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Separate But Equal?: The ultimate goal of Feminism in wrestling


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#21 El-P

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 04:46 AM

The rape porn thing seemed completely misguided to me since the direct audience were young girls, but it's worth nothing that the first hair match was considered excessively violent/extreme In Kansai and probably other regions too.

 

To me there was always a live action shôjo aspect to the whole Crush Gals mania.



#22 Ship Canal

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 04:54 AM

 

The women's division an be a real success, but it remains the case that the only way feminism will ever get over in the world of wrestling is as a heel act, especially with the current asshole crowds.

 

NXT pretty much kills that theory Parv. Feminism is one of the most over babyfaces on that show.

 

Not to mention that there were "WOMENS WRESTLING" chants at Mania and any time they push the Divas Revolution stuff on the main roster it gets cheered.

 

I don't see this.

 

Agreed. 

In something like 2006 ROH you would probably have a point Parv. But some (not all) crowds are different now.  The last few years have seen a significant sea change, especially in relation to NXT. They went out of their way to promote the rise of Sasha/Becky etc as a markedly progressive moment, drawing parallels with Ronda Rousey in particular. So many of the hype packages, promo's, commentary and build up angles were centered around explicitly acknowledging that these women were breaking new ground. Both Sasha and Bayley got over through tried and tested babyface/heel characterization and in-ring work, but there was always a metanarrative going on about breaking through a glass ceiling and existing as a direct counterpoint to the Divas Division. 

The "womens wrestling" chant was being heard at the Cauliflower Alley Club this year during the Stardom tag match, and that blew my mind. Its heard here in the UK even at small shows. Fans are still a long way from perfect and I routinely hear and see things at wrestling shows that I find problematic, but in some pockets of fandom, and significant ones at that, its simply not the case any more that feminism can only get over as a heel act. 

If someone is booked in a gross stereotype of a certain kind of feminism, then yeah, that'll probably only be able to get heel heat. But I don't think your assertion matches up with some of what we are witnessing in terms of developments in modern fandom. 

I mean, can anyone imagine 2006 ROH fans reacting as overwhelmingly positively to someone like Dalton Castle who plays with gender expectations in such an interesting and overtly non binary way? I'm not sure I can. Maybe I'm being overly positive here, and as I say, its important to remember that a lot of wrestling crowds can still be pretty shitty environments for a lot of people - Dylan posted a photo on his Twitter from an NXT house show of a bloke who was hurling ethnic slurs at La Sombra, so the battle is hardly won - but there has been progress and I don't think I'm as defeatist as you when it comes to the possibilities.
 



#23 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 05:01 AM

Are those NXT crowds the same as the crowd we saw in Chicago on Sunday?

#24 Scarlet-Left

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 05:25 AM

The WWE ought to bring back weight divisions, since, otherwise, having a women's division will always seem regressive. It, effectively, represents the idea that female competitors cannot hang with their male counterparts.

As an example, if the Big Show wanted to challenge for the United States title, he could, and the resulting match of Kalisto versus Big Show wouldn't be met with controversy. This is despite the fact that the former is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of his size and strength. So, why would it generate controversy for, let's say, Asuka to challenge for the US title, even though the resulting bout would be far more evenly matched? Obviously, the average male competitor would be at size and strength advantage against an average female competitor but, again, I'd asked why such uneven contests would be more controversial than uneven contests amongst the men themselves.

Obviously, the real answer is that man-on-woman violence is a social taboo, but I'm talking about wrestling as an art form, which should creates it's own self-consistent narrative. A heavily aging non-wrestler just competed against a zombie god of thunder and lightning in a cage match, for Christ's sake!

If you can accept the notion that all wrestlers are almost entirely incapable of halting the slightest forward momentum, even when they hit the ropes, then why can't you buy the idea of a woman having a competitive wrestling match with a man?

Those are just my thoughts, though, and I may not have expressed them clearly enough.

#25 WingedEagle

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 07:42 AM

Does NXT support for the women's matches and characters have anything to do with feminism?  It seemed like they were just the best acts on the roster and responding to quality more than any type of statement.



#26 Grimmas

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 07:44 AM

 

 

My point is that the presentation of women in wrestling will have to drastically change, at least as far as WWE is concerned, for feminists in general to start becoming fans. 

Complete bullshit, becase 99% of people on this forum are feminists.



