You’re Not Sorry

It’s time for another episode of “what really grinds my gears.” 


Today: why people need to stop dismissing sexual assault as “just…”

I hear it all of the time. It’s just a cat call. Just a kiss on the cheek (in the case of a reporter at Osheaga last week). It was just a friendly comment. Last year, I tweeted about an old man that catcalled me and numerous men on my Twitter feed told me it was a compliment. I should be flattered. Let me tell you, there is nothing flattering about being catcalled. It’s degrading to both parties. But they’re probably “nice guys” that just aren’t appreciated *cue eye roll emoji*. 

This week, Taylor Swift is making headlines as she is in court, battling a lawsuit filed by David Mueller, a Denver DJ who lost his job after an incident where he allegedly groped her. Swift has countersued for $1, demanding an apology.  While the trial is ongoing, a lot of comments I see online are “it was just a butt grab.” So called feminists who preach about defending women when forced to confront someone who assaulted them are notably silent (Demi Lovato, I’m looking in your direction. Maybe you’re matching on Capitol Hill…?). Feminists stop being feminists when Taylor Swift is involved it seems. No support for her. After all, it was just a butt grab. No big deal. Right?


A similar statement echoed through social media when a fan attending a live event commented that a child had slapped the posterior of WWE Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss. 


The kid was praised, fans wanted to give the kid a high five. She wears such short shorts, she had it coming! Besides, he’s just a kid and it’s JUST a butt grab. No big deal! Calm down feminists, it’s not sexual assault. It’s just a playful slap on the butt! 


Except it’s not just a butt grab. It’s not “no big deal.” It’s not “calm down.” It IS sexual assault. Taylor Swift is an entertainer, but she’s also a human being. She deserves basic respect. She doesn’t deserve to be sued because she didn’t stand for being molested by a DJ. All of the “she’ll write a song about it,” etc. jokes do not take away from the fact that this man allegedly sexually assaulted Taylor Swift. I commend this smart, strong woman for standing her ground, because the millions of little girls that look up to her are watching & she’s showing them that you do not have to dismiss sexual assault as “just a butt grab.”


I’ve been in situations where a guy took liberties. Last year a customer grabbed my ass while throwing something in my garbage can. I was furious, but when I called a friend back home & told him the story, he pointed out it was “just a butt grab.” I wear tight pants to work, right? I kind of accepted it, but I sometimes wonder how many women dismiss sexual assault or harassment as “just…” I’ve even been told by female relatives that as we age, the catcalls stop and we should be flattered that men still find us attractive. But is it flattering when it makes us feel gross? To me, flattering is something that makes us feel good, not super gross. I can’t imagine Taylor felt good, and considering she complained & Mueller was fired. I can’t imagine Alexa Bliss feels good when grown ass men teach little boys to slap her ass and catcall her. It’s not flattering, nor a compliment. We need to stop referring to this behaviour as such and refer to it as what it is; harassment. To those who do these things; it’s a funny story and a high five, but to the women involved, it’s a loss of trust, a loss of personal safety. As guys like Mueller become legends around the bar, women like Taylor become labelled as cold and standoffish, because they’re not comfortable in those situations anymore. Great trade off, right?

If it makes you feel uncomfortable, unhappy, or unsafe, it’s not flattering and it’s okay to stand up for yourself and say that this is not acceptable behaviour. It’s not okay to tell a woman that it’s just a slap on the butt, or just a friendly catcall, be flattered. The more we diminish this very real harassment, the more we embolden others to think it’s okay. I commend Taylor for standing up for herself, not settling, and making this man accountable for his actions. Maybe this will encourage other women to speak up about harassment in the workplace, at a club, or even among friends when a joke went too far. After all, the only way this sort of behaviour will be stopped is when we as a society stop tolerating it, and kudos to Taylor for not just shaking it off, but standing her ground instead. 

Helium

You know what I love? Women who build up other women. I am all about that. I effing LOVE seeing women succeed. Love. It. When my girl friends succeed, I am like “THAT IS MY GIRL!” Life is too short to be catty. I can’t be that person. I want my women to run shit. 

