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'Fight like a girl'

Women’s pro-wrestling group takes on all comers — including gender roles, and Donald Trump

By WITW Staff on July 12, 2017

In London, Pro-Wrestling: EVE — “a secret underground feminist, political, socialist, humanist, punk rock wrestling promotion, for those who identify as women and non-binary folk,” is re-imagining the classically hyper-masculine environment of ‘professional’ wrestling. According to EVE founder Emily Read, the wrestling promotion’s focus is on empowering women — both physically, and politically.

“It’s so conditioned in women to be quiet and small,” said Read. “It’s a real hindrance when it comes to wrestling. And I see women learn to be big and loud and take up space.”

With taglines such as “fight like a girl,” “smash the patriarchy,” “f**k gender roles,” and “follow your f**king dreams,” EVE promotional materials highlight girl power in and out of the ring. After Donald Trump shared a doctored video of his appearance at a WWE wrestling event — with his opponent’s face replaced by an image of the CNN logo — EVE responded by printing out T-shirts featuring a female wrestler piledriving a man with Donald Trump’s likeness. According to the group’s website, the shirt, which is up for re-issue due to popular demand and features the slogan, “Piledrive a fascist,” had helped EVE to lose all “the customers we didn’t want in the first place.”

Meanwhile in Hollywood, the new Netflix series GLOW — a fictional retelling of how real-life 1980s wrestling TV series Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling came to be — is also taking a closer look at classic pro-wrestling stereotypes. Despite the show’s ostensive premise of showcasing “gorgeous ladies,” the series focuses on the way the women learn to unleash their physicality and ultimately win over supporters with hard-won wrestling talent — as opposed to their physical appearance alone, Tom Phillips observes in a piece for The Conversation. Featuring Alison Brie as Ruth, a struggling actress who pursues wrestling in order to pay rent, the story follows a group of Los Angeles woman as they learn to wrestle with help from Cherry Bang, played by Sydelle Noel, a black woman who serves as the women’s wrestling trainer.

“We’re empowered,” Cherry tells her wrestlers in one scene. “We’re the heroes.”

Watch the trailer for GLOW below.

Read the full story at The Conversation.


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