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Is bullying ever fake?

As a female wrestling fan I simply cannot sit in silence any longer on this Alexa Bliss-Nia Jax storyline. Why did I mention my gender, you ask? Does it matter what my gender is as we press on into this conversation? Do one’s feelings on this matter depend on whether you’re a wrestling fan or not? I’ll let you decide.

I wanted to write this piece not because I feel offended but because this is the kind of topic I want to talk through with others who enjoy wrestling for what it is — a fun, theatrical performance.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: I was a bit shocked a few weeks back when the tiny yet terrible (but awesome) Bliss began catapulting unflattering comments at Jax about her size and state of beauty — or lack thereof. In an effort to get a better understanding of how I may personally feel about it, I mentioned the topic to both my non-wrestling and wrestling fan friends. This served as a lively and fun social experiment, to see if there were any differences in opinions on the matter. As you can imagine, the responses were very different.

Before the showcase of samplings, let me help paint you a picture of the polled groups:

First, the wrestling fan group. This group is all male (such a shame). I did not include the small amount of female friends who tolerate my love of wrestling by hanging out on a Monday or Tuesday evening. These fellas are varied in shape, size, and fitness levels. ALL of the members of this group are eating this storyline up like Easter dinner. Although, I should point out, no one in this group has remarked on whether or not they believe the backstabbing Bliss is correct in her comments. I am not sure if this is because they aren’t thinking that way or because they know I’ll shove their heads so far up their asses they won’t find them until Christmas day. I’ll go with the former. This group is responsible for points one, two, and three below.

Second, the non-wrestling fan group. This group is mainly compiled of women with a peppering of male flavor, ranging in different body types, weight, and fitness levels. Some are married with children in the age ranges of 5-8. All have a very limited understanding of relevant WWE stars and storylines. All members of this group disagreed with the approach taken by WWE on this storyline. This group is responsible for the counter points one, two, and three.

In we go:

Point One: It’s a show on TV. We wouldn’t even be discussing this if it was a different show, like The Story of Us or Modern Family or any other gut puncher you can name.

Counter: Correct, it is a show on TV, one specifically marketed to families, with children who look up to the characters to help mold their own personal beliefs as they grow and develop. This storyline is unsavory.

Point two: Bullying and fat shaming are a real issue. We’re focusing on the wrong thing here in this conversation. We’re talking about the fact that it happened at all and not how they’re framing it. We need to be focusing on how Miss Jaxy is handling Little Miss Bliss. This is a real issue and it’s good they are using the storyline. It shows how Nia is combating and rising above the cheap shots of the champ.

Counter: If that is the case then why are we spending more time on Bliss and her snide, below-the-belt blows versus Jax standing tall and strong?

Point three: The women want to be treated equally, and we want them to be. In wrestling there are clear roles: you are either a babyface or you are a heel. This storyline makes it clear as crystal. Heels are supposed make you love to hate them. Bliss excels at this skill. It’s her true gift. Heels are mean, nasty, and attack your back when you’re not looking. They hit you below the belt and get close to you just to betray you later. She is following the recipe to the letter, exactly like any male wrestler would, and one may argue she does it even better (she does).

Counter: Got it. Then why not go after Nia’s skillset? Hit her with zingers like “You’re only here because of The Rock!” You bring the women way back in time going this route, making us sound catty. (Side note: sometimes we are.) You wouldn’t have gone for looks or weight if it was a male wrestler.

These are all fair points. I can’t choose a side. I don’t want to choose a side. I think storylines like this take us away from the fun of wrestling. We begin to take it way too seriously. To me, wrestling is an awesome coffee table book.

Having said all that, what is your take? Do you like the storyline? Do you favor one side over the other? Is there a gender play here?

Let’s chat!

Ready, set, go!

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