Wednesday, February 19, 2014

When you gonna make up your mind

Being a wrestling fan isn't easy. You've got folks on your ass about liking a "fake" sport and all the homoerotic bits.

Add on being a female wrestling fan and things are even more sucky. You're told you're only into wrestling for the hot guys and don't know shit about anything when it comes to wrestling.

Trust me, I wasn't in it for the hot guys. Back when my grandfather and dad got me into wrestling, wrestlers looked like this:

Oh, baby, take me, I'm yours.

I go in and out of my interest in wrestling but I have a massive soft spot for it. 

It's why I lost my mind when I found out Mick Foley was doing a speaking show in my city. Mick has always been one of my favourites. Back in the late 90s, Mankind scared the hell out of me so, of course, I loved watching to see what other scary things he'd do. 

After reading Mick's first book Have A Nice Day I really thought he was brilliant. It was nice to see him succeed despite being told repeatedly that he'd never do so because he didn't look "the part". Since being a wrestling fan usually means you're put down a lot about it, I (and many other fans) could relate to his struggles. I also really loved that he is a feminist. Considering that pro wrestling isn't exactly known for its pro-women stance (amongst the wrestlers or with fans), having a wrestler tell his audience that maybe a woman should get a chance to ask a question (which Mick did at the WWE panel when I was at SDCC) is a pretty big deal. 

And he's just a nice guy really. At the WWE signing at Comic Con, my sister was heartbroken that she'd have to choose being going to a panel for her favourite TV show or going to a Mick signing that I decided to go get her autograph. I ran up to Mick during the signing and handed him a note book turned to a page with "Hi Kerri" written on it in a word bubble. I quickly told him that my sister loved him but couldn't make it to the signing but would he be so kind to take a picture for me holding the sign so I could give it to her.

His body guard was about to push me off but Mick said, "No, no, it's ok! Do you have a camera?" 

My sister nearly wet her pants

My sister was excited to meet Mick this evening to get him to sign the Comic Con picture. I was excited to shake his hand and tell him I really appreciated all the good work he does for organizations like RAINN in the US and for victims of war rape in Sierra Leone. As we got on stage at the Park Theatre and got our chance to talk to Mick, he smiled brightly at me and commented on my Cyndi Lauper shirt that reads "GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN" saying it was cute. I shook his hand and he asked how I spelled my name. As I shook his hand again and he handed me my autograph, I told him that I really appreciated all the work he does for women who have gone through such tragedy and I wish more men were like him. He smiled and thanked me.

I didn't tell him but I am a survivor of sexual assault. The first thing you want to do about it is hide the fact that it ever happened. It's so hard to talk about it and so many people want to ignore that it even happens. 1 in 3 women are survivors of sexual violence. Every time I tell my story to a friend, they more often than not tell me they went through something similar. For a long time I felt that every man that I ran into would hurt me and that I always had to be on my guard. When you are growing up, the incentive is on you to protect yourself because "guys can't control themselves". What does this say about men? Women have to take the procautions because men can't control themselves? This thought process hurts both men and women. Men are mindless animals while women only have themselves to blame if they're raped. I think it's important that men and boys are involved in the prevention of sexual assaults.

As Mick himself has said, he's "hopeful that if he can spread the message that 'this thing that you think of as a drunken exploit that you might brag to your friends about is shattering a life and the lives of people around [the survivor],' then maybe men will listen. 'Everyone knows a survivor, whether you [are aware of it] or not, and I'm hoping that others, both unlikely figures and likely figures, will join the cause.'" (Source)

"It doesn’t seem like a pro-wrestler would be able to lend much when it comes to a campaign against sexual violence, but for some reason I kept telling myself that it made perfect sense."

Maybe some dudes in the wrestling fandom will see Mick's tweets about RAINN and get interested. Maybe they won't. However it's nice knowing that there are men like Mick supporting the cause. I really wish there were more guys like him. Knowing that there are makes me less afraid that I'm going to be hurt in those moments where I don't have my guard up. 

Plus his book made me discover the awesomeness that is "Winter" by Tori Amos. 


I'll start the chant: Thank you, Mick.

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