After some thinking and discussion on Twitter, I decided to quickly write a few comments about Kathleen Elise’s blog post entitled “A Girl’s Guide to Wrestlemania XXVIII,” which I found on the New Miami Times’ website (the text is in bold below.) I was insulted by many comments and claims made by Elise. I found it patronizing and reflective of what I call “sort-of” or pseudo-feminism. Basically, it is when someone says they are feminist and respects women, but their language and actions reflect the opposite. I will point out instances where Elise engages in it in her post.
We’re going to go out on a limb and say that the WWE is not the most female-friendly sports organization. Crowds at televised events clearly consist of more men than women; half of the female wrestlers, officially called “divas,” are girlfriends/love interests of male wrestlers; and for the most part, diva matches are largely made up of hair pulling and moan-like screams accompanying one hot lady straddling another.
Elise comments that WWE is not the most female-friendly sports organization. I agree. However, I don’t agree about the reason why. Elise claims it is because more men than women watch it and that the Diva’s matches seem more like soft-core porn than actual wrestling. In contrast, I would say that events like the recent slut-shaming of Eve and continued sexist comments made by Lawler on commentary prove that point more convincingly.
For these reasons and more, being a wrestling fan when you yourself are a hot lady is not always easy. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. And with WrestleMania XXVIII coming to town Sunday, now’s the time to brave the testosterone-fueled masses to cheer on your favorite wrestlers.
It’s hard to take her criticisms of the way WWE treats women seriously, when she herself uses patronizing language by calling her readers “hot ladies” and naming her post “a girl’s guide.” When I originally read the article, I dismissed it as being geared to women who don’t like wrestling and only attend events with their significant other, who is a wrestling fan. However, when I reread this paragraph, I realized post was written with female wrestling fans in mind. Also, I don’t like the assumption that all male wrestling fans fall into the “testosterone-fueled” stereotype. I’ve been in many wrestling crowds and have found that to be false.
To help alleviate your lady-burden, follow these handy tips — and you might just get out of WrestleMania with some semblance of self-respect intact.
My “lady-burden?” I laughed when I read that term. It’s completely outdated. While being a female wrestling fan can be difficult, it’s not exactly a burden. When I first read this post, I wasn’t sure why going to Wrestlemania would be a danger to my self-respect. However, as I read further, I realized, according to Elise, my self-respect should be based on my male counterpart’s reaction to me as a woman and as a fan. This means I should dress and act in ways that will make me seem more serious as a fan and yet impress them at the same time.
1. Don’t dress slutty.
There will be relatively few women at WrestleMania, and even fewer hot women. To avoid drawing attention to yourself, tone it down. While the responsibility is definitely on the men around you to not act like total pigs, take our word for it: it’s much better to look like a dude than to spend the whole evening listening to loudmouthed assholes tell you they’d love to see you in a ring with Kelly Kelly.
Where do I start with my criticism of this paragraph? How about the division between women and hot women? While some women are more attractive than others, this does not make them more or less worthy to be a wrestling fan. Also, not all women dress to attract attention to themselves. Some may, but I think many wear clothes that make them feel confident and happy. Elise suggests women “tone it down” in order to avoid any possible sexual harassment from men in the audience. Saying “while the responsibility is definitely on the men around you to not act like total pigs” does not excuse her comments and assumption that women who wear tight clothes and makeup will and deserved to be harassed. Also, it’s an insult to men. Elise assumes they can’t control themselves. Personally, I have never been harassed at a wrestling event, even when wearing red lipstick and a skirt. Maybe that’s because I’m not a hot woman…
2. Root for Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.
While we’re not huge fans of Torres and her hook-up-with-every-male-wrestler-to-get-ahead tactics, Phoenix is obviously the most talented diva. Besides, for some reason completely unknown to us, she and Torres will be wrestling against Kelly Kelly and Extra’s Maria Menounos. Under no circumstances should anyone from Extra be permitted to win anything.