#27 MoS

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 09:24 AM

Yes, Steven, but if I had to guess, most of us wrestling fans who also identify ourselves as feminists were wrestling fans first; feminism came later. By that time, we had an emotional connection to wrestling that we might not have had otherwise. Most of us stayed fans and continued watching even after the Benoit tragedy.

I am not doing a very good job explaining myself, but my point is that for feminists who have never watched wrestling before, presentation would be a crucial factor. I just have anecdotal evidence, which I gave. In any case, Jimmy is by far the better person to speak on it. Brilliant post, btw.

Also, as much as I wish it wasn't true, Indo agree with Parv's point about asshole crowds. We have come a long way from when an audience's idea of insulting a female star was chanting "slut", all the while wildly cheering on Rock for bragging about how much pie he gets every night, but the normal Raw crowd is still a far cry from the usual nXt crowds.

#28 Grimmas

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 09:27 AM

Yes, Steven, but if I had to guess, most of us wrestling fans who also identify ourselves as feminists were wrestling fans first; feminism came later. By that time, we had an emotional connection to wrestling that we might not have had otherwise. Most of us stayed fans and continued watching even after the Benoit tragedy.

I am not doing a very good job explaining myself, but my point is that for feminists who have never watched wrestling before, presentation would be a crucial factor. I just have anecdotal evidence, which I gave. In any case, Jimmy is by far the better person to speak on it. Brilliant post, btw.

Also, as much as I wish it wasn't true, Indo agree with Parv's point about asshole crowds. We have come a long way from when an audience's idea of insulting a female star was chanting "slut", all the while wildly cheering on Rock for bragging about how much pie he gets every night, but the normal Raw crowd is still a far cry from the usual nXt crowds.

My wife has no issues with NXT and loves Bayley.

 

It's easy if you present women the way NXT does.



#29 donsem43

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 09:41 AM

The NXT crowd did start calling Sasha 'ratchet'. 

 

I've been a fan of women's wrestling for about 15 years but I definitely wouldn't call myself a feminist because of that.



#30 Jingus

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 11:09 AM

As an example, if the Big Show wanted to challenge for the United States title, he could, and the resulting match of Kalisto versus Big Show wouldn't be met with controversy. This is despite the fact that the former is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of his size and strength. So, why would it generate controversy for, let's say, Asuka to challenge for the US title, even though the resulting bout would be far more evenly matched? Obviously, the average male competitor would be at size and strength advantage against an average female competitor but, again, I'd asked why such uneven contests would be more controversial than uneven contests amongst the men themselves.

i've never understood the whole "it's unbelievable for men to compete against women, even if they're the same size or the woman's bigger!" talking point.  Especially since the guys who believe that will often turn right around and have no problem cheering Rey Mysterio against Mark Henry or whatever else would be a ridiculously unbelievable fight in real life.  

 

And feminism has been the babyface multiple times in wrestling.  Even in the middle of the Attitude era, one of the most misogynistic times in all of wrestling history, Chyna still managed to be one of the most popular babyfaces on the roster.  Some people still bitched and moaned about how she ruined the IC title by wearing it, but clearly the paying fans loved it when she beat up men.  And ODB had some similar success as an intergender asskicker in TNA.  The precedent is there that the audience is perfectly willing to accept intergender matches on a regular basis.  



#31 Luchaundead

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 11:23 AM

Yes, Steven, but if I had to guess, most of us wrestling fans who also identify ourselves as feminists were wrestling fans first; feminism came later. By that time, we had an emotional connection to wrestling that we might not have had otherwise. Most of us stayed fans and continued watching even after the Benoit tragedy.

I am not doing a very good job explaining myself, but my point is that for feminists who have never watched wrestling before, presentation would be a crucial factor. I just have anecdotal evidence, which I gave. In any case, Jimmy is by far the better person to speak on it. Brilliant post, btw.

Also, as much as I wish it wasn't true, Indo agree with Parv's point about asshole crowds. We have come a long way from when an audience's idea of insulting a female star was chanting "slut", all the while wildly cheering on Rock for bragging about how much pie he gets every night, but the normal Raw crowd is still a far cry from the usual nXt crowds.

I get your point but I would counter that I was a feminist before I was a wrestling fan and that's part of why I was less of a fan of WWE Attitude Era probably what drove me to focus more on shoot style and dryer wrestling products because I would rather see no women than have them represented so poorly 

 

The NXT crowd did start calling Sasha 'ratchet'. 

 

I've been a fan of women's wrestling for about 15 years but I definitely wouldn't call myself a feminist because of that.