Speaking of women empowering women, I missed all kinds of girl power at the Grammys tonight. I usually love them, but I was watching Naomi win herself a Women’s championship at the Elimination Chamber! While I admit, I am late to the Nao Mob, I respect women who hustle & girl certainly did. Congrats Naomi, you deserved this moment. Proud of you. I was even more proud to see all of WWE’s warrior women hitting up Twitter to congratulate her. I love the Smackdown live Women’s locker room. These girls build each other up. Love it so much & more women could follow this example. 


But let me get back on track. 

I love when women build up other women. I’m sick of seeing women torn down for no reason. I’m sick of seeing people tear down Taylor Swift because it’s the in thing to do.


 When people like Frank Ocean claim that she didn’t deserve Album of the Year, it’s a sign of men once again marginalizing the talent of women. When women support this narrative, we are allowing it to continue. We need to stop being catty and build each other up, which is why I freaking love Adele. 

Adele’s brilliant effort 25 won Album of the Year, making her the second female in history to win the award twice (the first being Taylor Swift), beating out Beyoncé. But instead of just thanking her fans and collaborators & walking off, Adele took a moment to lift up Beyoncé & acknowledge her impact on music. Adele took her moment and used it to empower her fellow female artists & she did it well. More women need to build each other up like Adele, she’s a class act all the way. 

Adele showed that women can compete and not be Total bitches. You can respect each other. Adele winning doesn’t make Beyoncé’s album bad. It’s just how the Grammy voters saw it. But these two women showed class and sisterhood, which we need more of, especially in this climate where we see people tearing down successful women! Look at the attacks on Taylor. People calling Beyoncé a racist primadonna. Instead of congratulating Lady Gaga for slaying the Super Bowl, people called her fat! It’s even more important that women build each other up.


Some women, however, need a refresher in how to build up other women, like Katy Perry. 

Before I start, let me say I’m a huge fan of Katy Perry the artist. I think her voice is amazing. I think she has a great message of female empowerment. Her new single Chained to the Rhythm has a great message about stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning about your planet. But you’ve gotta back that shit up, or it’s just hollow words. 


Tonight, on two separate occasions, Katy Perry said she took a hiatus for her mental health and it worked, because she didn’t shave her head yet, which appeared to be some thinly veiled shade at Britney Spears, who’s 2007 nervous breakdown made headlines. Katy Perry made several comments about feeling victimized by the song Bad Blood, and how Taylor Swift was calling her out for this type of catty behaviour unjustly. But it’s hard to call it unjust when you used a serious mental illness for punchlines. 

Britney Spears is reported to have bipolar disorder, and that’s no joke. This requires medication, counselling, and for some, even watching their diet. This needs to be done every single day. When left untreated, Bipolar disorder can lead to some dangerous and even fatal situations. It’s not funny. It’s scary af. Katy Perry says she’s a feminist. A feminist does not take someone’s darkest hour and use it as a joke. If anything, let’s all give huge props to our girl Britney. She manages to raise a family, co-parent in a healthy way, perform a regular show in Vegas, all while continuing to treat her illness so she can be bad ass. That takes strength, resolve, tenacity, & we should commend Britney. I love Katy Perry’s songs, but for her message to have meaning, she’s gotta walk her talk. 


In a world full of catty Katys, be like Adele. Build up your sisters. Celebrate their talents. Be that woman who builds up other women. When you empower each other, you feel better about yourself and they feel better about themselves. There is no downside. So, before you make that snide comment, think of how much better it would feel to be kind. 

Attention 

Looks like we’ve got another edition of “what really grinds my gears.”

Tonight, why the continued use of slut shaming in WWE concerns female fans like me. 

Before I get started, let me explain that this isn’t a shot on male fans who defend the angle. Male fans have a different perspective than female fans about certain things & we are going to identify a different way. I remember laughing when Chris Jericho called Stephanie McMahon THAT name as a kid because I didn’t understand what women go through every day. They don’t either. This is about informing, not attacking. 


My daughters love WWE programming, but most notably the women. They own piles of merchandise, they waited in the snow for five hours hoping to meet Sasha Banks and Bayley. My youngest has a countdown to the next live event where she hopes to meet her idol Nikki Bella. But one of their favourite personalities is Lana. Yes, Lana. Two years ago, they squeaked with delight, pledging allegiance to mother Russia if it meant she would take selfies with them. They cheered for Lana through her husband Rusev’s match. Lana was the best thing ever to them. When I asked why, it was because Lana was strong, unafraid, when she spoke, people listened & she wasn’t just another girl, she was Rusev’s equal & he treated her that way.  Lana was amazing. 


