I took the time this morning to actually watch the video of Stephanie McMahon on GMA. It was a very nice, completely pointless little interview in which the WWE (and to some degree Stephanie herself) was portrayed as something other than what they are. Naturally, I took to Twitter to vent my rage. I never expect anyone to answer me (much less at 10:30 in the morning) but the people who did took me by surprise.
In the interview, Stephanie made the claim that more than 40% of the WWE’s audience is women, and that families make up an equivalent portion of live audiences. If that’s true, how come the WWE product doesn’t seem to be even 40% fair to its female wrestlers? I mean, there MUST be a good explanation for this, right
Yes, of course. When there is only one woman with any semblance of power within a company, it’s hard to imagine that company is paying close attention to how its female characters are portrayed/treated, much less what message they’re sending to their female fans. But Stephanie McMahon is in a unique position, as the daughter of Vince and Triple H’s wife that no matter what opinion she voices, it would take a hell of a lot for them to fire her. Why is she throwing around feminist jargon in a morning television interview (guess what percentage of GMA’s audience is female, by the way) instead of using the same jargon to get some changing happening behind the scenes at WWE?
Sean has a point. Stephanie is not as active in the booking of what happens on WWE television (the way most of us consume WWE as a product) as she once did. Stephanie shows up more at conferences for women in business, or at charitable events for things like WWE’s Be-A-Star campaign or Connor’s Cure. I’m not going to go so far as to say any of those things are bad (they’re not) but if WWE is looking to put a more positive spin on what they do by associating themselves with charitable organizations that focus on children, maybe they should also be trying to format their television product to draw in an audience of younger people of all genders. Stephanie mentions in the interview that the women of the #DivasRevolution are women that young girls can look up to and aspire to become. I hope none of those young women get wind of Total Divas, as their behavior is often portrayed as catty, entitled, and over-dramatic. Is that really what we want our daughters to aspire to become?
Of course I noticed. And please don’t for a second thing this was something GMA did without Stephanie or WWE’s permission. You know who gave them those clips. There was a brief appearance of Charlotte and Becky Lynch, but only because a clip of Paige was used from when she was a still a part of Team PCB. And that clip in particular was quite fleeting. Mostly the images we saw if the female wrestlers were Brie or Nikki executing some kind of move on Paige (including the Rack Attack, which I would prefer never to watch again, knowing what it did to Nikki’s neck.) And why is that? Because Total Divas is what they’re pushing right now. Brie Bella is about to get a match (for the title, which I don’t understand) at Fastlane later this month. The video interview of Stephanie actually aired yesterday morning, the same day a new episode of Total Divas was set to premiere. Don’t forget who Total Divas is for, too. It’s not the wrestling fans. It’s for the fans of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, who WWE is trying to court out of their hard-earned dollars. In fact, this interview wasn’t about real girl power at all, it was about a hashtag – a movement that WWE could put its brand on. She made sure to convince everyone that WWE has answered the call to be better to their women (they haven’t) and that she is steering the ship toward more inclusion (she’s not.) But I have a suggestion for her:
Ouch. Poor AJ. All that woman ever wanted to do was wrestle, and she gave it up to stand by her principles. Talk about a martyr for the cause.
In the end, I came away from this morning’s discussion with two feelings: female wrestling fans have a large cross-section of advocates in the IWC, regardless of gender-identity, and absolutely none inside of WWE. I’ll let my boy John sum it up for you. I’ve had just about enough for today.