I assumed while reading that the writer was a wrestling fan, as she was writing with female wrestling fans in mind. However, I was wrong. A wrestling fan would know that Eve has not been hooking up with every male wrestler to get ahead. This was the same “she deserves it” attitude that allowed the slut-shaming to go on a few weeks ago. Also, a wrestling fan would know Menounos was on the show as a way to get publicity for the event and even wrestled in a few matches before. She has a history with Beth Phoenix. In addition, I would say Beth was the best wrestler in the match, but that Kelly and Eve are talented as well.
3. Don’t support John Cena.
As a general rule, women and children are fans of Cena. This is a stupid rule. You should be pulling for The Rock, if not for the reason that Cena sucks then because The Rock was really pretty decent in Fast Five. It’ll also make things way less awkward when you run into The Tooth Fairy himself on the streets of Miami during the filming of Pain and Gain.
So you shouldn’t cheer for John Cena because “Cena Sucks!” and The Rock was in Fast Five, which was a good movie? How about considering a wrestler’s in-ring ability, mic skills, heart, determination, and other wrestling-related traits instead? Or how about cheering for the person who you think deserves to win or you like? That’s what wrestling fans do.
4. Don’t fear Kane or the Undertaker.
We get that they’re both big scary men with dark music and creepy costumes, but no cowering in fear next to your boyfriend when they come out, okay? You’re not Eve. You don’t have to pretend you’re dumb enough to think these people are actually dangerous.
I don’t think the author has ever witnessed Kane or Undertaker’s entrances before writing this. They make grown men intimidated. Kane’s pyro is always scary, but you never quite expect it, even if you know it’s coming. Also, what’s wrong with enjoying the moment and accepting the unbelievability of professional wrestling? Of course, Kane and Taker don’t go around beating people up in reality, but again, this is wrestling. They are dangerous and intimidating here.
5. Save your best insults for Daniel Bryan.
Bryan is a wretched, controlling, slimeball of a man who deserves to get the crap kicked out of him by Sheamus. A.J. may be an incredible twit, but it’s still not okay for her to get verbally abused by Bryan. He needs to get demolished by the Great White, and that’s that. So feel free to show off your finest curse-like-a-sailor skills during their match.
So, I’m not supposed to believe in Kane or Taker characters, but I am supposed to believe in A.J. and Bryan’s? Bryan is a heel. That makes his treatment of A.J. acceptable, because we’re not supposed like it. We’re supposed to be angry at his treatment of her and her reaction to it. If you don’t like someone, boo them and tell them they suck, but don’t tell them to f*ck off. Swearing at wrestlers is disrespectful and not necessary. It’s a classless way to act.
6. Not all women are shrews, but Vickie Guerrero definitely is.
Feminism doesn’t mean supporting all women. It means treating all women equally, and we hate Vickie Guerrero just as much as we hate any male wrestler. For that reason alone, we want her boys and the rest of Team Johnny to go down. Hard. So there’s no need to feel like a traitor as you take extreme pleasure in their demise.
I don’t think Elise is the person to be telling us what feminism is. She clearly doesn’t treat all women equally when she makes the distinction between “women” and “hot women.” She also repeats stereotypes about women and men. In addition, she doesn’t need to give the reader permission to boo a female heel. Fans already know we should (even if we don’t.) However, I agree it’s okay not to like Vickie and boo her. She’s a heel, like the other members of Team Johnny. Wanting to boo them means they are doing their jobs right.
7. CM Punk is the best in the world.
This isn’t advice, just something you as a sentient human being should acknowledge.
Which is fine, if you like Punk, but convincing arguments can be made for Jericho as well. Sadly, she makes none of them here. I suppose the picture of Punk in his “Best in the World” shirt is argument enough. However, that’s not the point. What does this have to doing with being a woman at Wrestlemania or a female wrestling fan?
I normally ignore articles like these, but I found it to be so condescending and disrespectful I had to write a little rant. For someone who is clearly not a fan of wrestling to tell female wrestling fans how is behave is ridiculous. Even worse is when that person claims to be feminist and yet perpetuates the stereotypes that all women, not just female wrestling fans have to fight every day.
Another link to the article: http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2012/03/girls_guide_to_wrestlemania_dr.php