For little girls, Lana represented more than just a Russian woman that was hot. She was an eloquent speaker, Rusev listened to her, respected her, and everyone cared what she had to say. Men had Paul Heyman, women had Lana. Even during that disastrous love triangle storyline, my girls would plead with Lana to get back in her business suits and tear everyone apart.

“Mommy! Take a picture of Lana!”

Recently, WWE started a storyline where resident loudmouth Enzo Amore flashed Lana. Instead of apologizing, he flirted with her. Then, he spent weeks telling her husband Rusev that Lana wants him, fantasizes about him because he’s just soooooo manly. The story played out where Lana decided to show Enzo how it felt to feel ashamed, helpless, victimized. She offered him a chance to come to her hotel room, stripped him down, and Rusev beat him up, which of course in wrestling land meant Big Cass, Enzo’s partner needed to settle things by having a match, not like, calling the cops. 

Last night when I got home from work, the PPV event Roadblock had already started and I asked my girls what I missed. They proceeded to tell me it was awful, the New Day lost! But my nine year old also said “Enzo called Lana a bunch of bad names and I don’t like him anymore.”

When I read an excerpt of what he said, I was floored. 


How is he the good guy? Is it just because the character of Lana is Russian and Rusev is Bulgarian?! How does any man saying that to another human make him the guy to cheer?!

I understand for male fans, it’s hard to understand, but for female fans, we deal with Enzo Amore’s three times a month. I recently just wrote about how a man harassed me for WEEKS because I said no. When I decline a date, I get “well you weren’t that hot anyway,” “you led me on by saying you liked video games and wrestling,” “I bet you’re a cheap hoe.” This is the behaviour that Enzo Amore is exhibiting. He was told no and he proceeded to tell Lana for weeks that she didn’t mean no, she wants him. When she set up what many women have fantasized about, flipping the script on their harasser, she was the villain. Rusev is defending his wife from a creep, how is he the villain? He seems like a great guy, trying to protect his wife. But in WWE land, he’s a jerk and Enzo is just trying to have fun.  Okay.  


This sort of thing needs to stop. I’m all for TV and people getting it’s make believe, but it’s obvious that WWE doesn’t know how to write for women. Women don’t see Enzo as a funny guy. To us, he’s every guy at the bar that stalked us to our car (after calling us fat & a slut to get high fives from his friends) because we said no. Girls are watching and being shown this behaviour is okay. That if a woman says no, she’s the bad guy. Women fans deserve better. 

In WWE land, women are consistently marginalized when they are accomplished. Big Cass’s real life girlfriend (& former manager) Carmella was recently written as a catty girl jealous of Nikki Bella. Carmella was written to say a promo where she credited all of Nikki’s success to her boyfriend John Cena. And male fans nodded in approval. Yes, this is what happened. My seven year old screamed at our TV to stop because Nikki worked so hard to come back and girls shouldn’t say this about other girls. But this is considered status quo. 
Yes, Nikki got her revenge, by beating Carmella and proving that she is the better athlete (to the delight of my seven year old), but the damage is done. Places like Reddit belittle Nikki, talking about how she keeps her job by opening her legs. No mention of how she worked for months to come back to a full time schedule after a debilitating neck injury that could have left her paralyzed. More attention is paid to her two second hip wiggle. Nikki’s marketability as a role model is questioned. My youngest will tell you Nikki is strong and brave and athletic and she & her sister Brie could best everyone because they outsmarted them. No mention of a hip wiggle. But lots of mention of Nikki’s determination, bravery, kindness, athleticism. Maybe we need to listen to kids. 

You can have great storytelling without women bringing each other down. Sasha Banks & Charlotte Flair have done it for months. They just wanted to be the best. Carmella & Nikki could have done the same without the tired mean girl is jealous schtick. Rusev could have been praised by the announce team for being a stand up guy, defending his wife from inappropriate behaviour and condemning the frat boy antics. But alas, WWE went another way. However, I do hope male fans understand that while to them, it’s a funny storyline, for female fans, it’s a daily reality for us, that our success will always be marginalized to build up a man, or that when we say no to creeps, we are somehow in the wrong. Maybe, WWE will listen to the fans (and Lana herself, who has been very vocal on Twitter that she finds this distasteful) and we will see Rusev and Lana be celebrated for standing up to the bullies. But more likely, we’ll see a new shirt emblazoned with one of the catch lines designed to humiliate her. 

