7 Awesome Things About Being A Woman At WWE Summerslam
I’m not a typical pro wrestling fan. That’s not to say that there are not plenty of female wrestling fans — there are plenty and they’re not all moms. But I did not grow up watching WCW or WWE, and in my late twenties had little reason to get into it.
But surprisingly, I’ve been a devoted fan for over a year now and live shows have kept me happily hooked. Whether it’s a WWE show or and local independent one, matches are great for girls nights, date nights and flying solo. The energy of wrestling fans and mixture of demographics are unmatched by any sport. I sincerely want to throw my bachelorette party at one.
This past weekend I reached the pinnacle of my live experience and attended Summerslam, basically the homecoming to Wrestlemania’s prom, at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. Though it was an enjoyable experience as a person, here’s why it was a uniquely entertaining experience as a woman.
1. The Costumes
Like with Halloween, I know no difference between sexy costumes and sexually confusing ones. So I opted to dabble in some light cosplay, dressing as Luke Harper, a sweat-stained beast of a wrestler in a wife beater. The fake sweat on my homemade tank top was made of coffee. Many people did not get the reference and assumed I spilled on myself in a perfectly symmetrical fashion.
2. The Fans
Every fan is different, but what all wrestling fans have in common is an endearing lack of self-consciousness. No one cares what anyone thinks, which causes a special kind of sincerity that is refreshing — even when it’s very stupid . The following moment sums it up best.
Guy: (Angry) They only have foot-long hotdogs.
Me: Well, what kind did you want?
Guy: Two regular ones.
3. The Kids
Though spectators come in all shapes and sizes, children are a huge part of cheering sections at shows. This is partially because the WWE caters much of their merch, marketing and PG material to them, but judging from the kid next to me I suspect it also has something to do with being able to chant phrases with the word “sucks” in them. The ratio of men and kids to women at Summerslam was most apparent when my gal pal went to the bathroom and a little girl’s uncle asked her to take his niece with her.
4. The Feminism
In recent months, the WWE has been undergoing what can only be described as a feminist face-turn. The conversation among fans initially started when now-retired wrestler AJ Lee got into it with Stephanie McMahon about the poor treatment of the Diva’s division. In agreement with Lee’s statements, fans started the hashtag #GiveDivasAChance.
What the WWE is now referring to as the Diva’s Revolution is basically their response to that. Aside from AJ Lee, this can be credited to the female talent in NXT, the WWE’s developmental turned indie arm, but also the popularity of Ronda Rousey. Though she’s a legitimate fighter and not yet a professional wrestler, she did tease this possibility of crossing over with an appearance at Wrestlemania earlier this year. Now that Rousey upgraded to trash-talking Mayweather and is courting Marvel, the WWE is forced to make their own Ronda whether they want to or not. Watching that happen is awesome.
5. …And Misunderstood Feminism
Although the Divas Revolution is a mark of progress, they’re still referring to them as Divas. Many people have suggested changing the name to the Women’s Division as a way to legitimize it. For now, bringing women up from NXT (where they actually have a Women’s Division) will have to do. Charlotte Flair, Ric Flair’s daughter, is one of these impressive women. Yet, despite the fact that her dad was in the Summerslam audience, almost every camera angle was centered around her butt. They say you want a revolution? Well, you know … butts.
6. The Democracy
The WWE may not totally understand feminism, but fans seem to get it and continue to demand they do better. Pro wrestling might not be “real,” but it makes up for that by being democratic — even when the people making money off of it wish it wasn’t. The audience’s reaction can shift a storyline, turn a good guy bad and ultimately make or break a wrestler’s career overtime. This mostly explains the unparalleled enthusiasm of wrestling fans. It’s because our participation actually matters.
7. The Anonymity
You could assume that one of the benefits of being a woman at Summerslam is all the male attention, when the reality is the opposite. Guys are so used to hiding their interest in wrestling from girls, they’re not going to come to a match to meet them. In a community that’s so diverse, your femininity is really only a factor when it comes to going to the bathroom. If a guy is checking you out, he’s just reading your Macho Man t-shirt. That’s a nice departure from the typical night out.
Lauren Vinopal is a stand-up comic and writer in NYC, follow her on Twitter at @LaurenVino.