Monday, April 28, 2014

Women Are People and Should Be Able to Enjoy Wrestling in Peace

Sparx felt the wrath of male hostility towards females at Death before Dishonor XI
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
The following is going to be a truth bomb to more than a few wrestling fans that I've encountered live or on the Internet. The fact that it's going to register as shocking or abrasive is the problem, but the following statement is true. Women are people. I know, that truth might be a little hard to swallow for some of those people out there. I'd like to think that the non-enlightened clods who chant "We want puppies!" at WWE shows (hint, they're not referring to baby dogs) or the asshole who decided to throw a coin at Seleziya Sparx at Death before Dishonor XI last September don't read this blog, but at the same time, I don't know everyone out there personally. Maybe you, yes you reading, need to be reminded.

Well, since I have your attention, another shocker is that women can be wrestling fans. The "35% of WWE fans are women" number is bandied about a lot, but I'd be surprised if the number was still that low. Not only are these women, who I must remind everyone out there are definitely people just like those among the world with cocks 'n balls, showing up to shows as faces in the crowd, they also populate the hardcore fandom, whether as respectable writers such as De O'Brien, Danielle Matheson, and Rachel Davies, Tumblr cornerstones like Quackenbucshlight, and Twitter mavens like @prettyheartless and @sallen_87. When the only difference is anatomy, then no real difference exists at all.

Yet, no matter how many times I think the fans at large have turned the corner and embraced more of a feminist-friendly attitude, something happens that makes me lose my faith in progress. Whether it's the aforementioned coin-throwing incident at Ring of Honor or gross fans sitting behind me at last year's WSU Queen and King of the Ring Tournament frequently calling Kimber Lee the c-word, or fans actually putting singles in Shanna's gear as she stripper-danced to the ring, I am reminded that it can be hard not only for a female performer, but also for a female fan to go to any wrestling show, whether mainstream or independent.

I mean, if every time someone who looked like me came to ringside they were hurled with sexual insults, slurs that damned them for their appearance or anatomy, or were even assaulted, I would not want to go a wrestling show ever. Men get heel heat showered upon them, sure, but it's mostly for the acts they do in the ring, and rarely is the audience ready to see them get murdered just because they have a dick, like certain people in the crowd at the first National Pro Wrestling Day were frothing to see Sparx, Scarlett Bordeaux, and D'Arcy Dixon get. Wrestling shows, especially indie shows without the family friendly designation, can be hostile environments for women. If not, does anyone think this Kayfabe News article about a woman actually attending a ROH show would ring so funny in its truth?

Forget about being uncomfortable at how the performers are treated though. Try being a vocal female fan online. You end up getting weirdoes anonymously asking you on your Tumblr gross questions about performing sex acts with wrestlers, among other things. Of course, she handled it well, but the fact that she had to deal with a cretin putting that in her inbox is a sliver of what being a woman fan probably entails. I don't know how many of those questions she gets. I don't know how many disgusting propositions that the average female fan online gets, actually. But I do know that one is too many, and that male fans getting those creepshow harassing messages is minuscule compared to women.

Pointing out these problems is getting to be old hat. The time has arrived to do something about the treatment that women fans get at shows and online. If you're a male fan, and you have the urge to send something to a woman fan you barely know that you would not send to someone in public you know in real life, don't. Don't chant "We want puppies" or "Show your tits!" at a wrestling show. Don't throw things at female performers or cheer vociferously for disproportionate violence against females who get involved in matches. And for Crom's sake, don't fucking use the c-word in any capacity. You wouldn't call a black performer the n-word, would you? Of course not. Extend the same respect to female performers too.

Wrestling is a grand art, and it should be for everyone. The fact that some male fans out there ruin it for everyone through primitive and ugly behavior is grotesque and insanely offensive. A woman is before all else a human being, just like you, just like me. I can't believe I have to write something like this every six months, but I'm not going to stop until you gross pigs out there stop acting like swine and start acting like civilized human beings. Women have as much a right to go to a wrestling show as men do, and until the fans start showing that attitude, how the fuck can anyone expect wrestling promoters, whether big like Vince McMahon or independent like the Baron Bros., to follow suit?