At Female Competition International (FCI), our research indicates that men purchase tickets to women’s wrestling events while women far less so; but women do believe in the right for women to be treated the same way as men and should be allowed to wrestle as well.
That lends encouragement to the possibility that dignified women’s wrestling and feminism can respectfully co-exist.
Recently it has not been that way.
On October 5, 2013, a respected news source, huffingtonpost.com reported, “The annual female jelly wrestling competition at Cambridge University was canceled Tuesday after an online petition called the event “sexist,” “misogynistic” and “completely inappropriate,” the BBC reports.
The event, which involves women wrestling in a pool of jelly for cash, the petition explains, is typically organized by an all-male drinking society called Wyverns and takes place at the group’s end-of-exams party. Student Nina de Paula Hanika started a Change.org petition protesting the affair.[adToAppearHere]
The petition, which garnered more than 1,000 signatures in 24 hours, says the event is “clearly sexist, misogynistic and completely inappropriate as entertainment for 2013. Paying women to wrestle half naked is not entertainment. Wyverns canceled the event.”
The news and information site dailymail.co.uk added, “A jelly-wrestling contest that has become an end of exams tradition at Cambridge University has been cancelled after complaints from feminist students. The online petition, supported by the Student Union Women’s Group, demanded a complete end to the event, which sees two girls wrestle in front of hundreds of spectators. Nina de Paula Hanika, the creator of the petition, said: ‘This particular event is not “just a bit of fun”.
‘To use that tired excuse is to ignore the huge number of women who have contacted me to tell me how personally degraded, devalued and marginalized even the idea of this has made them feel.”
FCI is making an effort to contact Nina de Paula Hanika to seek her opinion regarding the approach of our sites, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com (FCI Elite Competitor) and our co-operative, femcompetitor.com.
Even here we avoid promoting women’s wrestling that involves nudity, oil, mud, coleslaw or excessive violence. The competitors written about may feature eroticism on their sites; we just don’t highlight it on ours.
From time to time FCI will seek out the opinion of feminists regarding this issue and the following is a repost of a feminist writer named Sasha Smith that FCI previously published.
Female Wrestling – A Feminist Perspective………By Sasha Smith.
The current opinion of women’s wrestling, to those that haven’t witnessed it firsthand, is that it exploits women. Undignified images come to mind, like pools filled with mud and jello. Some women have a more negative view of wrestling than stripping, because not only do they view it as physically demeaning, but also unfeminine and abusive. It’s a sad association for a reputable sport to be connected with the idea of sexual degradation and anti-feminism.
To shun women’s wrestling would be to perpetuate the idea that women cannot be physically appreciated in any other way than sexually. Believing that sexuality is a woman’s only physical power is the most anti-feminist idea conceivable.[adToAppearHere]
In order to squash these debasing stereotypes and assumptions, people need to realize that compensated women’s wrestling is a sport not just featuring women, but for the entertainment of women. The target audience when promoting these competitions should always be female. Sponsoring a women’s wrestling match should not involve passing out flyers to all the nearest male hangouts. It would be easy to bank money on the likelihood of men flocking to these events expecting some kind of perversion, but it’s not the best way to cast the sport into a reputable spotlight. Women should be cheering on their favorite opponent, and the women competing should know that their audience is primarily made up of people who aren’t there to gawk at them.
Many of the current women’s wrestling promotions have belittling titles. Without directly naming any of them; many contain the words hot, gorgeous, exotic, diva, and chick. The anti-athletic message of those words needs little explanation. We don’t subjugate men by calling it the National Hunky Football League, so why should women’s sports be sexually promoted? The theatrical female ring competitors can still maintain the same character-based fan support without making themselves sexual objects. They should focus on less sex and more scare.
Freestyle wrestling is edging its way into the main stream and can be pursued in many high schools and colleges across the nation. Considering that it’s only fair for girls to have the same sports scholarship opportunities as boys, the number of schools offering wrestling to female students will undoubtedly increase. Scholarships are a great incentive for young emerging competitors, but if other areas of female wrestling can be dignified, it will encourage these girls to pursue the sport beyond school and make it a viable career option worthy of serious sponsorship.
Focusing more energy on the venues and audience will be the key to transforming negative opinions of female wrestling. Dignified sponsorship, with the most reputable contenders, will lead to the sport becoming more main stream. That is where the largest profit lays because there are so many women who can make a career of wrestling and create an enthusiastic and supportive female fan base.
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Sasha Smith is a freelance writer based in the United States. Ms. Smith writes regularly for a small business lending site. She is a wife and mother and as of this date is currently plotting a novel for a client. Her educational background is communication arts and television production.
Sources: Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons, huffingtonpost.com, dailymail.co.uk.