The Problem With Lacey Evans

I’m not a fan of Lacey Evans. I wanted to be, if for no reason other than I appreciate her pin-up couture look. But her character hasn’t connected to me, probably because I was hoping to see more of an alt-pin-up attitude from her, that glamour and strength aren’t mutually exclusive.

That isn’t, however, what we’ve seen. Instead, Lacey has leaned into misogynist stereotypes about women and being a proper housewife. Which of course, she’s a heel, if she’s trying to get a rise out of modern women it seems like a great way to handle it. Of course we’re going to hate that and want to see her get veiled hat shoved where the sun don’t shine. I want to believe that was the intent behind her tweeting out about the proper way to be a housewife, including the statement “6pm. Be a good wife and make him a plate.”

Some of the issue is how utterly tone deaf it is for women at large, given how rooted in white feminism the comments are. Consider also that her two major feuds have been against Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai, both women of color, and how that adds a new read on her statements that they’re not “ladylike.” I know there isn’t a racist intent to what’s being said, but there is a history of women of color being unfairly seen in our society as less refined and less innocent. I’m sure everything was cleared with Kairi and Dakota before it was said but again, from the outside looking in it reads pretty gross. And before you attempt to wisely counter me with your exception that should totally shut me up, I’m aware that she’s been teaming with a WoC, Aaliyah. I am not saying she is playing a racist or is a racist, I am saying her statements she made about previous opponents sound as if they have a racist component.

That’s not even the worst of it, though. The biggest problem is the sheer number of men in Lacey’s Twitter replies genuinely cheering on the ideas that Lacey’s espousing. Sincere declarations of women needing to learn their place, that any women arguing against Evans ‘just can’t cook’ or ‘can’t find a husband’ and of course icons showing that adopted alt-right sigil Pepe the Frog. The issue isn’t that Lacey is playing a heel, it’s that too many people still agree with the thing her heel character stands for and don’t get why they should be considered bad.

It’s nothing new for heels to be cheered. I myself have pointed out when heels have a good point or are technically in the right in a feud. So before anyone tries to helpfully correct me over “but she’s acting like a heel,” let me stop you. I get that. And wrestling needs heels.

But at the same time, there’s always going to be people cheering for the heels. So a heel espousing really awful values in this day and age is a dangerous line to walk. Not because fans don’t know wrestling is scripted, the actual problem is they know it’s not, they know these are characters being portrayed for us, and it’s too easy to read a sly wink of approval into their heel actions.

For example: in March the Briscoes tried to score heel heat by grabbing a pride flag from a fan in the crowd. And yeah, in a vacuum this is totally a heel move, great job. But in reality, there is a high likelihood there were fans who saw that and instead of reading it as “heels are doing this so it’s bad and we frown on it” they’re seeing “highly successful talents who just happen to play bad guys are doing this.” They’re getting a wink and nod of approval from the action. It’s the same as not saying anything if a friend in your group tells a rape joke: statistically in that group there is a rapist or someone who at least approves of rape, and they see the telling of the joke, the laughter that follows and your lack of negative reaction to the scenario as a show of solidarity and support.

Beyond that, it’s not like Lacey Evans is booked as a losing heel. She’s dominated many of her recent matches and had merch released before most of her NXT women contemporaries. If the bad guy is winning then they must be doing something right. And if that winning bad guy’s message is “women belong in the kitchen, women should live for their men, and if you don’t you’re not ladylike and should be punished for it?” It doesn’t look like a negative message, now does it? At least not to the sort of people who are going to cheer in Lacey’s responses, who are going to scream at Dakota Kai when she replies. Yeah, maybe that message will trickle down to young women, but even worse it will hit adult men square in the face. The problem with presenting any positivity in a misogynist character is that misogynists will see it as a positive.

And it will influence them. It will affect how they treat other women and they won’t get that the whole message is meant to be that Lacey is a hypocrite and her actions aren’t to be repeated, not without clear and notable comeuppance for her character. These same guys are the ones who will make shows as uncomfortable as possible for women in the audience while proclaiming themselves supporter of women’s wrestling. It’s very empowering…for gross dudes who already think they’re justified in being rude to women fans or taking creeper shots of them at shows or are owed their attention and awe.