To be fair when that chant started it fit with her character as a goating chant because she was a heel and the crowd knew it would get under her skin similar to asshole or what chants 



#32 El-P

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 11:53 AM

And feminism has been the babyface multiple times in wrestling.  Even in the middle of the Attitude era, one of the most misogynistic times in all of wrestling history, Chyna still managed to be one of the most popular babyfaces on the roster.  Some people still bitched and moaned about how she ruined the IC title by wearing it, but clearly the paying fans loved it when she beat up men.

 

This really has nothing to do with feminisn though. Chyna beating up men was basically a freak show. Plus she was a shit worker, the matches were horrible. Only Jeff Jarrett managed to get something pretty decent ot of her. The fact she wouldn't work with other women because she felt it was "beneath her" says a lot. Chyna was pushed that way because she was basically a man. That what got her over. She had the body of a man, yet no one would hit her because she was a woman. It played on social taboos, despite the fact she was almost as big and strong as the guys. Which was brillant, at first. When she became "just another guy", it negated everything unique about her gimmick. The fact she sucked as a worker was even worse, as it was painfull to see.

 

Does NXT support for the women's matches and characters have anything to do with feminism?  It seemed like they were just the best acts on the roster and responding to quality more than any type of statement.

 

Pretty much. The fact Bailey is not oversexualised makes her a positive figure since she's also the underdog finally getting to the top (or course you could push it even further in term of social commentary about the whole "getting to the top" aspect of the game, but that would be questionning the entire sports realm).

 

Then again, there's nothing wrong about sexualization in itself, as long as it's assumed as such from the point of view of the woman. Plus, one could argue that Bailey and her imagery are un-sexualized because it refers to childhood. I mean, the giant… stuff (dunno the name in English, well, in French probably either) during her entrance, her whole outfit have somethig "childish" about it. Well, not childish. But something refering to childhood, that's for sure. So. I dunno. I could probably deep deeper into this.



#33 Grimmas

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 11:58 AM

I don't know how anyone can say you were a wrestling fan before being a feminist. As a kid you thought women should be treated less then men, then you watched wrestling, then at some point you thought all genders should be treated equal? That's just bullshit.



#34 WingedEagle

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:09 PM

Can't we just watch wrestling, sports, movies or other entertainment apolitically?  Why actively seek out a coronary before it gets to you?  Enjoy something.



#35 El-P

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:12 PM

Can't we just watch wrestling, sports, movies or other entertainment apolitically?

 

Everything is political. Plus, it's more fun to think.



#36 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:16 PM

I think that one reason why wrestling has a harder time with this than other arenas is because the body is so central to what a wrestler is. So the whole issue of sexualisation is foregrounded in ways that they might not be in the typical workplace.

#37 WingedEagle

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:16 PM

 

Can't we just watch wrestling, sports, movies or other entertainment apolitically?

 

Everything is political. Plus, it's more fun to think.

 

 

Not everything is political.  In the cases where its not, its imagining rather than thinking.  But whatever works.



#38 El-P

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:21 PM

I think that one reason why wrestling has a harder time with this than other arenas is because the body is so central to what a wrestler is. So the whole issue of sexualisation is foregrounded in ways that they might not be in the typical workplace.

 

It's true in every sport though.



#39 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:24 PM

I think that one reason why wrestling has a harder time with this than other arenas is because the body is so central to what a wrestler is. So the whole issue of sexualisation is foregrounded in ways that they might not be in the typical workplace.

 
It's true in every sport though.


In most sports they keep their tops on. Cena walks around semi-naked and has a six-pack. Sasha Banks has BOSS written across her arse.

It's a more body-centric and image-centric medium than many other sports.

#40 Luchaundead

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Posted 03 May 2016 - 12:29 PM

 

 

I think that one reason why wrestling has a harder time with this than other arenas is because the body is so central to what a wrestler is. So the whole issue of sexualisation is foregrounded in ways that they might not be in the typical workplace.

 
It's true in every sport though.

 


In most sports they keep their tops on. Cena walks around semi-naked and has a six-pack. Sasha Banks has BOSS written across her arse.

It's a more body-centric and image-centric medium than many other sports.

 

I was going to point out this is true about everything I mean as long as you have a physical body while doing your job someone is judging you based on it and based on what they expect from you due to your designated gender but, my point over all is more or less exactly what Jimmy hit on that there is no one size fits all answer not just for wrestling but for life. So really we need to all just be more open to everything is probably the first step to the fandom in general being more all inclusive.   

 

 






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