The High Spot: How the WWE Patriarchy Persists Submitted by The High Spot on 09/19/2018 at 03:42 PM
By J.D. Bachman
Get in, loser; it’s the women’s revolution! Sort of.
Ever since becoming Chief Brand Officer in 2013, Stephanie McMahon shifted the product to a more “female-positive” image, featuring multiple talents that would ignite what would become the women’s revolution. Gone were the days of “divas” – mud wrestling matches, bikini contests, hot lesbian action, and general misogyny and degradation of women in the sport.
On paper, this looks fantastic.
We have the first ever all-women’s pay-per-view, the second year of the Mae Young Classic, a focus on the art of wrestling in the women’s division beyond what they can do in a pool of mud, and more exposure to the women’s division than ever in WWE history.
I support women’s wrestling; I love the Mae Young Classic, and aside from Raw and Smackdown, NXT continues to carry this flag with future stars like Nikki Cross, Dakota Kai, and Shayna Baszler. Women’s wrestling, including my long-time favorite Shimmer Women’s Athletes, is being put on the map, and that’s more than commendable.
So why am I so bored or frustrated with most current WWE storylines in the women’s division on Raw and Smackdown? (Sans the Becky Lynch revival) The answer lies in who is producing their segments.
Currently, the WWE employs seven writers – all of them male. On the WWE production staff you have 15 members – all male. In their corporate staff of 29 members, including the likes of Mr. McMahon and Mr. Levesque, only 6 are women. Overall, less than 15% of the entire WWE staff, not including wrestlers, are women.
Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?
It’s why two of the most talented women on the roster in Bayley and Sasha have come down with a case of the “We have nothing for you” blues over the past year. It’s why Nia Jax has had a continued identity crisis – is she heel or face? The world may never know. It’s why Ruby Riott’s talents have gone mostly wasted and directionless, and why it took the writing team nearly 2 years to bring Becky Lynch to relevance once again. It’s why Asuka has gone from the most powerful force in the women’s division to an after-thought. Finally, it’s why Ronda Rousey, who admittedly has all the potential in the world, was hot-shotted the title over Alexa Bliss, who now looks as weak as she did in her early years in NXT.
It also explains why women’s talents that honestly have no business on the main roster are still lingering about. (I’m looking at you; Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Dana Brooke and Nikki & Brie Bella)
The WWE has a problem developing characters properly as is, and we know that more emphasis is placed on branding them, rather than evolving them. However, this is seen two-fold when it comes to the women’s division, and it’s due to the lack of women writers on staff.
A clear case of this patriarchal mentality was seen early this year – Braun Strowman literally lifted and tipped over a semi-truck on his own, and yet the logic is “meh, whatever, he's a monster among MEN” – Yet Bayley roughs up Sasha a little, and they suddenly need professional counseling?
Writing blunders like this could be lessened with female writing talent staff, as well as some direction given to the characters and their (no pun intended) “evolution”. While I applaud efforts to increase the visibility of women’s wrestling, even if blatantly for profit, the true revolution will not come full circle until women’s wrestling can be represented properly – and that means more women need to be in the very company that they are represented in.