Researching for this post has been eye opening. I was all prepared to slate the left for wanting to ban women’s wrestling on the grounds of it being sexist but actually, it’s the other side that is just as bad. My trip through the history of women’s wrestling in the UK has revealed that women in the sport have been subjected to sexist attitudes all along. However, this doesn’t change the point I am going to make here today.
For many decades, in both the UK and the US, women’s wrestling was seen as some sort of side show. Female wrestlers weren’t taken seriously and treated as second class citizens in the sport. They were paid less and given worse conditions than their male counterparts. This is in spite of the fact that they have have the same athletic capabilities and do the same moves in the ring. For far too long, men and even women ignored these facts and only wanted to see women wrestling as some sort of side show or in the cases of many men, sex symbols.
Sexist attitudes are a major issue when it comes to women’s wrestling. The picture above is what many people assume when the hear women and wrestling in conjunction with each other. Two talentless bimbos who roll around the mat in bikinis and have no real wrestling talent. True, there are promotions who present this attitude because many men think that it’s really the case. They forget that true women professional wrestlers train hard to sharpen their skills so they can go out into the ring and wrestle. The problem is that with many men, they are looking for sex appeal instead of true talent. Who cares if a women can execute a high flying manoeuvre as long as she looks good? This attitude is wrong and many men and some women need enlightenment.
Here’s where my problem with the left comes into play. Because of the sexist attitudes men have towards women’s wrestling, the feminists on the left thought the solution was to ban women’s wrestling all together on the grounds that it is sexist. I have always been adverse to taking away someone’s livelihood or keep them from doing something they truly enjoy to score political points. This is the wrong approach! Banning it will only turn the very people you think you are saving against you. Women wrestlers don’t want to be banned, they want to be seen as professionals who love what they do and are good at it. What needs to change is people’s perception of women’s wrestling. They should be seen for the true, talented professionals they are and not as side show freaks or sex symbols. Their skills should be highlighted and praised, not banned. Once people realize this, then it will be true step forward in eradicating sexist attitudes, not only in wrestling but in life in general.
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