Everybody is talking about EVE lately. Absolutely everyone! That is… except for wrestling media, you know, the people who are literally employed to talk about wrestling. It’s undeniable that EVE have been opened to whole new audiences through literal months of mainstream exposure. Mainstream reporters can’t get enough of them (I don’t blame them), and it seems like every week, EVE is covered in a new article, or they’ve sold out another show (so much for “women don’t sell tickets”) or one of their talents has had huge success. Now, Buzzfeed, The BBC, and Kate Fucking Nash are talking about EVE, so why are they still treated like Billy Lenz from Black Christmas (unrelated but please watch this classic movie, amen), when they’re doing so well?
Let’s have a look at some possibilities…
- Could it be that EVE is a female centric promotion?
Possibly. Acknowledging the success and mainstream attention that EVE have received over the last few months involves acknowledging that women are entirely responsible for this, and you’d have to be delusional to think that there aren’t still some in the wrestling media who have a problem with this.
In terms of content, EVE are undeniably a feminist group, and it could be argued that some in the wrestling media want a women’s revolution, but don’t want one that takes the narrative from men, and centres the revolution around women lifting themselves and others from the shadows, and taking opportunities, instead of a man being generous enough to give them that new platform. If you look at WWE’s alleged women’s revolution, for example, the majority of content produced has made sure to give special thanks to Triple H, as if he did something incredibly generous by allowing women more than two minutes per match on NXT. Not to be harsh, but men really shouldn’t be applauded for investing time and resources equally for their talents. Triple H didn’t do anything amazing, he just did what he, and others in his position, should have been doing for a long time.
EVE is very clear that their revolution, which happened several years ahead of many current attempts, is by women and for women, and it’s very easy to see why some of wrestling media could be intimidated by that fact.
2. Is it because EVE is determined to make women feel welcome in wrestling?
I don’t want to hear “not all men!” I know that it isn’t all men. I’m very aware. However, you would have to be either a liar or delusional to say that there isn’t a huge problem with the treatment of women, predominantly by men, in both the wrestling industry and the wrestling fandom.
Female talents are often harassed, some are even abused, and the same is true for female fans. Women in wrestling are often made to feel like they don’t belong, and that if they are allowed to belong, it’s only because “They’re not like the other girls. They’re one of the boys.” A woman, more often than not, can either belong, under certain conditions, or be isolated. EVE say “Fuck no” to that.
Not only do their shows give a platform for women across the wrestling industry to showcase their talent, but their shows give a safe space for women to enjoy wrestling. I know that people are sick of the phrase “safe space”, but honestly, I think we are sick of requiring safe spaces. I don’t think I’ve met a female wrestling fan, or female wrestler who doesn’t have at least one story of being verbally attacked, sexually harassed and even sexually assaulted at a wrestling event. It isn’t enough to say “We won’t put up with it”, when this happens. It is time to say actually show this, by kicking troublemakers out of shows, making sure fans and talent are heard when they have an issue, and generally, making your show a place where people feel safe, which is something EVE do, but many other promotions are failing at, when it really isn’t that hard.
EVE have been vocal in support for abuse survivors, and have made it clear that they will do all they can to make all of their fans and talent feel safe, and they don’t just tweet about it and then ignore their duties, they actually stick to it. Many promotions will talk a good game about making their shows safe, but will still book abusers, and will either ignore fan criticism, or get overly defensive about what is actually a fair point, EVE is not only not doing that, but they’re calling out places that do.
3. Is it because EVE are giving too many women ideas?
I know, this one sounds a bit out there, but hear me out. As I mentioned earlier, there seems to be a great desire, in the wrestling industry, and in many wrestling media outlets to roll with the idea that Triple H, Patron Saint Of Women’s Wrestling, and his wife Stephanie “Philanthropy is the future of marketing, it’s the way brands are going to win” McMahon blessed us with the women’s revolution, and basically invented women’s wrestling, and they absolutely did it because they love us, and not because they could clearly see they were losing money from women’s wrestling fans who were migrating to promotions that gave a shit about women. This is, of course, not true. Stephanie McMahon’s husband, as important to women’s wrestling as he may be marketed, did not in fact, invent or even popularise women’s wrestling. Women’s wrestling has always been there. This revisionist history is to remove the narrative of women doing great things, and to replace it with the narrative of men being nice enough to encourage women to do nice things, but only certain women.
EVE, at it’s core, removes the second narrative all together. It is literally women, saying to other women, “You got this. We got this.”
I remember, from my own misadventures in wrestling, meeting EVE’s poster lady, Rhia O’Reilly, and instantly feeling so welcomed and supported by her. She was somebody who constantly encouraged me, even when I must have been incredibly frustrating to work with, and she never gave up on me. Now, I may not have become the cool wrestler I dreamed of, but I became one hell of a manager, and I would throw a lot of credit for that to Rhia, and women like her, many of whom are a part of EVE, for seeing a girl who was clearly overwhelmed and intimidated, and giving her the confidence to go for it. Sometimes, all that is needed is the simple message of “You belong here too. Please stay.” to keep someone from turning away from something they love, and EVE have done this for countless women, both in the industry and the fandom.
Now, imagine if, with the encouragement of a loud and proud, feminist wrestling promotion, more women took this encouragement and applied it to other aspects of wrestling. Currently, many women don’t find success in wrestling outlets, such as magazines, youtube channels and podcasts, because of the abuse women in those positions face, but what if they had a promotion… like, a female promotion, that backed them 100%, offered encouragement and happily supported women across the wrestling media.
I mean, if I was a fragile misogynist, EVE would scare the shit out of me too.