Equality in Women's Wrestling Goes Below the Belt
January 15, 2019 10:01 AM   Subscribe

Late last month, independent professional wrestler Priscilla Kelly had an interesting new move to try out against her opponent: she pulled a "bloody" tampon out of her trunks and shoved it into Tuna's mouth. A clip of it exploded a week later, with various wrestling luminaries weighing in, generally disapprovingly, but with many comparing it to famed indie wrestler Joey Ryan's "dick flip".

Kelly tweeted:
Hey guys. Ya know, it's all fake.

21+ show with a bar. Can't take life so serious all the time.

Call me what you will... 🌹
Her shocking admission that the attack may not have been entirely on the up-and-up only fueled the fire, with legendary wrestling promoter/manager/angry old man Jim Cornette saying "spots" like Kelly's and Ryan's "are killing wrestling."

The use of blood (or "color") in pro wrestling is a hallowed tradition, with images of bloodied men's faces long being used to sell the "kayfabe" wrestling magazines and to indicate the most vicious rivalries. The tradition declined in recent years as WWE, the flag-bearer for American wrestling, enforced a more family-friendly style, but the independent scene kept it alive (even as some of the bloodiest draws infected their opponents with blood-borne illnesses), and "death match" wrestling evolved to include explosives, barbed wire, shattered glass, and interactive "fans bring the weapons" matches.

Women wrestlers have historically not been allowed to "show color" (for mostly sexist reasons), making the occasions that they are accidentally bloodied particularly notable. As Reby Hardy put it:
Backlash from this is further proof that most men are afraid of/*disgusted* by women doing things that aren’t “pretty”. Better maintain this same hOrRoR the next time an indy show does their monthly pointless deathmatch.
Menstruation being seen as "gross" is a massive impediment to equal rights around the world, particularly in the vulnerable teen years when lack of access to medical care and basic menstrual supplies can be the tipping point that takes young people out of school. There are various charitable organizations that distribute menstrual products to people who need them.
posted by Etrigan (8 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
The same Priscilla Kelly of "My Big Fat American Gypsy wedding" fame? Reality TV's gonna reality!
posted by Melismata at 10:04 AM on January 15, 2019

I think I was really upset when I thought it was real, but am comforted if it was fake/scripted. Like, it’s a consent issue with regards to unwanted bodily fluids, but if it’s just to freak out the crowd it doesn’t bother me.
posted by corb at 10:17 AM on January 15, 2019 [15 favorites]

Donita Sparks will always be the realness on this subject.
posted by robotmachine at 10:43 AM on January 15, 2019 [4 favorites]

Like, it’s a consent issue with regards to unwanted bodily fluids, but if it’s just to freak out the crowd it doesn’t bother me.

And that's pretty much the end it.

Personally, I'm pretty grossed out by the spot. But then I wasn't there, and the spot wasn't presented to me as entertainment. And if that worker went to a show I did go to, she wouldn't do that spot, because it wouldn't be appropriate for the show in question.

I'm not going to let someone's fancam of something that happened at a small show marketed to 21+ affect my enjoyment of what she can do in other promotions. Partially because it marginalizes her as a talent, but also because I'm really getting tired of people being demonized for what they do for ten seconds at a function marketed to live audiences only.
posted by parliboy at 10:49 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

If I had to explain professional wrestling to a visitor from outer space, I would just show them the "dick flip" video.
posted by peeedro at 11:15 AM on January 15, 2019 [7 favorites]

Pretty sure I’ve seen that move in a League of Lady Wrestlers match. Not the only excretion based move of the night, either.
posted by rodlymight at 11:52 AM on January 15, 2019

I'm actually a little disappointed it took 3 comments before someone mentioned L7.
posted by uberchet at 3:14 PM on January 15, 2019

It surprises me that people are mad about this! Everything about professional wrestling feels this intense and extra to me. If you had asked me if this is a move in women's pro wrestling, I would have guessed yes - like it honestly seems no worse than watching someone break a chair over their opponent.

I mean I know it's fake (although it would have been NICE if anyone had mentioned that to horrified lil 6 year old Emmy Rae watching TV with Grandpa) but it's one of those things that's just Not For Me.

Good on this lady for turning it into an opportunity to help girls get menstrual supplies. I support the wrestler ladies! Just not by watching their show or engaging with the type of entertainment they provide, sorry I just have a weak stomach for violence and seriously I didn't know it was fake for a long time.

I love GLOW though, maybe because the matches are such a small part of the show?
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:35 PM on January 15, 2019 [2 favorites]

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