It’s been a while since I’ve posted in here (poor blog) but I’m working toward making this a bigger priority and writing more. One of the things that’s been filling up a little more of my time has been the Facelock Feministas podcast (which you can check out via YouTube and iTunes) and promoting the #PWGrrrlGang. I had some thoughts I wanted to share regarding last night’s FF podcast, and thought this might be a good place to put them.
I am a female-identifying professional wrestling fan. If you come here or to the podcast looking for the opinion of someone who has been or is a wrestler, or the perspective of someone who is an industry “insider”, you have come to the wrong place. I don’t think I’ve ever given the impression that I have experience inside the wrestling industry, but if I have, I apologize for the misinformation. I’m just a fan who uses my unique perspective as someone with a background in creative writing and theater to help inform my opinions of what I see weekly on my TV or at live events. My personal journey as a human being walking this earth is also painted by my experiences as a woman; those experiences are going to color everything I do in my life and the way I interpret anything that crosses my path: the stories others tell me, things I read in books, or see on TV. It’s not something I can turn off – not that I would want to even if I could.
As a fan writer and podcast host, I feel my purpose lies in being as honest as possible about how things seem to me. I hope that in my honesty I am never alienating anyone, but rather getting the ball rolling on the beginning of a conversation. If we disagree, I want to hear your point of view, as long as we can both be respectful in how we discuss the issue at hand. Just a few days ago a wonderful friend, Willow, and I were discussing our opposing views about WWE’s inclusion of Chris Benoit in products lately. This is an issue I take very personally and have blogged about before, and I believe Willow understands my perspective but can only be honest with me about how she feels. In the end, we agree to disagree but understand one another better as people.
Sarah and I have received a great deal of support for the Facelock Feministas podcast, a fact we are both proud of and grateful for. The basis for this podcast was always to give a woman’s perspective on wrestling, but to focus it to Lucha Underground, a market we felt didn’t have as many female podcast voices yet. We’ve had our fair share of trolls, but mostly we’ve gotten a positive response from people – fans, other podcasters, wrestlers, bookers, etc. – and we hope to continue to bring you more fun, intelligent content as we progress. But not every episode is going to be the same. Whether I am working alone, with Sarah, or joined by a special guest, the basis of each podcast episode is in the corresponding episode of Lucha Underground that aired that evening. Yesterday, as I worked through episode 17 of season 2 of Lucha Underground, I felt unhappy with what I was seeing on my screen. When it came time to go live with the broadcast, I said what I felt.
I like be extra sassy and have fun on Twitter, but I never really thought I was cutting the Promo to End All Promos on the creative team behind Lucha Underground. Maybe it’s not always a great idea for me to finish watching an episode and then hop straight on air to podcast. But everything I said last night I still agree with. Maybe you don’t – that’s fine. As long as you do so respectfully, I’d be happy to hear your argument! We received a few comments on our YouTube video for episode 15 of people who did/did not agree with me, all of whom were as passionate as me, but very cool to hear from. The only thing that has given me pause was a reply that popped up on the Facelock Feministas twitter account this afternoon:
This made me feel bad. My intention is never to make the people who create Lucha Underground (and I mean all of them, the wrestlers, the writers, the camera people, the designers, the technicians, everyone) think I am not grateful for the hard work they put in. I am a huge fan of this program and something really terrible would have to happen for me to stop watching (like, say, I would have to be dead. Or the show would have to be canceled. Both are things I would prefer NOT to happen.) I think sometimes it’s easier to just love something and be satisfied with it than to say “usually this is very good, but this one time it was not up to the standards of the rest of the product.” That’s how I felt about last night, particularly the story surrounding the main event match for the Gift of the Gods championship, Chavo Guerrero, and Cage. I don’t expect every main event to be on the same level as something like the No Mas match from episode 15, but the storytelling for this championship seems like dangerously bland waters to get a guy as on-fire as Cage is into.
The Kobra Moon stuff, on the other hand, is personal to me. How women are portrayed is sort of my thing, it’s where a lot of my heat comes from. I want strong female characters, characters who are held to the same standards as men, and ones that don’t play into long-standing tropes and stereotypes typically applied to women. I don’t know much about the writers and producers of LU, and I don’t know how many of them are female. I don’t know how many of them had the experiences many young girls do of being taught to never be smarter or faster or stronger or better than boys at anything, because that’s not how you get them to like you. It is hard when you have experienced certain things not to view moments like Kobra Moon giving Daga the pin in last night’s first match as a reflection of that experience. Do I think there’s more at play? Sure. Very rarely do we have matches that don’t move a major story arch forward on LU. But watching Kobra Moon trying to lick Daga (yes, I know she’s a snake) made me feel Marty the Moth-level uncomfortable.
And here’s the thing: it’s my opinion. Would I rather watch any other wrestling program available to me instead of Lucha Underground? Hell no. But I also don’t see the point in dismissing the times when you don’t like something and giving a promotion a free ride for all of the good they’ve done up to that point. I’m sure we can all think of promotions who became so complacent regarding their audience that they rested on their laurels and thought we wouldn’t find anything else to watch if they insisted on feeding us the same regurgitated shit over and over. Obviously, one lackluster episode of a show does not an abandoned promotion make; I’m not just going to shut the podcast down and walk away from a show I adore. I’d prefer to get a little heat for calling a spade a spade and saying “this was not up to par. Please do better.”
To paraphrase Amy Gardner’s character in the “Red Mass” episode of The West Wing:
First of all, I’m crazy about Lucha Underground. I’ve been crazy about it for longer than you’ve known wat it was. And I’ll keep poking it with a stick; that’s how I show my love.
Love you, LU.