The day before I started on this piece there was a hashtag on twitter #finewomenwholikewwe in which several of our sister wrestling fans posted pictures of themselves to demonstrate that yes, women do like wrestling out there. Now I didn’t comment or respond because I didn’t want to come off like creepy guy but I’ll just say well done, ladies. But anyhow, the dark cloud over what was mostly a very positive thing is that it was needed in the first place. I for one have never had to post pictures of myself in one of the many wrestling T-shirts I have to prove that I actually spend money on the product. I’ve never had to spout off random minutiae in order to prove that I know anything (did you know that Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are brothers?). And I’ve never had to prove that my admiration previously for Eve Torres and now for Becky Lynch actually involved their wrestling ability and not just them being nice to look at. I’ve never gone to a show and had people stare at me and wonder why I’m there. My acceptance in that space is a given and not something that had to be earned, as if anyone should have to do that.
Stephanie McMahon herself said that women are 40 percent of the current WWE fanbase. That means they are literally one of the reasons they are making as much money as they are now. They are a big reason why we have a WWE Network, why so many wrestlers are employed there now (which in turns helps guys in other companies and the indies make more money than they used to), etc. The entire business is better off because of their involvement and you have a better and more abundant product to watch because of them, even if you don’t even watch WWE. If they went away tomorrow the business would take a huge hit and a lot of the stuff you get to watch now would vanish from existence. So harass and chase them away at your own peril. If you want a return to the very recent days of little else besides WWE to watch or see in person, chase them away.
But chasing them away is what a lot of you seem to be trying to do. Like their contemporaries in comic book and video game fandom, female wrestling fans are harassed, belittled, and insulted on a daily basis. Told that they are fake fans, or that only like certain wrestlers because of how they look (As If I didn’t see a literal stampede of dudes with cellphone cameras last year when I went to a house show and Alexa Bliss came to the ring for her match. I, a civilized man took out my cellphone while remaining in my seat.), constantly help up to gatekeeping standards through random pointless interrogations (who cares if you know how many unofficial title reigns Ric Flair had?) , and subjected to overall hostile environments when a certain guy comes to the ring and you decide that dropping F bombs on live TV is a good way to go.
And can we please stop pretending that reaching out to women by promoting certain wrestlers just started happening in 2015? I was there for the 80s pretty boy tag teams that were sold like boy bands and guys like Magnum TA (Go watch some of those promos Magnum did with Dusty Rhodes. Dusty sounds like a pimp talking about Magnum for crying out loud.), Rick Rude, the Von Erichs, and Shawn Michaels were pushed with a whole lot of innuendo while the cameras cut to swooning women in the stands to get the message across further. And that’s not even mentioning guys like Ric Flair who spent half their promo time calling out to the ladies in the crowd. Yeah teenage me wanted to hurl at some of that stuff but then they would trot out Missy Hyatt for me to oogle and all was well with the world again.
Newsflash: their money is just as green as yours and if they chose to spend it supporting different people than you, too bad. Their time and energy supporting the business and their favorite performers is just as valuable as yours. If you’re upset because their support has prevented you from getting a certain guy demoted (you know who I’m talking about), or because some of them aren’t as impressed with certain guys or gals that you want to be given all the things, or because now you have to watch women actually wrestle and not have bra and panties matches anymore, get over it. Whether you like it or not, now more than ever we share this space with them. And we should be thankful for their presence because quite frankly there aren’t enough of us to keep the industry running at the level it is now, the level where there is so much good wrestling out there that is accessible to everyone who wants to see it that you can’t possibly take it all in.
I get it, it sucks having to share what you think you used to have all to yourself. You don’t get to dictate everything anymore, and now there’s stuff on the show that you didn’t ask for, so you have to rail against somebody or something. I’m here to tell you that it’s time to grow up. All these forms of entertainment be they comics, gaming, or wrestling are still alive today because of the interest that someone else besides us dudes have taken in them. If you really love any of them that much you should want them to be around to have the same positive impact on your kids and grandkids that they had on you, and to keep them around you can’t chase away the very people who help them stay around. A plate of 20 cookies from which you get to eat 12 is better than a plate of 10 that you get all to yourself. Think about it, do the math. Do you honestly want them to cater to your very specific yet also very inconsistent desires until you die and not try to appeal to anyone else? Good luck with that.
And besides that it’s called not being a jackass. You might want to try it sometime. It’s very refreshing and can result in people thinking a lot more highly of you.