I genuinely hope this just isn’t something Lacey has thought of in regards to her heel character. And in case someone rats me out to her and she reads the article I want her to know that I am not trying to attack her over any of this, I feel like this is something that was done out of ignorance more than an intent to cause harm. And if it helps, I was the one who told the guy in Johnstown this spring shouting rudely during your match to shut up, because a lady shouldn’t have to tolerate someone who’s affections she’s clearly not reciprocating. Also, he was ruining my enjoyment of the match, so.

Obviously I don’t think she believes the things she says, it’s probably hard to have dinner on the table for your man every night when you’ve got NXT shows to be wrestling at in order to make your own money. And I certainly can’t blame her for her booking since I’m totally aware that’s out of her control.

But she is in charge of how she presents herself on Twitter and if too many of the wrong people are supporting her comments in earnest, I want to know how she’s going to pull the rug out from under them, how she’s going to get across to them that these aren’t things they should be cheering. Because the least ladylike thing I can think of is selling out other women by giving more power to the sort of misogynist who still think a woman’s place is in the kitchen, not in wrestling.

15 thoughts on “The Problem With Lacey Evans

  1. Thank you for helping me articulate my problem with this beyond the step of “wrestling needs heels.” I knew something was off about the character/presentation, but hadn’t seen the twitter replies confirming my concerns.

  2. Holy shit, talk about overthinking something that’s supposed to be fun. If the things you talked about here entered my head during a wrestling show, I’d turn it off because it’s no longer entertaining me.

    1. I’m still entertained by wrestling. I’m just also the sort of person who can enjoy something while also critiquing it and thinking critically about it. It can be fun and also be worth taking a deeper look at.

  3. Who are we to judge what you think of your opinion towards the character of Lacy Evans? Your opinion is yours and entitled to it.

    Now I personally really like her character as a heel. Now where I will point out, political correctness aside, which is where I see most of this article aren’t looking at the complete picture. If you notice her character and the attire she normally wears, she doesn’t come out in the modern 2018 look. Her attire falls more in line to the women of the 1950’s-1960’s, which in those days, yes she is perfectly playing the role of the women in those days. To add to it which is where I really like this character..its very different and very fresh compared to most, if not all, of the female wrestlers currently on the roster, which this company desperately needs..fresh characteristics in a very “cookie-cutter” division where the characteristics are pretty close to the same as all the other female wrestlers minus Becky Lynch. Lacy Evans character stands out big time, and unless the WWE really mess up Lacy Evans, can definitely be a character the fans will pay attention to and that’s what this company needs, in a big way.

    1. Wow thank you for explaining her gimmick to me! I NEVER could have understood the complexities of it without your help!

    1. Yes, correct, a feminist wrote an article examining a wrestling character from a feminist perspective. You’re very perceptive!

  4. Girl, Wrestling MUST be unpolitically correct.
    We can’t have LGBT and Feminism the whole day. WWE’s ideas are ALWAYS been clair about women. The Women Revolution is an hypocrisy, if you think to how McMahons really has always seen women in this business – just think to what happened to Cherry, released because she was “TOO FAT”.

    By the way, Lacey is not the only character with that issue.
    Just think to the Bayley-Alexa feud.
    Anyway, the fact is that Lacey is represented as an Heel. People could also agree with basic heels who dominate with force, arrogance and that spend the whole day bullying other people, why Lacey should be diverse? Just because she goes against Feminist values?

    Please, STOP goin’ all moral in books, films…

  5. Blah Blah Blah. Perhaps Lacey Evans supports equality and cannot stand the so called feminist who thinks something as simple as flushing the toilet is demeaning and too damn lazy to cook dinner on occasion for her kids and opts for chips, cokes, and Mc Donalds 3 times a day bitching why her 9 year old boy weight 250 lbs and has type A diabetes and never goes outside opting to play video games. Whiney ass bitch. Lacey Evans has done more to help feminism and worked her ass the fuck off to follow her dream of being a pro wrestler. And btw she is pretty much raising her kid and her child is her sole inspiration. No wonder I have opted to stay single the past 10 years of my life. I cannot stand whiney fuck bitches like yourself who live on social media finding fault with every one else while neglecting to look in the mirror.

    1. You’re the one replying to a months old blog with such witty insight as this but yeah, sure, I’m the only one here with no life.

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