The presentation of women in wrestling is at an absolute all time low, according to screenwriter Max Landis. In an interview with new project The World According To Wrestling, the creator of Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling and writer of Chronicle, American Ultra and Victor Frankenstein also said that reality show Total Divas is as reductive to women’s role in the company as bra and panties matches.
Landis also talked about whether there should be gay characters, glass ceilings, racism, and how wrestling is going to get really weird.
Below are some highlights.
On the presentation of women in wrestling:
“Even with the Divas revolution, they still seem so separate from the rest of the show. I despise that it’s called the “Divas” division. And you know what’s funny, and I really believe, for how successful Total Divas is, I think it is almost as reductive to their role in the company as a bra and panties match. It’s like an emotional bra and panties match.
All the Divas are presented as backstabbing, crazy, unpredictable women and they’re not really allowed to have character. They bring in Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair – three really different characters – and they put them all in little groups and then the groups fight each other. You would never see this with the men. The men are spread out and used differently. As good as it is that there’s this divas revolution, ultimately it’s reductive because it makes them just seem that they’re part of a big crowd of divas. And they have their own little space on the show. When was the last time – other than AJ Lee – that a diva had a meaningful role in one of the main storylines?”
On Greg Valentine’s recent comments:
“I think it’s just an old man being sexist. What’s damaging to women’s wrestling is six-woman matches with no storylines. What’s damaging to women’s wrestling is the characters not being allowed to stand on their own. What’s damaging to women’s wrestling is Stephanie McMahon being presented as the reason there are good female wrestlers on the show, rather than them entering on their own. That’s damaging to women’s wrestling. Some old coot on a podcast saying women should be in the kitchen – who cares?”
On a glass ceiling for Black wrestlers:
“I think there is just a glass ceiling for wrestlers. If I’m being serious, I think the glass ceiling for Black wrestlers is real. 100%. But that show – WWE – is written so haphazardly it seems that when you look at the Black wrestlers who make it, they have a ton of charisma, they are good in the ring, they’re fun to watch, and people make excuses but – at the end of the day – the most successful wrestler of all time is a person of colour: The Rock. He’s half Samoan and half Black. He’s an extra minority. I think there is an element of racism, undeniably, but I also don’t see anyone on the roster right now who I believe as world champion who is a person of colour. That’s not true, I think Uhaa Nation who just joined NXT could be a Black WWE World Champion but, you know, maybe Big E?”
On gay characters in wrestling:
“I have a controversial view on gay characters in wrestling because I don’t think we need them any more than we really beat-to-beat need straight characters in wrestling.
For all we know, Heath Slater is gay. I really feel like that it’s such a Saturday morning cartoon in most meaningful of ways, that if Darren Young came to the ring and the announcers were like “And Darren Young is gay”. I’d be like “What the fuck are you talking about?!” It’s the fallacy of being gay is what it really is and for all we know John McClane is gay in Die Hard. He never kisses a woman on screen. He split up with his wife…maybe because he’s gay! Have you ever thought about that? I have plenty of friends who I would never know they were gay unless they told me. Do I think we need a Rico? A lisping gay effeminate character? I think NO! It’d be weird! If the wrestler portraying that character is actually like that, it might be fine but think about strange that would be. People online always talk about the need for a serious gay wrestler. Why?!”
Tags: Greg Valentine, Max Landis, WWE Divas