bITS 'N CHUNKS
I was in the middle of writing this entry when I saw, by chance, this article on Bitch by April Lavalle on WWE, sexism, and the Attitude Era. I'm not going to offer any commentary on that particular article for a few reasons:
As you might guess, we're gathered here today to talk once again about wrestling despite my assertions each and every time I discuss wrestling, that I do not discuss wrestling on a regular basis... my 'wrestling' tag is begging to differ.
But you all know I like writing, I like local events, and I like wrestling. So let's do all three. Something near and dear to my heart, women's professional wrestling. Women in pro wrestling have numerous obstacles to face. The most evident one is inherent sexism in the sports and entertainment industries. They are but a microcosm of the world at large. And the real world still bleeds in if you read any comment thread that breathes the words “intergender” and “wrestling”. Is wrestling somehow more sexist & misogynist than anything else in the world? Probably not. It's noticeable, however, when you're putting a product out there intended for multiple demographics. Now again, we can talk about what the actual (maybe even stereotypical) demographic for professional wrestling is and you can guess, but the intended demographic is a little bit of everyone, including kids.
The other obstacle to women in professional wrestling is the one I'm about to direct you to right now: the lack of places to work. Well?
The lack of places to work and perform is what will have you thinking that lady wrestlers just don't exist or they exist in small quantities. As a child, I thought this as well. WCW was my main squeeze and they had the occasional women matches. And WWE, of course, had a bona fide division set aside for it, fighting for their own championship belt and having outstanding matches. They even imported the ladies from Japan. That was awesome. I watched ECW as well but I was very aware that the women present there were for fanservice (remember, I'm anime Oldtaku). Thanks to my parents being fans of the old school of southern wrestling, I was even familiar with intergender matches before people started clutching their pearls about them.
And then, in the nineties, well... listen, things took a dip. That much me and Lavalle are going to concede on right now, and believe you me I have been waiting with bated breath for a HOT. MINUTE. For this women's revolution that has been going on (started with TNA, but it's TNA so no one noticed).
I know what you're thinking – there are a few women's only promotions running around out there, right? Yes. There is SHIMMER, Shine, joshi in Japan (think STARDOM) and smaller independents... the bigger companies have full-blown divisions full of talent, even ROH has Women of Honor now however you or I feel about it (ask me later), there's YouTube shows, women just wrestling on your roster and fighting whoever ya got, and obviously WWE hosted the Mae Young Classic tournament and pulled a boatload of women onto the show for development. BUT. We just named most of them together. When I tell you this isn't enough considering everyone and their mother—oof, I digress.
As I stress this year, visibility matters, representation matters, and you can't be visible or represented if there's nowhere for you to work. That being said, I'll get off here and hope people take notice. Things are getting better, and let me tell you how (you wonder as you reach the end of this and think, where is the local?)
I'm thrilled to announce that the Music City is hosting a 16-woman tournament, the Making Towns Classic, May 12th. First off, they fucking found 16 women to compete in this tournament (with some hiccups here and there). That alone is well worth my money at the fairgrounds. You know? This is so important to me. As a fan of women's pro wrestling, I can't describe to you how much bullshit I've had to sit through in the name of support. You sit through it, you complain, you keep giving money, you hope. This is a great chance to see big names and perhaps more importantly those names on the rise, catch them right before they hit stardom, give them a damn place to work, and say “I support this endeavor” with fucking cash.
The disdain I get when I mention women's wrestling is annoying as all hell. I'm going to side with Lavalle's implication and say yes, it may be a certain someone's fault that no one takes it seriously beyond catfights and gown matches. Hell, maybe it's all of our faults because that person didn't always have a stranglehold on the industry. But it's time to change minds and tell people to get over it. Buy a shirt, buy some merch, buy some tickets, save a life.
Ia! If you've come this far, you're either looking for weird or you know you've found it...