You Want It Darker

AKA confessions of a former catty bitch. 

I was once a catty bitch. I mocked celebrity clothing choices, I criticized women wrestlers who were hired as models, I compared myself to other women. I talked about girls behind their back in high school, etc. But I was an insecure, jealous, girl. I was jealous of the popular girls in high school & in the workplace. I was completely jealous of Gwen Stefani’s seemingly perfect life. In 2011, I was jealous of Brie & Nikki Bella’s looks and success. It wasn’t until I grew up (figuratively) and found myself that I realized that I made these statements because I was jealous and insecure about myself. I was projecting my feelings of self loathing onto them. Now, I can look at Gwen Stefani and see a talented singer. I can look at Brie & Nikki Bella and see hard ass work & women who empower other women. I can respect women who wear what they want. You want to rock those booty shorts? Work! I love seeing other women get up and do their thing & kicking ass at life. But there is one thing that I cannot stand, and that is an unreformed catty bitch. 

Look at these women.

Recently, my daughter lost her Snapchat privileges. Not because of the reason you would think. It was because I found out that she was insulting other girls by calling them bitches. I want to raise strong women. Strong women don’t call their friends bitches. They don’t belittle each other. They work to build each other up. I won’t allow my daughters to treat their fellow human beings like crap, so until she could learn to speak with respect, she didn’t need social media. 

But I see an influx of memes on social media where women criticize other women. They mock each other for wearing makeup, their shorts, their clothes, their marital status, their looks, etc. And every time I see a woman call down another woman, I have only one question;

Like, come on ladies. We have to work twice as hard for half of the recognition and THIS is how you want to treat each other? With this kind of childish name calling?

Holy shit shut up

I mean, we live in a world where we are smashing through glass ceilings. Women can be the CEO of Fortune 500 companies. The most successful athlete in history is Serena Williams, a woman. We are watching a powerful, bad ass woman running for the presidency of the United States and we are still ridiculing each other for who we date, what we wear, whether or not we drank too much at the party & if we are telling the truth about domestic violence. Why are we continuing to belittle each other?


Why are we still having these conversations? It’s 20 freaking 16. So we really want to teach the next generation of women to be catty bitches? I know I don’t. Sorry, but I remember the girl fights in high school, the petty drama & how much I do not want to be part of that anymore, nor do I want my daughters to perpetuate it. And one thing I’ve learned from being a reformed catty bitch is that I’ve been so much more successful now that I’ve stopped worrying about what other women are wearing & doing. Now that I’m not trying to tear down other women, I’m focusing on how I can improve, not how to be better than that bitch. And by competing only with myself, I’m becoming better than I ever was. 


The biggest thing that women need to learn is by tearing each other down, we are giving men permission to tear us down. We all sit aghast at the things Donald Trump says about women, but then belittle a coworker in the next breath. By calling a woman a bitch or a slut, or questioning her qualifications to lead a country based on her pantsuit and not her resume, you are basically giving disgusting creatures like Trump the power to say the same thing about all women. When women tear each other apart, we are giving men permission to mistreat us, belittle our abilities, make vulgar and misogynistic statements about us. Every time we call a woman a slut, we are no better than people like Donald Trump. 

But mostly, you’re telling the world that you are insecure, petty, jealous & intimidated by the success of others. Why would you want to project that? When you belittle other women, you show people how small and petty you really are. Why not take that energy and put it into making you successful instead of putting down others all of the time? It just seems like a more constructive use of time. 

You would have so much more fun if you built your friends up

We have the power to be better, treat each other better, and empower each other. Why waste your time and energy bullying each other about things that don’t matter? Every time you put down a woman for her clothes, her hair, her choices & her makeup, whether she chooses a hijab or not, whether she chooses a traditional family or to reject societal norms, you are doing the equivalent of getting angry about someone putting the peppers you don’t like on the sandwich you aren’t going to eat. It’s not your sandwich. Instead of getting mad or calling them down, just eat your own damn sandwich and let the woman enjoy her peppers. 


