There are many, many solid objections to be levelled at Impact Wrestling’s egregiously offensive “Thong Thunder” lingerie match from last week.
There’s the fact that the Knockouts division chain of command seems to be just as convoluted and nonsensical as WWE Raw’s – Karen Jarrett reigns supreme, and holds power of hiring and firing, even though Sting and Dixie are nominally in charge; that’s why the women all stood around looking disgruntled but didn’t bother taking their grievance to a higher management level.
There’s the fact that, however you try to play it, a group of women running and rolling around in their underwear is soft porn. For a division which emphasises the ability of their female talent, to reduce their role on the show to this is embarrassing and undignified for everybody involved. Including the viewers. (Hey, TNA! Guess what! Women and gays watch wrestling too! Let’s face it, wrestling has a distinct homoerotic undertone, no matter how much you may want to disguise it! Are you going to get the X Division working in their scanties? No, I thought not.)
Karen Jarrett pointed out that the Knockouts were mostly more covered up in their lingerie than they are in their regular ring gear, and berated them to “show more skin” next week. I’m sure the lack of exposed flesh will be used as a defence by those who see nothing wrong with lingerie matches as a rule. However, it’s the principle of the thing. Lingerie is equated with sex; dressing your female talent in lingerie encourages them to be objectified and viewed as sex objects.
That’s not to say that wrestling fans should not find wrestlers attractive; I feel fairly sure that’s inevitable. However, when you’re being encouraged by the company itself to see an individual firstly as a sexual object, and then as a wrestler, you are on a slippery slope; a slope that ends with your champion being Kelly Kelly and the catchy little motto “Wrestling Matters” being a total mockery.
At the end of the day, it’s 2011. We shouldn’t be seeing this kind of hideously offensive sexist bullshit on primetime international television. Impact Wrestling should know better.