Mick Foley Thinks It’s About Time We Stopped Slut-Shaming For Good

01.27.15 3 years ago 108 Comments

Mick Foley has long been a powerful and vocal ally in combating rape culture and the damaging stigmas it perpetuates. Now he’s taking a stand alongside The UnSlut Project, and looking for your help.

The UnSlut Project promotes gender equality, sex positivity, and comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education for all ages. This is a collaborative space for sharing stories and creating awareness about sexual bullying, slut shaming, and related issues. It is up to each of us to evaluate and take responsibility for our own assumptions and interactions with others. Join us in spreading the word and changing our world.

Since The UnSlut Project started in April 2013, it has expanded to include the stories of girls, women, and men of many ages, backgrounds, and nationalities. These shared stories not only provide hope to girls who are suffering – they demonstrate to us all just how widespread the issues of sexual bullying and slut shaming really are.

While Mick Foley may be incorrect when he says these conversations aren’t happening in wrestling (sometimes I feel like this is the only conversation I ever really have), he’s right in that it is not happening on a greater level. It’s important to remember that when you’re watching wrestling, be it as escapism, habit, or even your greatest passion in life, what you see played out is never “just wrestling.”

When women are sexually degraded on screen, or put into positions where their power is removed, it normalizes that behaviour and opens the door for the audience to take what they see on screen and excuse it in their daily lives. I’ve been in countless wrestling audiences where men have shouted that female competitors are sluts, and often much worse. It’s important to remember that this simple act is not edgy or cool, or acceptable on any level because of the venue, but rather born of a much more malicious history of policing and controlling women via their sexuality.

“Slut” is a word used to control and demean women, and impose a dangerous standard of propriety that was never agreed to by women themselves. Women don’t have the luxury of living in a world that is accepting, equal, or even safe for them. Shaming women in an effort to insult them has incredibly serious implications, including/but not limited to victim-blaming, fear of reporting sexual assault, and suicide.

Taking a second to step out of your current mindset of saying that a wrestler is dressed like a slut, or that saying she deserves to be humiliated for her attire or gender means that you are taking pause to consider the ripple effects of your words and actions, and how they can affect others. Wrestling, most notably during the Attitude Era (a thing most promotions refuse to ever let go of all these years later), has taught fans for years that this is the norm, and it should b accepted because that’s how it’s always been.

Whether you contribute to the project or not (you really should), it’s time to make a change, and take a stand for all of the women who devote their lives, their passions, and their wallets to supporting something that actively hurts and insults them. Question yourself. Question what is being put in front of you. Don’t be accepting of others when their toxic attitudes and actions interfere with your enjoyment of something that is “just wrestling.” Remember that the blanket excuse of”if they didn’t want to do it they wouldn’t” is in no way a factual statement. Demand that we as a wrestling community be better.

Mick Foley believes that these conversations are important. It’s time to make them a whole lot louder.

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