If more women chose to build each other up, we would have more women leaders, more women heroes and more women making history. If we unite, there would be no glass ceilings, as we would have kicked them down decades ago. So, in a world where in five weeks we will (hopefully) see a strong, bad ass, intelligent woman elected the leader of the free world, let’s make a commitment to stand together to end the stereotype that all women hate each other and show future generations that women can empower each other, no matter what we are wearing, thinking, or doing. 

She Sets the City on Fire

As a WWE fan and a woman who prides herself on being a feminist, I often give WWE a bag of Hell when they get it wrong & turn their strong, powerful female characters into stereotypical catty bitches determined to undercut each other. Today, I’m going to give them props for getting it right.


Months ago, I lamented about the plight of Becky Lynch, WWE’s last true heroine. The Lass Kicker was betrayed by friends, humiliated & often left sobbing, while her fans sobbed with her. Many nights, my nine year old, decked out in her little goggles & Becky shirt, would ask why everyone would beat up Becky. Why did everything bad happen to Becky, why always Becky?


But the character of Becky Lynch didn’t become jaded or bitter. In fact, she would cut passionate promos about how she would finally win the big one & she’d do it the right way, with honour & integrity. Becky would tell her fans that all the struggles would be worth it & she would win the big one in a way that she could be proud of.

Fans waited for months and months, but last night, they finally got their wish. Becky Lynch finally won the big one & became the first ever WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion. The woman who was once molested by Ric Flair and tossed out of the ring sobbing like garbage FINALLY got to stand tall as the victor, making history to the delight of fans everywhere. 


Becky Lynch won & she won with integrity. She didn’t cheat or stab a friend in the back. She didn’t do anything duplicitous. She won with integrity & hard work & even though my two of my three daughters were rooting for different women (they were rooting for Nikki Bella & Alexa Bliss), they all jumped & screamed with joy when Becky Lynch was declared the winner.


But the other takeaway from this night was that some of the women in the match went onto social media to publicly congratulate Lynch. Nikki Bella & Natalya (Becky’s latest onscreen nemesis) took time to congratulate Becky, compliment her work ethic & even while reminding people that they wanted to be champion, they were proud of Becky. And Becky made sure to thank them for their words, and for a moment, everyone had to stand up and notice that all of these women were building up each other. There was no catty sniping, just a bunch of women proud of their body of work & proud of their friend, even in defeat. 

My other two daughters would have been so disappointed if I hadn’t added a pic of their “girls” in this match.

Even the women who may not have publicly congratulated Becky (but I’m sure they did privately) still showcased class & poise. They congratulated all of their opponents for a job well done, for a great match & Trinity “Naomi” Fatu gave a thoughtful statement, reminding her fanbase that long roads lead to beautiful destinations. No undercutting Becky Lynch’s abilities. No claiming that she’s ugly, fat or didn’t deserve to win. Just six women proud of themselves & what they were able to do. 


So congrats to all six of these women for showcasing a different kind of female superstar; classy in defeat, proud of each other & appreciative of opportunities given, or opportunities created. You showcased athleticism in the ring, but showed passionate fans that it’s okay to be happy for someone else, especially when you know they worked hard too. Six women built up other women, with not a single personal attack or childish catty insult. For once, a women’s match really was about who was the best, and the right woman won it the right way, teaching little girls at home that with hard work and integrity, there is nothing you cannot do. 

Writing’s on the Wall

Parenting a teenager super sucks sometimes. 

I’m fortunate that I’m raising a mature & well rounded teen girl. She’s not concerned with gossip. She doesn’t waste days on social media. She likes boys & fashion & selfies & reality TV, but she’s not caught up in celebrity worship as much as her peers (except for Queen Taylor Swift).  

I’m perfectly fine with my daughter loving Taylor Swift. She’s a good person who loves her friends and her fans. She promotes the concept of women building up other women. She responds to criticism with class and poise. She isn’t afraid to stand up for other artists. Taylor Swift is a fine role model for young women & I applaud her commitment to retaining her true personality despite her growing fame. 

However, my daughter’s new school friend recently teased her (good naturedly) for her obsession with the E! Reality show Total Divas. She adores the Bella Twins (Brie & Nikki) and enjoys their adventures as they climb the mountain to become the most dominant Divas in WWE history (a feat they’ve accomplished as Brie is the only Diva to co-main event a PPV, and Nikki recently held the Divas Championship longer than any Diva in history). But her friends are more concerned with Keeping Up With the Kardashians, most notably, their “style icon and role model,” Kylie Jenner. 

