Let’s talk about anger.
On Sunday night at Summerslam we saw Becky Lynch finally give in to hers. After an incredible match between herself, Charlotte and Carmella (who did the best work of her career), Becky snapped. Charlotte pinned her to win the Smackdown Women’s Title in a match Becky was supposed to have to herself before Charlotte inserted herself into it. After the match, Becky embraced her tea-sipping BFF.
And then hit her across the face, drove her from the ring and threw her into the announce table, yelling “this is my title!”
Anger is difficult. I don’t just mean as a feeling, I mean as it’s viewed from outside and as women are allowed to experience it. There was a relief in me when Brooklyn cheered for Becky’s outburst and rage. She’s supposed to be the villain in the storyline, but there was something so cathartic in her attacking Flair. Especially when you’ve reached that breaking point, seen someone take something like that when you feel they absolutely don’t deserve it or that they’ve stepped on someone else to get. I can’t say we’ve all been there, but I bet a majority of us have.
And of course there’s the helpful suggestions that women being angry is somehow a flaw in us. We’re “shrill” or “sensitive.” More recently we’re “triggered.” Expressing our anger, disgust, or disdain for something ends up getting us scolded. It gets attributed these days to “how dare you care” but let’s face it, for women the backlash on our anger has exist for far longer than since the supposed rise of the new apathy. The “angry feminist” stereotype has been around forever, as if there shouldn’t be an emotional reaction to millennia of social and political oppression that we are still fighting today. The anger of Kate in Taming of the Shrew has to be repurposed to oppress other women before it’s considered “safe,” and in order to make her that “good wife” she has to be repeatedly abused. Angry women in folklore and literature have classically been the monsters and villains, teaching good girls to reign in their feelings or else they’ll end up like the bad woman in the story.
Am I getting academic here? Sorry. Let’s try this instead.
My anger since I was a teenager has been set off by people who are given things despite not earning them and/or being fake. I’ve known plenty of these people, at least one of them was a high school nemesis. Worse were the ones who I thought were my friends. My anger is so easily triggered by a grander question: why do people who are bad, who are fake, who are plastic, why do they get so many good things? When do they get their comeuppance? In wrestling I see it every now and then, though it’s very rare these days, look at Alexa Bliss’s myriad of title reigns.
Stories also used to teach that if you were good, for varying definitions of what “good” is, but essentially if you treated people right and tried to live by a code of respecting people, you’d get good things. Or at the very least, people who did bad would be punished. But if there’s anything adulthood has taught me it’s the opposite is the truth. The more you hurt and lie and cheat and hate, the better you do, and good is for suckers who haven’t learned how to work the system yet.
“Evil will win because good is stupid” was supposed to be a joke from Spaceballs, not how the universe really works.
My point is this: I have a lot of anger in me and a lot of it, unshockingly, is aimed at the result of the Raw Women’s Title Match at Summerslam.
I said once before that the moment the Women’s Title went around Ronda Rousey’s waist, it proved that any idea of a Women’s Revolution in WWE was over and had always just been a big joke. I double down on this now because for the Revolution to continue it needs the women leading the charge to lift each other up and support each other, even if they don’t particularly like one another. And when you’ve made a career out of hurting, insulting or ignoring other women unless they can forward your career the way Rousey has, well, I won’t react well to your coronation.
And I didn’t. I actually unleashed a whole lot of vulgarity on Twitter. I have anger issues. I’ve been told this by at least one therapist. And the reaction I got was people accusing me of, you guessed it, being triggered, being a snowflake, telling me I shouldn’t lash out with my anger. I didn’t check to see how many of these people had their own negative reactions to Roman Reigns leaving Summerslam the WWE Universal Champion, but I’m sure if they were scolding me over my feelings on a performer they surely wouldn’t turn around and do the exact same thing in the very next match when someone they dislike (but who has a reputation as being very well-mannered and humble and liked backstage by pretty much everyone and, really important here, never shared and defended content essentially from Info Wars) walk away with the title that they don’t feel he deserves.
Because in that case it’s either “you’re not allowed to be angry when someone I like wins” or “the women’s titles are still so much less than the Universal Title or WWE Title that it shouldn’t matter who holds them and what they stand for” or “women still aren’t allowed to be angry.” And depending which reason given, you’re either a jerk or you’re a sexist jerk. Either way, I don’t want to hear your opinion.
I actually don’t want to hear a lot of opinions right now. I want to just be angry. I’m creating an echo chamber, which I’m sure is against Robert’s Rules of Twitter or something but I don’t exist to debate with people. I don’t exist to educate them or put up with their claims I’m wrong or petty or I don’t matter because I’m heavy or one lovely instance where the implication was I’m upset about transphobia because, if you zoom in on my user pic, you can clearly see I’m a man. So I locked my Twitter for the time being. Maybe this means the people wanting me to shut up win?
Only I just wrote an entire column on my right to be angry about something, even something as silly as wrestling. Oh, and it won’t be my last, either. It might be the last one to mention the Raw Women’s Title for awhile, but I promise with the MYC 2018 starting up soon there will still be content coming your way. And yes, I will be writing about Evolution. No matter what.
Actually, if the planned main event of Rousey versus Nikki Bella goes through that makes things very simple, because I can just entirely ignore the match.
There is, of course, a downside: anger is hard to sustain. I know it doesn’t always work out that well for me, and I doubt it will do much good for Becky Lynch. It fueled Kairi Sane to a championship, but it cost Johnny Gargano everything. Mostly I just feel tired.
And then I’m angry that I’m tired. It never ends.
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