She Started it!!!By Drowgoddess · · 4 Comments
Much has been written about the misogyny inherent in professional wrestling, the violence against women, and the general exploitation of females in the wrestling business. Almost all of these writings, however, have been penned by men. As a female wrestling fan, this subject has taken up quite a bit of brain space recently, and the fact that I couldn’t remember reading a woman’s thoughts on the matter compelled the putting of fingers to keyboard.
In the interest of disclosure, I should point out that I do not, in any way, hate men. My relationships with men have been very healthy. I have a wonderful father whom I adore and respect. My brother is one of the finest people I know. I have a rather amazing boyfriend. My closest friends have always been male. Generally speaking, I love men. Stop it, you know what I meant! Hardcore feminists usually do not care for my opinions. I point all this out to give you, dear reader, a better idea of where this article comes from in a psychological sense.
Of course there have been moments in professional wrestling that have made me very uncomfortable or outright angry as a female. Kane stalking Lita and blackmailing her into sex and marriage, and the resulting pregnancy. The entire Katie Vick angle. Stone Cold Steve Austin giving Stacy Keibler a stunner in the middle of the ring because she didn’t want to drink a beer with him. Trish Stratus getting down on all fours and barking like a dog as part of Mr. McMahon’s public humiliation for her. The constant mocking of Vickie Guerrero for being fat, old, and ugly by John Cena and the entire announce team. These are all things that have inspired me to act out my “Boondock Saints” fantasy on the whole WWE creative staff. That said, all of the men who profess such indignation and moral outrage on behalf of women everywhere when the slightest thing happens need to pay attention. It’s not really that bad.
The idea that no man can ever behave in a physically aggressive manner toward a woman is ridiculous. Yeah, that’s right, I said it, who wants some??? The sexes are either completely equal, which I believe that they are, or they are not. If no man can ever hit a woman, regardless of what she does, simply because she’s a woman, then the sexes are not equal. Period. Look at all of the things that women do with impunity in the wrestling world. Slapping men in the face, sometimes very hard. Kicking men in the groin. Interfering in matches. Costing wrestlers titles. Pushing and shoving and tripping men. Using their bodies and skimpy clothing as distractions, or teasing sex when they have no intention of following through on the offer. Why is ANY of this considered ok? If those same things were done by men to men, the expected, even desired, result would be a physical confrontation. It’s in no way chivalrous, gentlemanly, or proper to allow females to inflict unending physical torment upon men with no consequences of any kind simply because of gender and traditional ideas surrounding it. This ties in to the reasons why lots of people believe that abused boyfriends and husbands don’t exist, that domestic violence can only be done by men to women, and that men can’t be raped. Nothing could be further from the truth. True gender equality only exists when the rules of behavior are the same for both sexes. As the saying goes, if you’re going to play, you have to pay.
One of my most vivid memories in wrestling is when Rhino piledrove Sandman’s ex-wife Lori Fullington through a table from the ring apron. I was stunned. I had never seen anything like that happen before. I liked it. I liked it because Lori absolutely had it coming after the things that she had done. The original ECW was not at all misogynistic. It was the only wrestling promotion that actually dared to treat women as men’s equals by giving them suitable comeuppance. Francine turned on her tag team of the Pitbulls. They destroyed her with their finishing moves. It wasn’t pointless violence for titillation. It was vengeance. It was necessary. How many times were you just itching to see Stephanie McMahon, Jacqueline, Sara Del Rey, or (more recently) Cookie truly get what was coming to her? It never happened. Not really. Women in wrestling are absolutely fearless because they know that none of the men will physically retaliate against them. Comedian Chris Rock once said that there wasn’t anything on Earth more embarrassing and troublesome than a woman who KNOWS that you ain’t gonna hit her. He was absolutely right. I’m certainly not advocating abuse, but my point is that it’s completely unreasonable to expect physical wrongdoing by one gender to be ignored by the other.
If a woman wants to be treated like a lady, she should behave like one. If I slap my brother, I’ve forfeited my claim to “You can’t hit me, I’m a girl!” If I get physically violent with a guy, he should be free to give it right back to me. Male-on-female violence makes most of us uncomfortable because we’ve been socialized to view it as inherently unequal and abusive. Any time a man fights a woman in pro wrestling, the woman wins or lots of comedy is involved, possibly both. Legitimate intergender fights are rare. Even Chyna had to fight Jeff Jarrett in a “Good Housekeeping” match. It can’t be a matter of size. Yes, most women are smaller and less powerful than most men. That can’t be why we have a problem with it. If that were true, then Rey Mysterio, Low-Ki, and almost any indy wrestler that you like would have no fans. There’s nothing sick about watching a vile and reprehensible woman receive her just due at the hands of a man. We’re fine with that concept when said just due is not physical. We should be fine with it when it is.
Don’t get me wrong. Watching guys beating the daylights out of women every week on my wrestling programming is not what I want. Abuse, on both sides, is disgusting and wrong, and no one should exploit another in that way. I’m just tired of seeing most of pro wrestling shy away from punishing women for their actions. I wouldn’t get away with that sort of thing. I don’t think that they should either.
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You basically stated my view. If a woman wants to act tough and smack a guy around, she better expect to get smacked back. If a guy wants to act like an ass and smack a woman, he better expect a groin shot, possibly with a stiletto.
This is why I want Awesome Kong to come in during one of John Cena's weight jokes. You KNOW that the second he makes one against her, she's gonna fold him into origami.
I agree and seeing Awesome Kong powerbomb Cena for calling her fat would be hilarious. I do miss the old ecw where they would drop kick treacherous woman like Francine and company it made it more equal.
After reading this I can say that I totally agree with you here.
Great article DG! Got me thinking… and meandering in thoughts…
I agree that women in wrestling lack a depth of variety of personalities representing modern society. While there are certainly women who openly flaunt their sexuality to get what they want (as well as there are men who do this), and there are also women who are delicate (as well as there are men like this, but we hardly see them in wrestling), there is a glaring gap of the many other personality types exhibited. That is a a key point.
Without a shadow of doubt, the double standard that male-on-female/female-on-male violence is avoided or treated in a comic fashion. With few exceptions, although some might make a case for Chyna/Jericho, the WWE could easily implement such a revolution of sorts if they weren't turned off by the cruiser weight division. You made a point about body size differences, and that's where I think the ball could get rolling. In a perfect world (and a PG one… sigh…), yeah we'd see Sara Del Rey take on Kane. Ok, maybe not… not just yet.
However, to add credibility, there are some female grapplers out there that could flourish in a division that acknowledges size (let's get back to the weight divisions). Del Rey, Roxxi, MsChif, or Cheerleader Melissa are four off the top of my head I could suspend disbelief easily to see take on anyone of the cruisers in the late 90's/early 00's WCW or WWE.
But, I doubt the "family oriented" programming of the big fed would cross this line anytime soon. Perhaps ROH is our only hope…. but the question I have, is would the wrestling purists accept this move?