My daughter argues that her reality show is better, because Brie & Nikki Bella have an actual skill, whether their skill is respected by mainstream entertainment fans or not. Brie & Nikki can wrestle; they train to wrestle. Nikki has continued to compete through three separate injuries over the 301 days she was Divas champion. Brie & Nikki travel often, missing weddings, family functions, all in the name of entertainment. Brie most recently missed her first wedding anniversary because she was touring. My daughter often points out that Kylie has no discernible skill, nor do any of her sisters. They don’t have actual jobs, or a talent, or anything that makes them special, so why are we keeping up with them. But I overheard her friends this week telling her that Kylie Jenner is an icon & they should all aspire to be like her, get her signature pout & her relationship with rapper Tyga are “relationship goals.” All of this sort of makes me sad.  

I don’t know Kylie Jenner. I’m sure she’s a very sweet girl. She’s quite pretty. If she is a wild child, it’s probably more due to a lack of adequate supervision from her parents, Kris & Caitlyn Jenner. But there are so many more interesting things for young girls to aspire to be than pretty with a full pout. There is so much more for young women to accomplish than dating a 25 year old man while underage and bikini selfies and launching an app with makeup tips. These girls are 13 and 14 years old. They can grow into women of distinction; they can change the world. Why are they limiting themselves by wanting to be more like a woman with no discernible talent & her only goal is to be pretty & desired by men? Is this how my parents felt when I was all about Madonna?  

Girls, please don’t sell yourself short. If you must look up to someone famous, why not Hailee Stenfeld? This young lady was nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 14. She recently released her single “Love Myself,” which is quickly climbing the Billboard charts. The catchy song is an anthem for self love, reminding people that as long as she sees her worth, she doesn’t need anyone to validate her. What about Malala Yousafzai, who took on the Taliban, survived a gunshot wound & now advocates education for women in underdeveloped countries. Both of these young women are the same age as Miss Jenner & their messages are so much more positive. Love who you are, grow as a woman, seek knowledge. While neither may have Miss Jenner’s perfect pout, they have something so much more: goals & aspirations & a desire to make the world better.   

Somewhere, did we as parents fail our children? We can blame the media for giving the Kardashian-Jenner clan attention, but we are responsible for their infamy. We comment on their articles, we download their games, much like the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror Episode, if you ignore them, they will die. We keep them alive with every retweet, click and comment.   

But maybe it’s deeper. Maybe we as moms have failed our children by our own example. Why do our daughters aspire only to be pretty? They don’t learn from celebrities, they learn from us. We can blame Barbie, even Kylie Jenner, but we have to ask what kind of example are we setting? Do we acquiesce to our husbands? Did we abandon our goals? Do we focus too much on our own aesthetic so that out daughters see us fearing aging & obsessed with being “Cougars” because either we are single moms hoping to meet a mate or because we still want to feel sexy? There is nothing wrong with these things on the surface, know there are times I’m too caught up in my appearance, especially my weight & my weight loss journey & I need to be mindful of that for my daughters.  But perhaps we need to use them as talking points, while aspiring to be more; professionally, personally.   Perhaps we as moms need to start setting goals for ourselves to showcase that we as moms are strong, brave, smart and beautiful. Then perhaps our daughters will look up to us, admire us, and not Kylie Jenner. Because your daughter’s role model should be you, not the flavour of the week on TV. Maybe if we kept up with being the best version of ourselves, our kids could keep up with us, and not the Kardashians.   

Dear Stephanie McMahon: A Letter From One Mom To Another

Dear Stephanie McMahon,

You don’t know me and I don’t know you, but we sort of grew up together. I’m only a couple of years younger than you and I grew up watching WWE programming and loved the entertainment your family brought into my home each week. As a teenager, I loathed your onscreen character for being married to my childhood crush, Triple H (although I promise I got over it haha) and much like you, I have three daughters of my own. You’ve gone from being the bane of my teenage existence to becoming a role model for women like me; you’re a hardworking mom who strives to be a role model. You don’t make excuses; you find time to keep in shape, run a company and still be there for your daughters. You inspire women like me every single day. I’m actually a huge fan of you and your work ethic.

