Girls Just Want To Have Fun: The Problem with Not Letting Women Wrestlers Perform in Saudi Arabia

World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is a universally known wrestling promotion that originated in USA in 1980 it is run by Vincent K. McMahon. During the 1990s and early 2000s, women’s wrestling was seen as inferior when compared to men’s wrestling. Women were also viewed as sex appeal and eye candy rather than professional wrestlers.

In the past few years, WWE has put more importance on women’s matches and in-depth story telling with nothing to do with looks rather dealing with strictly talent, calling it the ‘Women’s Revolution’. There even has been tournaments and Pay-per-view events strictly for women wrestlers. The WWE has also been expanding their brand internationally, trying to push their product in the Middle East, especially Saudi Arabia. This past year. WWE had a large event in Saudi Arabia called the ‘Crown Jewel’, a spectacular event with approximately 16,000 in attendance. The only issue with the event was the lack of women; not a single woman wrestler was promoted throughout the event there was not even a female commentator of colour.

Crown Jewel 2018 logo. Event was held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (Source: WWE.com)

The lack of women wrestlers at the event comes from Saudi Arabia’s strict rules for women in their society. Women are still deemed as unequal to men and are decades behind in gender equality. London 2012 marked Saudi women’s first time in the Olympics, in which all participating nations sent women to compete. Although women’s participation in the Olympics is a huge step for Saudi Arabian women and the country itself, there is still a large portion of people in Saudi Arabian culture who believe that women should not be in sport.

With this perspective of societal ideals in Saudi Arabian culture, I question WWE’s morals as they succumb to monetary gain while not being phased by Saudi Arabia’s gender inequality. In my opinion, following the status quo of societal norms has a negative effect on empowerment in the industry of women’s wrestling. Specifically, you are taking away from the women who have pushed the limit in the industry.

tgrace

Featured Image: Women wrestlers celebrating ‘Women’s Revolution’ (Source: WWE.com)

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