I swear to god, this isn’t just going to become a pro-wrestling blog, but I got something to get off my chest.
A couple of weeks ago, I went to a couple of NXT shows in Concord, NC and Columbia, SC. They were super fun, as usual, and getting to see three new champs AND Shinsuke Nakamura in action is really cool. Of course, I was wearing my Bálor Dress to both shows as I did in Gainesville and Nashville. I had plenty of people compliment me and take my picture. One of the camera guys from NXT even asked me why I made it, so there’s video of that somewhere in the WWE archive right now.
However, there was also a series of moments that didn’t really sit right with me. There was one guy there who kept talking to me and taking pictures with me. He wasn’t stalker-y or anything, just very enthusiastic, but something about our interactions didn’t sit right with me. Especially after I had been objectified by a rando on Twitter earlier that week for wearing a Cesaro shirt, and then was told by friends to take it as a compliment.
Today, I think I figured it out why it was really bothering me.
There’s a girl on Twitter named Susie who’s a huge Roman Reigns fan. Today, she posted an amazing picture of her with Reigns at a Wrestlemania Axxess meet and greet where he was “drinking” from a Smark Tears mug made by Kate Foray. It literally made my day.
(I also own that mug and was drinking from it during the main event of Wrestlemania 32. Mmmm… salty.)
Plenty of people got a laugh, but of course, there are the people it was directed towards who lost their minds. Either over the watermark she put on the photo or calling her a “stalker” from her posts on Twitter and Instagram.
I started following her on Twitter and Instagram and I didn’t see anything “stalker-y” at all. Lots of photos from Axxess with other wrestlers as well as Roman, barricade selfies, photos of her fave Roman in the vein of MCM posts, and selfies of her in wrestling shirts. Basically stuff any young woman does on Instagram now. Hell, I do stuff like that on the regular in regards to Finn. My Twitter and Instagram bios even say “Bulletproof” in them. You can check. I’ll wait.
But when Finn retweeted my dress or I started showing up to NXT shows wearing it, no one ever called me a “stalker” or has said anything about the obscene amount of merch I own of his. In fact, I get PRAISED. Sometimes uncomfortably.
Then it occurs to me: I don’t get those insults because I like someone who is “acceptable.” Because people on the internet have deemed Finn as a favorite, I’m less likely to get the “You only like him because you think he’s attractive” retort than if I was more of a Roman Reigns mark. (Which, hey, I’m one of those too. Surprise!)
Which is fucking bullshit.
There’s something I quote from my favorite writer Kelly Sue Deconnick all the time when people ask her about the whole “women as competition/there can be only one” thing that often gets placed on women in a very public position. She says something along the lines of “No one wants to be the queen of shit mountain.” Which translates out to that no one wants to be the top of something that only exists to tear down.
This is how I’m feeling right now. I don’t want to be regarded as one of the “good” woman fans because some dweebs on the internet find me more acceptable than others because I like Finn Bálor or wear Cesaro shirts to work. It’s that whole “You’re not like those other girls” thing in effect, which is dehumanizing and awful for everyone. I’m not like other girls because other girls are their own persons like I am.
Susie doesn’t need my support judging by how well she’s handling the whole thing on Twitter, but I stand with her and other fans like her. I stand with any other woman fan who gets disregarded for any varying number of reasons. We’re fans just as much as you, putting our money down for merch, shows and sometimes even cosplay. We’re not “stalkers” for posting pics from meet and greets any more than you are. We’re not 2D dolls to imprint your desires to have a girlfriend who likes wrestling as much as you on. We exist, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re certainly not looking for smark approval.