Your probably racking your brains right now trying to understand how I could possibly put the WWE and feminism in the same sentence. Oddly I do believe that World Wrestling Entertainment could be a great platform for feminism, more specifically raising the platform for equal opportunity for women in sports.
I can’t help but watch WWE (yes I am a fan – don’t judge me ) and see the potential it has to be a front leader in getting women sports and athletes on the map. Some would argue that pro wrestling is not a sport.However whether that is true or not there’s no mistaking in the influence WWE has on the sporting world.
You might be reading this and have no knowledge what so ever about WWE so I have provided a WWE beginners guide link to give you some background :http://prowrestling.about.com/od/wrestlingproducts/a/beginnersguide.htm
I can’t ignore the notion that WWE has in the past done some sketchy things concerning the female talent and given out some downright horrible storylines to the females. Some have included having them strip in front of a arena on national television. As those might seem hard to forgive it is important to remember that there is a large entertainment factor playing a part and these were all fictional storylines. The bigger issue is that WWE as never really given the women division the attention it deserves. Its a sad world but sex sells so as a company wishing to make profit and receive high ratings they stoop to sexualising their female talent. With the exception to Divas like Chyna, Kharma and Lita (all who have left the company – suspicious ) most divas are hired pretty much as eye candy, they’re storylines aren’t taken seriously and there is a lack of talent in the ring.
That said the wind of change is coming with Mr McMahon’s (owner) daughter Stephanie McMahon taking the lead in business it seems like the Divas division is on a come up. Quality of matches have improved and the Divas title has taken centre stage in the past few months.This year we’ve had the first ever female contract signing (quite a big deal in the WWE universe) .They even now have their reality show Total Divas on the E network.
There still is work to be done before WWE can lead the fight to give women sports the recognition it deserves. The following is a short list of things that should be done :
1) Utilize their global platform to show women sports need primetime TV slots.
It is after all WORLD wrestling entertainment. Broadcasting in over 150 countries and has yearly world tours (European tour is happening as I type) they are the only sporting platform (other than MMA) that I know of that put women in the prime time TV slots. It usually takes us finding obscure channels and having to wait till bizarre hours of the the early morning to see women’s premier football league or watch female cricket – quite a lot of the time there not even broadcasted. If WWE would correctly utilize its platform and promote the division more it could do wonders in getting women sports the same air time as well as showing that women sports don’t suffer in ratings.
2) Legitimise the women division
Many don’t consider pro wrestling a athletic sports – in my opinion it may not be an athletic sport but the new wave of superstars are definitely athletes in my eyes. One way to bring about change and get people to take it seriously is introducing a tag team title. Seeing as many of the Divas are a tag teams it would make absolute sense for there to be one. It’s ridiculous that they only have one title to compete for whilst the men have 5. Another option would be to train them to perform better in the ring to show the world they have what it takes to hold their own in the business.
3) Give them more matches
Currently the divas will get one match maybe 2 per Smackdown and Raw taping. They’re is occasionally a Diva Royal (an elimination match were they all compete in the same ring at the same time) at one of there pay per views but they simply don’t get the same amount of matches as the guys. Many of Divas have the ability to produce hour and half an hour matches, with NXT ( WWE development programme) successfully bringing out a new wave of Divas like the Paige and Emma. There’s never been a better time to really push the division.
4) Use them for more than just eye candy- give them decent storylines!
Whilst there have been improvements I still feel that the females are portrayed as eye candy to please the male demographic which makes the majority of their viewers. They shouldn’t need to have to wrestle in their bikinis and odd very racy Christmas outfits lowering there self worth as talented athletes.They should not have to go through pointless and boring musical chair matches. As pretty and beautiful as all the divas are WWE need to promote that Divas are there to be something more than a pretty face. Give them decent story lines that aren’t childish and petty that don’t involve the males as they can hold their own.
So see there is potential in WWE to help women equality and recognition in sports. In fact I think if you looked hard enough every cooperation can do something to help gain women equality. If women are to be equals and have equal opportunities and not be put at a disadvantage because of their sex, we need to be equals in every sense, in all sectors and areas of life. Even those we least suspect.