As we know, some of the most beloved storylines and angles in wrestling come from one of the most exciting, yet destructive times for women in wrestling.
The Attitude and Ruthless Aggression Eras played on the pop cultural patterns of the time, (circa the 90s America Pie and Cruel Intentions decade) when straight males believed that even straight women had the desire to at least once hook up with their fellow female pals and to turn on their boyfriends in the process.
These women being attracted to each other had nothing to do with their own expression of sexuality, but it was always done to appease the man in their lives.
Of course, the wrestling world wanted to cash in on this, and one of the first accounts of this was in ECW.
ECW was known to push the boundaries, and this was none more evident than in the storyline between Tommy Dreamer, Beulah Mcgillicutty, and Kimona Wanalaya.
Tension was starting to build between Raven and his then girlfriend Beulah. She left him for his archenemy Tommy Dreamer. Soon after this pairing, Beulah started to get a bit distant, and Tommy started to suspect that something was wrong. It was later revealed that Beulah wasn’t fooling around with another guy, but she was seeing Raven’s new main squeeze, Kimona Wanalaya. Tommy didn’t sweat it, instead, him, Beulah and Kimona engaged in a triple kiss in the ring and got a thunderous applause from the crowd.
Instead of taking a moment to possibly build an angle that could’ve shown both Beulah and Kimona gaining a connection because of their experience being under the thumb of Raven and how they wanted to control their own lives including their spousal relationships, they had a storyline that only showcased them catering to Tommy’s sexual desires and how he was collecting girlfriends.
Cut to a few years later in WWE, during the Ruthless Aggression Era, HLA or Hot Lesbian Action was introduced by Eric Bischoff. Stephanie McMahon and Eric Bischoff were at each other’s throats to prove that their Smackdown and Raw brands had the best roster.
Things got ugly and there were no rules to their war. After taking many options to attack each other, Eric Bischoff decided that the best way to humiliate Stephanie, if her Smackdown roster lost most of their matches in the shared brand PPV, was for her to make out with two random lesbian women that he hired for the night.
The men in the audience were on the edge of their seats. The women…just really didn’t care. The segment was awkward and cringeworthy. The women involved were literally introduced as ‘The Lesbians’ and were there to seduce Stephanie, who legit looked uncomfortable.
Being a lesbian was just being showcased as something taboo that you use to get the guys off in the crowd and apparently to embarrass straight women. We haven’t seen much of a change even in this generation. There’s still this feeling in WWE, that lesbian angles are merely there as a comedic storyline or to treat a tough female wrestler like she, of course, would like women, because she’s not their version of feminine.
As we look at many wrestlers and personalities in the wrestling industry, that are a part of the LGBTQ community, fans should continue to demand proper representation and make it clear that these angles are to the detriment of the progress that they have made, and it can’t continue.