John Cena remarked last night that “Real men wear pink” to CM Punk during their verbal tête-à-tête to end RAW this week after Punk made note that Cena’s garb was of that color. Sure, by the exact words Punk said he wasn’t deriding Cena, but at the same time, the tone of voice told the story.
[adinserter block=”2″]Punk was trying to put Cena down. Let’s forget the fact that one of the best wrestlers in WWE history wore pink. Let’s also forget that Punk himself has worn pink on many an occasion (a little internal consistency would be nice here, WWE writers). Pink is not masculine or feminine. It’s a color.
It’s bad enough that WWE’s partnership with Susan G. Komen has pretty much co-opted the color for Cena himself so that the company can feel good about itself during this election season. Yes, breast cancer is an awful illness, but let’s face it. WWE’s treatment of women in character make this gesture hollow from get-go one. They don’t care about women, they just care about generating goodwill at whatever cost, which is why they partnered with Komen, an organization that has proven to be more in it for the attention rather than actually finding a cure.
Forget the politicized news about their dealings with Planned Parenthood and other right-wing organizations (although it is curious they would say they’re for women’s health but cut off funding to an organization that actually helps women stay healthy).
The way they raise money ensures that only high-profile partners like WWE or the NFL will ever be associated with them. The entry donations are usually astronomical and only attainable through MASSIVE organized events or through corporate sponsors. Basically, if you only have a few dollars, you can’t even begin to donate to Komen. That doesn’t sound like they’re interested in really helping if that’s the case.
Now that Cena’s gear and merch is pink, no one else can seemingly wear the color, including wrestlers like Punk, Tyson Kidd and Damien Sandow. That seems to be a pedantic complaint, but it’s worth noting that the co-opting of the color has changed a lot of habits for existing WWE Superstars. It almost seems like Cena is big-timing everyone. But again, that’s a minor complaint.
The main complaint is that pink is somehow supposed to be feminine anyway. That idea stems back to this meat head notion that if you wear pink and you’re a man, then you’re gay. To most sane people, being gay really is not a big deal, but then again, looking at the origin of that connotation, it’s no wonder why no one who associates with that crowd would want to wear pink or why it would be a pejorative color to place on a manly straight man’s person. WWE sadly is stuck in that culture given the evidence that has been on the screen for almost the entirety of their existence.
The truth is that even if pink were “gay”, nothing would be wrong with that. The fact that I have to write that out is sad, especially given the responses people will give in reflexive defense of WWE perpetuating that kind of culture. Of course, they have a right to say it, but at the same time, I have a right not to take it as kosher.
[adinserter block=”1″]Honestly, most people who might want to get into wrestling in this day and age probably don’t want to even try with it because of WWE’s latent homophobia and misogyny. Why support a company that is only going to make them as fans feel like crap for watching? It’s not a matter of censorship; it’s a matter of trying to cast as wide a net for fans as possible.
The truth is, colors are colors. Men have been looking good in pink forever, and WWE doesn’t need John Cena to have to stand up and shout that “REAL MEN WEAR PINK” for it to be validated. To me, that rings as hollow as the reason why Cena is wearing pink in the first place.
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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