The WWE Network is the most popular channel in my home, but it’s not for me; it’s for my three daughters, who are 13, eight and five. My eldest daughter’s goal in life is to become the youngest WWE Divas Champion in history and is already training for her goal. She runs 5Km with me three days a week, joins as many sports teams a possible and carries her replica title around as practice for when she wins the real thing, skipping like her idol, AJ Lee. The highlight of my eight year old daughter’s life was when she met WWE Diva Paige in our hometown in Ontario, Canada last year. Paige told her they were best friends and to this day, my daughter swears that she and Paige are best friends and begs to stay up late every week to see Paige wrestle and is waiting with baited breath for Paige to get her Wrestlemania moment @ Wrestlemania XXXI. My youngest loves the Bella Twins and sported her “Fearless Nikki” shirt on her birthday so she could be “Fearless Five.” They were excited beyond belief this past Summerslam, when you and Brie Bella co-headlined the second largest event of the year. They pleaded for Brie Mode and Fearless Nikki shirts so they could watch Divas kick butt just like the guys. They were so happy and as a longtime fan of WWE programming, I thought we were finally going to see a change, where women would get equal time to the men on programming and no longer would little girls all over the world wait all night to see the Divas just for them to be trucked out for three minutes and then leave…

..until last night.

from wwe.com
from wwe.com

Paige and fellow Diva Emma sat in the ring for several minutes while Raw aired a promo for male Superstar Sting. A promo that was long and unnecessary and could have aired at any point in the show. The Divas were given less than 10 seconds to wrestle and maybe three minutes to perform before they were shipped backstage. Ironically enough, you made a statement in a backstage segment questioning if male superstar Seth Rollins would defy you simply because you’re a woman. You make a bold, femminist statement and then have your Divas compete in less than 30 seconds with a promo in between. You stand up for powerful women, but your company disrespects their female athletes less than two hours later by saying that a video package for a male superstar is more important than their time.

I’m not talking as a disgruntled fan; I’m a mom just like you. My daughters adore the Divas, only watch WWE programming for the Divas (and Daniel Bryan. They really love Daniel Bryan) and each week they wait for hours for their beloved Divas just to see them for less than two minutes in storylines that insult their intelligence. The Bella Twins hate Paige because she looks different, AJ Lee hates the Total Divas because she wants to be on the show and wasn’t invited? Why can’t they have a storyline that is deep and meaningful? Trish Stratus and Lita had a rivalry that eclipsed their male counterparts, why can’t the current women? While I appreciate that Paige has sent a strong message about being true to oneself, why can’t women have storylines that make them strong, powerful women, and not high school bullies or jealous vixens?

I guess the part that confuses me is that you are such a strong woman and you take such pride in representing women in such a strong capacity. Why wouldn’t you want the Divas to be a reflection of your work ethic? My daughters as well as daughters all over the world look up to these women, they deserve more than two minute matches and storylines that demean them. When you became an active member of the creative team, moms like myself had such hope that you would show the world that the women were just as strong as the men. Total Divas is a successful franchise and brings new viewers to WWE. Why wouldn’t you capitalize on that and allow the viewers of Total Divas to see just how strong and athletic these Divas can be? We can’t see that in two minutes. The Divas work so hard. They deserve so much more. And you know how strong and talented they are, that’s why you chose to wrestle them yourself. Brie and Nikki Bella were talented enough to work a match with you, sell a pay per view event with you, and make history as the first women’s match to co-headline a PPV with you, but they’re not good enough for twenty minutes of airtime for Nikki to defend her title or cut a promo? That feels so hypocritical and I know that’s not how you would want fans to see you.

from wwe.com
from wwe.com

On behalf of every fan, I’m asking you to please let the Divas have airtime. Monday Night Raw is three hours long, surely you can give thirty minutes to the Divas. Every time you don’t, you cheapen the goals of little girls all over the world just like my teenage daughter, who want nothing more than to hold that title. You cheapen the hard work of women like AJ Lee, Paige and Nikki Bella, who work so hard and train so hard while working long hours and travel long days to hold that title and devalue Brie Bella, your handpicked opponent. You make them appear unworthy and beneath the men, and I know a woman like you, who conquered a man’s world would never want that for women.

I hope you’ll listen to the fans and #GiveDivasAChance, so my daughters will never have to say “Please let us stay up for the Divas, they’ll only be on for a minute!” ever again.

