aware of. Why? Because she’s pretty AND she’s great at jiu jitsu. Plus, she does some awesome things for jiu jitsu. Here, have a video:


However, she’s also a name that gets trotted out in every thread about women grapplers. Namely for some of her risque photos of her in a sports bra + gi in varying states of undress. I am absolutely no prude, and I’ve secretly done my fair share of objectifying men (though I do that one on one rather than on a forum), but there is a huge difference between a photo where a woman is showing skin and where she’s being sexual. Kyra’s photos mix sexuality and jiu jitsu in a way that I end up feeling not comfortable with.

First, the showing skin photos. These are awesome. They look appropriate for jiu jitsu. They look like someone you’d see at your gym after an awesome roll. They look like a gal you might train with. These photos do not inspire any sort of uncomfortable feeling within me if my mother were to see them in a jiu jitsu forum.

Kyra Gracie fitness

Awesome photos! She’s in great shape!

Next, the sexual photos. These photos would make me want to add a NSFW tag to them. These get posted EVERY FUCKING TIME A “Top 5 hottest BJJ chicks” thread exists on the Internet. They’re clearly sexualized, and frankly I’m tired of seeing them online (yes, I realize there’s some irony of me saying that and me posting them – hmmm is that actual irony or Alanis Morisette “irony”?)

These are ones that creep me out

These are the bro-fist inspiring photos

Those photos have spawned too many BJJ fake motivational photos with juvenile and sexual one liners, including ones that say:

Gi or no-gi? I know which I’d prefer.
Sometimes passing just isn’t an option.
I’d like to be in her triangle.
I’d like to tap that.

Kyra just did another sexy photo shoot. I saw it on Facebook, then I saw it on Reddit. It made me uncomfortable. Here it is:

kyra gracie's butt

The photo itself doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable. What DOES make me uncomfortable are the resulting conversations that take place. The comments I end up reading that make me feel really sad and gross. I’m happy to be shielded and not be part of raunchy bro conversations, but as a woman in jiu jitsu online, I’ve unfortunately been part of more than my fair share. Have some gross Reddit comments:

Boys are going to see Kyra in magazines and want to do Kyra.
I’d really like to get into her guard for just enough time to get triangle choked.

Then there are the more neutral comments. Ones that are dismissive of folks who might feel uncomfortable by these photos, or that accuse people of (gasp) feminism, or claim that because the model did it then she’s making a statement that it’s totally cool.

Why wouldn’t you train if training could shape you an ass like that?
I find it strange when people police other peoples(generally womens) expressions of sexuality, under the guise of gender equality.
If you don’t realize sex is a part of almost everything… then… well…
I was conflicted about posting it but 1) Kyra was clearly ok with posing for it and associating it with BJJ and 2) Dat ass.
The downvoters are basically telling Kyra Gracie they know better than she does what is or isn’t appropriate to publish as relates to bjj.

The photos themselves don’t make me feel gross. It’s that these photos seem to bring out dicks. They bring out really fucking disgusting comments that most men I know would not say on the mats, in front of me, or their training partners, their female friends, or their sisters. These comments make me feel like dudes are brofisting in front of my face and I should simply not be there.

However, I would love to thank Kyra Gracie because she spawned this amazing photo. I’d like to note to folks that this is an actual example of parody, and that no woman could do this as a parody. This is Dan Strauss Kyra-ing.

First there was Clarking, now there's Kyra-ing.

First there was Clarking, now there’s Kyra-ing. Gentleman in the photo is Daniel Strauss. Photo by Meerkatsu sponsored fighter Sophie Walters (it is her gi Daniel is wearing).

Again, I would like to state that I think Kyra Gracie’s an amazing grappler and she has an amazing body, but the comments and conversations that her photoshoots have elicited make me want to stab myself in the face. In fact, when I saw her latest sexy shoot, I immediately thought “Well, now there will be new photos making the tired and same Top 5 Hottest Women in BJJ threads.”

I’m curious as to what your reaction to these types of photos are. Please note that any comments that objectify women (including “dat ass”) will be happily and quickly deleted. I’d like my mom to be able to read this and not feel weird. I’m asking for a mature discussion about it, one that does not devolve into straw feminists vs misogynists. Do these types of photos make you uncomfortable? Neutral? Do you like them? Do you find that they change your perception of your training partners, or of theirs to you?