Why the Mud Pit Has Me Questioning My Wrestling Obsession

Let's just start by getting my wrestling bona-fides out of the way: I don't have any.

I just started watching WWE this year; Royal Rumble was my first time watching a pay-per-view (PPV). But as a fan of sports and all things awesome, wrestling hooked me instantly. I'm talking household WWE Network subscription, hosting PPV viewing parties, converting friends to start watching, taking in Monday Night Raw at a wrestling bar, going to a live AAW show, the whole bit. I staunchly defended WWE to my friends who didn't get it, waxing poetic about how this incredible form of entertainment made me laugh, cheer, yell, and cry.

I was all in.

I know it's not perfect. The flaws in today's WWE are evident from the minute one turns on a match. The state of the Divas division is lamentable, from the stupid name and pink butterfly belt, to the poorly developed characters, to the lack of TV time and the narrow range of body types, costumes, and wrestling styles. Everyone groans when Jerry Lawler says or tweets something spectacularly objectifying about women 40 years younger than him, but his bosses have not actually stopped him. (Thanks, Sean Rueter, for this article, by the way.) John Cena makes childish boob-job jokes at Stephanie's expense.

But I do my best to turn off the "This is sexist!" trigger in my brain, look past the relatively small stuff and enjoy the show. I might roll my eyes at the TV, or get into long-winded discussions with friends about what they should do with the Divas division, but I let it go. I tell myself that WWE has promise, and I believe (BOLIEVE) it will continue to get better, however excruciatingly slow it may take to actually get there.

I remind myself that wrestling often isn't worse than a lot of other popular entertainment culture. Sexism is pervasive, and there are few forms of entertainment that escape it. Movies, TV, comics, video games -- they are all marked by varying degrees of sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, etc. We are a flawed society and our creative work exposes those flaws. If I can overlook or forgive the problematic content in other media, I can do it for wrestling too.

But there is a line. Monday night, that line was crossed.

Geno said in his Raw recap that he's not morally outraged by the Stephanie McMahon-Vickie Guerrero mud pit fiasco. He's not offended by it. Well, I am. I agree with him and GuyNamedJason that it's not entertaining, but I am also angry, frustrated, and disappointed. The segment completely pulled me out of my "I'm just here for the wrestling" mindset and scaled all of my walls and defenses.

There is and has always been a gender-based difference in how entertainers and their characters are treated on WWE programming -- Monday night showed just how dramatic that difference still is.

I can't choose to avoid much of the sexism that women experience every day. Unless I become a hermit and never interact with other humans, I'm going to be cat-called on the way to work. I'm going to see advertisements that imply my worth is most dependent on my physical beauty, and commercials reinforcing stupid and damaging gender norms. It's inevitable - hell, this stuff is so pervasive that sometimes I unthinkingly perpetuate it too.

(The misogyny is coming from inside your brain!)

But there are things I can control, like what forms of entertainment I choose to consume and support. When I feel weak and tired and beat down by the every-day stuff I can't avoid, why would I voluntarily subject myself to stuff I can?

Three days ago I was defending wrestling to someone who believed it was too problematic to watch, and I actually said the words "it's not like they are making the women do mud wrestling anymore." Turns out I was wrong. So it's time for me to make some tough choices: continue to watch something I often really enjoy, but subject myself to segments that honestly make me feel terrible; or give up a really fun form of entertainment to avoid the worst of it? I'm not sure yet what my decision will be, but it's one I wish WWE wasn't forcing me to make.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.