Sincerely,

MHC, A Mom Of Disappointed Divas Fans

Something Great

I watched WWE as a kid & still dig the camp factor. My daughters love it though, are very invested in the storylines & I’ll have to keep my two eldest in neutral corners as their faves AJ Lee & Paige compete for the Divas title tonight @ the Summerslam PPV event (yes, they are well aware it isn’t real, it’s all scripted & they’re all friends in real life, but you can get hurt if you try it. My middle daughter will tell you this is the best cartoon on TV & Daniel Bryan is everything).

However, I often complain at the lack of proper representation for their female characters. The Divas (until recently) were one note characters, either kind of trashy or innocent ingenue & their only storylines were bad girl wants good girl’s Divas title or is jealous of good girl. The only exceptions were the long & storied feud of Trish Stratus & Lita & the mean girls style antics of Laycool (Michelle McCool & Layla El). As a parent of daughters , it bugged me that there were no characters they could really get behind or rally around. Well, it’s as if Stephanie McMahon (the company’s principal owner & mom of three daughters) heard every mom’s concerns & did something about it.

The women have complex characters now. Divas Champion AJ Lee went from one note man eater jealous of the girls from the reality show Total Divas (on the E! Network) to complicated heroine struggling to keep her composure after an onslaught of machinations created by her “friend”. Newcomer Paige is a sweet young girl…or a master manipulator. The Bella Twins went from wooden bad girls to heroines protecting each other & their family (namely Brie’s real life & legitimately injured husband Daniel Bryan) from the aforementioned McMahon. Nikki put up with unfair advantage week after week believing that she could overcome & Brie, having had enough, challenged McMahon to stand up for her family & Brie vs. Stephanie is going to headline tonight’s PPV.

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That’s right: the main event is two women! Something unheard of in the sexist & misongynistic world of wrestling. Women are normally relegated to less than 10 minutes & put in the spot known as the “death slot,” so you can get nachos before John Cena appears. My daughters were heartbroken @ Wrestlemania XXX when they waited all night for the first Divas title match in the history of the event, only to see there were no entrances (save for AJ Lee) & their match was shorter than the time it took for the Undertaker to walk to the ring. The Divas disappear from TV for weeks while little girls sadly hope for a glimpse of Brie or Nikki & last year, a Divas t-shirt was a mythological thing. If little girls wanted something to represent their idols, they had to make it themselves.

But not anymore.

Seven women have merch for little girls to buy. There are two women’s matches a night. TWO. The women have actual storylines & Brie Bella, who’s match was famously pulled off a PPV to make room for Machine Gun Kelly to play John Cena to the ring is considered more important than the men. My daughters pleaded for their Bella shirts & I relented (& got one too) & they are excited for tonight like it’s Super Bowl Sunday with their Fearless Nikki & Brie Mode shirts. They’ve counted down the days for Bellaslam as they call it & tonight, they all get to stay up late to see if their beloved Brie can defeat the evil Stephanie McMahon.

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While to those who don’t watch, it doesn’t seem like a big deal; it’s just a campy, stupid TV show designed for rednecks & children, but to every girl who was told that they only watched wrestling for the hot guys or for the soap opera like atmosphere, this is our moment. For once, the girls we cheered for aren’t being marginalized in a dumbed down storyline that makes women look like shrews or like they only care about pleasing men or like women secretly hate each other & it’s all about jealousy. This is the equivalent of A Disney Princess grabbing the sword from Prince Charming & saving herself, or the Cubs going to the World Series. Fans waited so long & gave up hope that the day would ever come. Suddenly, for every little girl who aspires to be a Diva (including my 13 year old daughter), the main event, the star of the show, is an option. It’s attainable & kudos to WWE for realizing that girls can kick ass, girls do have feelings, & girls can star the show & people WILL care about them. Between this & the successful reality show Total Divas, it’s like WWE finally gets what they seemed to have forgotten since Trish Stratus & Lita retired; women are people; strong, resilient, confident, brave & emotional people & not just objects for men to ogle.

Now, I’m well aware that WWE will likely screw this up & break up the Bella Twins or something & turn this into a one note jealous sister storyline & remind me why they are sexist & can’t write for women, but right now I’m feeling very girl power for them & for my own kids, who get to ask to stay up without saying “if they don’t get cut” or “it’ll only be five more minutes,” because for the first time ever, the Divas are the star of the show.

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