You never know what you’re going to get from a wrestling news day. Sometimes the news is sad and hard, sometimes it’s great and positive, and some days it’s so absurd, you’re not even sure it’s real. Veteran wrestling manager and territory legend Jim Cornette has a wealth of knowledge and more experience than most when it comes to working in wrestling at every level. That said, Jim Cornette doesn’t have a f*cking clue when it comes to women.
On a recent episode of The Jim Cornette Experience, Cornette appears to have it all figured out when it comes to attracting more women to wrestling shows. Good wrestling? Positive representation? Cultivating an atmosphere that treats female fans and performers as equals, thereby creating a safe space for women to comfortably enjoy wrestling free of harassment and debasement? Oh gosh, no. They just need to get laid more.
Once you’ve taken a moment to let that sink in, check out this top-notch analysis:
Women came because then they got turned on by [wrestlers] beating the shit out of each other. Then they knew where the hotel was, or either in the back parking lot, or car, or in a broom closet in the arena, or at the hotel, these same hot young guys, who were scantily dressed, would f*ck the dogshit out of these women and they would tell their friends, and more women would come next week and it fed on itself.
There are… a lot of problems with what Cornette is saying. Namely… well, everything. You have to wonder just how disconnected he is from things if he thinks that a) women no longer attend wrestling shows, and b) wrestlers aren’t having (or trying very hard to have) sex with fans.
Cornette goes on to describe women who go to wrestling shows as units to be serviced. Not… fans. Not people who could possibly enjoy pro wrestling on its own merits. Not people who pay the same ticket price as their male counterparts, and hand over $20 bills at the merch table like anyone else.
Again, sometimes things are so absurd, you can’t even believe that they’re real.
Unfortunately, this attitude is very real. Perhaps if Jim Cornette spent a little more time viewing women as people, and an integral part of the wrestling fanbase, he would learn a few things. He would see that a lot of women who want to enjoy wrestling as fans are driven away from shows because they see the toxic comments and attitudes online, much like this one, and simply don’t have the patience to sit in an audience full of men who will harass female performers, or wrestlers who think high comedy is instigating a chant of ‘RAPE!’. Maybe they would like to enjoy a thing without someone assuming they’re there to get laid and giving them the hard sell on going back to their hotel room, or a car, or a very dignified and romantic sexy tussle in a broom closet. If he went to a WWE show, he would see that Divas merchandise is selling out faster than almost anything else, and selling to people of every age and gender.
The more the push comes for women to be treated fairly and equally, the more people who don’t want wrestling to ever change spew their outdated and downright repulsive notions of what wrestling should be. For every successful intergender match, you have well-respected men in the industry clutching at their man-pearls over the very idea of a man selling for a woman (Hi, Jim Ross!). For every woman who goes to a wrestling show with the goal of enjoying wrestlers she loves doing the thing they do best, you have any number of wrestlers who assume that they’re ‘rats,’ and any number of fans who assume they’re only there because they came with a male friend/boyfriend. The great thing is that there’s also an ever-growing amount of people on either side of the railing who simply don’t give a f*ck as to why you’re there, as long as you show up.
It’s very easy to say listen, Danielle, Jim Cornette is like an overripe banana — old, past his prime, and only useful in a very limited capacity. Just ignore him. But we can’t. We can no longer afford to dismiss or ignore attitudes like this. While you personally may not pay any mind to the man who saw no merit in ECW and hates the Young Bucks, there are a great many who do. The wrestling business is still very much wrapped up in the idea that you should respect those who came before you without question, but that’s not respect. Respect is earned through words and actions, not just being around forever. Right now, Jim Cornette simply does not deserve that respect.
Wrestling is changing, and people who cling to these outdated notions not only hold it back, but justify the opinions of those people who are just looking for someone in the wrestling business to back up their own personal misogyny. When you continually refer to women as ‘rats,’ you step backwards. When you reduce them to mindless sexual receptacles, you step backwards. When you give performers and fans vindication in treating women as anything less than they would treat a fellow male performer or fan, you step backwards.
Sorry, Jim. We’re not going backwards anymore. Women are dragging wrestling into the 21st century, and we’re more than happy to leave you behind.