Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Corporate Homophobia and Wrestling

When it comes to wrestling and homophobia, corporations and online entities are some of the biggest and most prolific offenders.

For instance, over the years I've heard countless stories of wrestlers having their member profiles yanked from AOL and other service providers because pictures of themselves in wrestling gear were deemed "inappropriate." I even experienced that myself one time. On January 9, 2007, I received an email from AOL stating "Profile contains see-through/tight-fitting clothing that clearly outlines or displays male genitalia." My garb of choice—a standard wrestling singlet you can buy at a store.

In the Summer of 2006, Ebay, the largest online auction site, implemented a new policy stating that all amateur-made, non-syndicated TV wrestling videos (i.e., everything but WWE and UFC) must be listed in the mature audiences section along with porn—even if they contained no sexual content whatsoever—because, as they stated, they are "designed to arouse." However, a year after this policy was implemented, I could still find hundreds of titillating female catfight wrestling videos being sold to the general audiences. Apparently two women wrestling in lingerie with breasts hanging half out is not considered as arousing as guys grappling in a homemade jiu-jitsu video. Well, I'd have to agree with that one. Grrrrr.

Recently I had an interesting experience with upstart ad service provider. We had chosen them to supply ads for two of our wrestling websites. Although they approved our sites months before, we later received an email from one of their account managers stating that one of our sites contained erotic images of "male strangulation." I described to him by email and phone that what he was seeing was the common sleeperhold, used for centuries in wrestling, and is one of the most common finishing holds on UFC fights. However, he was not going to have it—it was too "violent."

This set me abuzz of course, because now I could document yet another one of those corporate offenders who allow their personal homophobia toward wrestling to get in the way of business. And so I set up the camera, started the recorder, and captured his bullying techniques, and lies. In that four-minute phone conversation, he accused one of their vertical ad providers of being the ones who had complained about the site. But an email from the Network Director of that ad provider refuted the accusation. "I can assure you that we do not have a problem with wrestling sites and, if we had suitable campaigns come live, then we would offer them to you. It sounds to me like a bit of buck passing."

Certainly wrestling toes the line of homoeroticism by its close physical nature; I would be the last person to deny that. Not only do I not deny it, we've constantly had fun with it on our site for over a decade now.

But when corporations send a message to men, over and over again, that they should be ashamed of wrestling, of being in tight-fitting clothing, or even sporting a bulge (it's kinda hard not to, we're men), then we all lose. This vicious cycle of homophobia designed to keep men in line does the exact opposite, it holds all men back from exploring who we are. And, of course, the best way to do that is through wrestling.
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Have you had your profile removed or been bullied by an online entity for a picture that was of you in gear? Send us the picture and your story of what happened to be included in the STRONGHOLD wrestling documentary. Email wrestlervic@aol.com

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Roosevelt Rassled

Check out this great chapter from President Theodore Roosevelt's Autobiography talking about how he wrestled and boxed.

"When obliged to live in cities, I for a long time found that boxing and wrestling enabled me to get a good deal of exercise in condensed and attractive form. I was reluctantly obliged to abandon both as I grew older. I dropped the wrestling earliest. When I became Governor, the champion middleweight wrestler of America happened to be in Albany, and I got him to come round three or four afternoons a week. Incidentally I may mention that his presence caused me a difficulty with the Comptroller, who refused to audit a bill I put in for a wrestling-mat, explaining that I could have a billiard-table, billiards being recognized as a proper Gubernatorial amusement, but that a wrestling-mat symbolized something unusual and unheard of and could not be permitted. "

Read Full Chapter:
http://ejmas.com/jmanly/articles/2002/jmanlyart_roosevelt_0102.htm

Monday, October 01, 2007

Available without a Prescription