Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Breezango and How Sex Sells for All

It's about time WWE started pushing Breezango
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Sex sells. That statement isn't necessarily a scathing critique of marketplace trends, because sex, as long as it's consensual, isn't a bad thing, regardless of what "holy" men want to preach to the masses. Granted, when sex usually sells, it's through the objectification of women primarily for straight, cisgender men to ogle and forget themselves to buy a product, which is bad. People shouldn't be reduced to their curves or their "fuckability" in order to have agency. However, should a company want to highlight the natural attractiveness of its talent as a supplemental bonus, that is not only fine, but perfectly natural. WWE has implemented both strategies, even if their adoption of the latter has been less an embrace and more a sighing, begrudging acceptance that women are actually people. But calling female wrestlers "Superstars" and not "Divas" is a start.

That being said, WWE sets women up for objectification at a laughably disparate margin over men, mostly evident that female wrestlers and personalities still regularly engage in sexy photo shoots for any given reason, and men do not. If your takeaway from that statement is that WWE should stop doing sexy things with women, you aren't really paying much attention. If anything, WWE should embrace that its male wrestlers and staff stoke thirst among women, gay men, and other persons on the sexuality spectrum and in the gender non-binary. Smackdown, whether or not the writers and bookers of the show knew it or not, started that off last night by having Tyler Breeze and Fandango become number one contenders to the Usos Smackdown Tag Team Championships.

Thrown together as a team to occupy the bottom of the division, Breezango eventually reinvented itself outside of the shine of regular, main-run television as "the fashion police." While that gimmick has more mileage in a pro wrestling setting than some traditionalists might admit, well, the aesthetic lends itself to another, completely different realm which I'm guessing two good-looking, fashion-forward, muscular guys were totally aiming for. The trope of "sexy cop" is huge in the male striptease world. Line-skirting objectification bait doesn't just work for sexy blonde women with skinny waists and impossible curves. Two traditionally hot men with the willingness to flaunt their aesthetic beauty turned out to be a smash hit with the ladies (and others who like that kind of thing). If only popular culture had a certain movie franchise (that even had a wrestler in the supporting cast) to presage this kind of demand...
If only...
As I've cited a billion times before, the WWE audience hovers somewhere around the 35 percent mark, and pro wrestling caters to the LGBTQ community more than the machismo-drenched stalwarts booking this shit most of the time want to admit. For every, say, TH who wears his thirst for, I'll throw it out there I guess, Dana Brooke on his sleeve, at least one woman/attracted-to-male-form person whose jaw hits the floor when John Cena or Cesaro or, you guessed it, Fandango or Tyler Breeze come out to the arena. They want to be catered to. Hell, any fan wants to be catered to in their own way. Whether it's through being given representation in the ring itself or having bawdy faves or having merchandise geared towards them (should anyone be surprised how popular the Young Bucks' leggings have been so far?), people watching WWE or any promotion want to have their itches scratched.

Thirst-faving is not a bad thing, and it should not only be available people who like women. Even the centers of the so-called "Diva's/Women's Revolution" get played up for their attractiveness, so why can't the men? It's not like Breezango is a team comprised of schlubs either. Both Breeze and Fandango are capable wrestlers who have gone whole hog into their characters, hell, into anything they do. From "Durty Curty" in NXT to Chet Chetterfield in Southpaw Regional Wrestling, has Fandango/Johnny Curtis ever not totally immersed himself into what he was doing, for better or worse? And was Tyler Breeze a NXT cult favorite because he wrestled in Ring of Honor or other indies? Fuck no. They are good at their jobs, and their aesthetic just happens to stoke massive amounts of thirst. They comprise a duo WWE should have been mining the moment they had the idea to put on sexy cop outfits.