On July 23, WWE set plans for its first-ever all-female-wrestler pay-per-view event. Six days later, TheWrap sat down with “GLOW” co-creators Carly Mensch and Liz Flahive and star Betty Gilpin to talk about the state of women’s wrestling, including that announcement from the major league of sports entertainment.
The trio took off and ran with our question; below is how that portion of the conversation from the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour went.
Did you hear the WWE set the first all-female wrestler pay-per-view? What do you think of that? And were you guys fans of female wrestling before the show and are you now and what effect — if any — do you think “GLOW” has had on the popularity of female wrestling now?
Carly Mensch: I think the original GLOW kind of stepped in a lot of these conversations about, you know, the first ever show about women’s wrestling on TV. And yet there were a lot of women who had been on the circuit, you know the Fabulous Moolah. There’s just a lot of women. But, you know, I think that line between real wrestlers and GLOW — I don’t know, I think it’s funny, the original GLOW girls finally got recognized and are finally getting their due because of our “GLOW.”
I will say, I probably would not have made this show if it was about male wrestling, but we knew nothing about wrestling. And I think, in fact, female wrestling made us uncomfortable. The original GLOW and just the idea of women being mostly naked, performing for men, that doesn’t go down easy for us. And I think that discomfort is part of the reason we made the show. And a discomfort I think we still feel when we see wrestling.
Liz Flahive: And we’re interested in exploring [that]. I think this show — as much as it feels great to make it, I think the community of women in front of and behind the camera, it’s an extraordinary thing that should be noticed and celebrated — but I think it’s not just a rah-rah empowerment message. We’re talking about women in ’85, we’re talking about wrestlers. Wrestling is a very complicated American past time. But that also gives us the ability to tell complicated stories in and outside the ring.
CM: Like do we want more women on the air wrestling? Yes. Do we want them wresting in lingerie on beds? No.
LF: Do we get to make that decision? No, we’re not part of the WWE… But I think it’s really wild when you look at how long wrestling has been around, and I didn’t even know that was the first all-female pay-per-view.
Carly: It’s really cool Stephanie [McMahon] is the face of it.
Betty Gilpin: I think the male gaze is going to take a long time to die. And men could see two women in snowsuits farting and picture them wrestling in lingerie. And that’s not for us to change. I think the more images of empowerment and three dimensional, layered female stories we can put out there for those men to watch and to help them understand that, you know, our job is not to either carry a laundry basket or a dildo — but that we have lives and problems and peaks and valleys just like they do.
WWE’s all-women PPV, “Evolution,” is set to take place on Oct. 28, 2018 at Uniondale, New York’s Nassau Coliseum. The pro-wrestling promotion airs its next big event, SummerSlam, this Sunday starting at 7/6c on WWE Network.