If you follow me on Instagram (which you do or we totes can’t be BFFs) then you will know that Adam is a HUGE fan of WWE wrestling. Just in case this is your first time reading a blog post from me, Adam is NOT one of my children, but in fact my 32 year old husband. Yup, he still loves wrestling. Yes he knows it’s made up. Yes he knows he’s a geek and because he’s in that 30 plus bracket, the fucks he gives are nonexistent.
Anyhoo, Adam loves WWE. It’s something that he has kept with him since childhood and, I have to admit, I have been brought into his world just a tiny bit. I’m no mega fan, no huge watcher of the tv programs and I certainly wouldn’t stay up between 1-4am to watch a pay-per-view like he did, but if wrestling were a cute guy? It would be a casual sex kinda relationship. There really is only two that he HAS to see live and that is WrestleMania (which even pals who have no interest in wrestling whatsoever seem to watch – bit like none boxing fans watch the biggest event of the year) and Royal Rumble. Whilst I really enjoy watching those main events from my perma-station at the computer, I have to admit that something about women’s wrestling in WWE has piquet my interest over 2017 and now into 2018 more than ever.
For those of you that don’t have any interest at all in WWE I should probably give you a tiny touch of background for this post, women’s wrestling has seen a “women’s revolution” in WWE over the last 18 months. This is an industry where the skimpier the outfit, the better. The athletic ability of the women has rarely been noted, preference given to how beautiful they are, gorgeous and deadly. Some of these “girls” are gymnastics goddesses, outmanoeuvring their male competitors by a landslide, flipping about the ring and pulling off moves that are daring and really awesome to watch. Yet there has always been more of a focus on “cat fight”, wardrobe malfunctions and – at the grossest levels of misogyny in the “sport” jelly and food fights. The women’s division was called… the DIVAS division. Diva. Fucking hell. Talk about degrading a female athlete.
So over the last 18m there has been a shift. A shift called the women’s revolution. These women (and I’ve bolded/underlined the fuck out of that word because that is what they are – NOT girls or divas) are now referred to as women. Out are the whitewash of tanned, blond supermodels and in is a mixed demographic – tanned and blond still in some instances, punky and pale in others. Black. White. Asian. Noted as athletes, praised for their skills and their hard work to make it to a level in an industry where women aren’t welcome and when they are its to decorate the arm of a “superstar.” This year was the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble, the first of its kind despite it going on for two decades and more.
Yet have things really changed?
Not so much.
Watching the whole thing was a tad disappointing really. The match was full of amazing ability. Women who HAVE paved the way for things to be different, who have pioneered in their industry for a bit more equality to their male counterparts. Several of the women are married to male stars in their industry and how were they introduced? “Here comes Rusev’s wife. The ravishing Russian.” It took them 2-3 sentences to even mention her name. EVERY woman linked to a male star was either introduced as their wife or it was mentioned at some point. Why? Why are successful women relentlessly diminished to their husband’s wives. More to that their physical appearances were still overtly noted. Constantly. Something that the men aren’t subjected to at all.
The boys are starting to get into watching wrestling and I do not want them seeing a “women’s revolution” that is at best half arsed and at worst highly problematic. Female stars in the industry are still paid drastically less than male counterparts, so much so that some males at a much lower level than the highest ranking females are paid at a similar level or higher. It isn’t a women’s revolution if it is still so steeped in misogyny and to call it such is frustrating, misleading and insulting.
The fact that my children will see the women competing in the same matches as the men is a start, it’s a step in the right direction but the “women’s revolution” has a LONG way to go.