Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
Women and Professional Wrestling
What is the appeal of professional wrestling for women? I did an informal poll of women and why they liked to watch professional wrestling. I asked twenty women for a college class assignment in speech class and thirteen women said they watched it because of the “soap opera” story lines. Five women said they watched it for certain “hot” men wrestlers and the remaining two said they liked watching the women wrestle.
My ex-girlfriend and my current wife never watched professional wrestling until I came into their lives. I guess I corrupted them. My ex-girlfriend started to like watching “Stone Cold” Steve Austin wrestle and then she got caught up in the storylines as well. My current wife liked watching Edge when he was a baby face (good guy) and she also liked watching the Rock and his entertaining promos. Now, she just gets tired of it because she is “forced” to watch it so many times a week. Women watch it for various reasons, the same as men do. Today there are just as many women at the arenas and in front of the television as there are men.
From the 1930’s to the 1960’s, pro wrestling was a male dominated sport both in the ring and out. There were very few women at the halls and arenas watching the action until women like Mildred Burke, the Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young and others bringing women to the forefront. More and more women started to come to the shows and who didn’t enjoy the little old ladies at ringside yelling at the bad guys and trying to hit them with their canes and umbrellas. Then in the 70’s and 80’s, women like Medusa Micelli and Wendi Richter brought women’s wrestling into the mainstream. There was even a women’s wrestling organization in the late 80’s and early 90’s called G.L.O.W., which stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Women went from being just valets to wrestling and making an indelible mark in professional wrestling.
Then the landscape for women’s wrestling changed in the late 1990’s. They went from being tough wrestlers to models. From wearing wrestling gear to wearing bathing suits and lingerie. Today, sadly, there are very little women wrestling and more seductively dressing and dancing. It has gone from actual wrestling to bra and panties matches and lingerie pillow fight matches and they are supposed to be role models for young girls and women everywhere. In today’s landscape of wrestling, wrestling ability for women is not as important as being able to model in men’s’ magazines and look good in a bathing suit.
In my opinion, and it is only my opinion, women wrestlers today have set women back about fifty years. It’s too bad because of all the work that women like Mildred Burke and the Fabulous Moolah did to bring women’s wrestling into the national spotlight.
Is that one of the reasons that women like to watch the men wrestling today and not the women so much? What would happen to the appeal of professional wrestling for women if the women, or divas, as they are called today, did more wrestling like the men do and not so much modeling?