The women of Total Divas, right to left: Brie Bella, Eva Marie, JoJo, Nikki Bella, Ariane, Natalya, and Trinity. From MotorTrend.com
I’ve been a fan of wrestling and the WWE for about 4 years now, ever since I was clicking through channels and stumbled across a Diva’s match with Gail Kim. I don’t remember who else was in the match, but I became entranced. The moves, story lines, characters, and outfits were easy to fall in love with. My Mondays soon became Monday Night Raws and I watched Smackdown! on Fridays when I could.
Every time wrestling came up in conversation I would mention my fondness for the sport, and everyone who didn’t share my enthusiasm asked “You know it’s fake, right?” Yes, I know it’s fake. The moves and story lines are choreographed but that doesn’t make me love wrestling any less. Quite the opposite; along with being amazing athletes, they were also actors and actresses, on and off screen. My awe grew.
When E! News announced their new show “Total Divas,” which is on Sundays at 10/9 central time, I was as excited as Daniel Bryan with his Yes’s (extremely excited, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the wrestler). The first episode came out and you could not move me from my spot in front of the TV for anything. Now, the WWE is extremely private with their wrestlers’ lives and what happens backstage. Watching this show feels like jumping in a lake after a 5-mile run when it’s 90 degrees out, extremely refreshing and it leaves you wanting more.
The fourth episode titled “The ‘Fat’ Twin” aired August 18th and it touched my soul. Body issues were the main theme of the episode; Nikki Bella, who has been called fat on social media sites, was having problems staying true to juicing (when someone does a cleanse and only consumes vegetable juice for a certain amount of time) in order to slim down for an important photo-shoot with her twin, Brie, who had no problem sticking to the diet. Another Diva, Ariane, who goes by Cameron in the ring, spent most of the episode wearing silicone boobs in her clothes because she was contemplating breast implants. All of the Divas are beautiful, spectacular athletes with insane bodies. Watching them struggle with body issues really humanized the WWE industry in a way. The wrestlers seem to be above us mere mortals most of the time and it was refreshing to be reminded that they’re human as well, and they struggle with similar things we do.
Learning about their body issues really hit home with me. My freshman year of college I was obsessed with being healthy to the point where I would consume around 1200 calories a day and work out 4-5 times a week. It wasn’t healthy. I had just moved to a new place where I didn’t know anyone and I had to make a lot of important decisions, not just what pack of crayons I want to get. I’m a junior now, and thankfully, not dealing with those issues. That dark time is long past. I became a lot happier when I decided that I was beautiful no matter my weight. I accepted that my body doesn’t define who I am and when I discovered my passion, Journalism, I became even happier. Although Brie Bella said something in that episode that I had discovered about myself long ago, it reminded me of my past insecurities.
“I look in the mirror and I constantly find my flaws. I’ll lose five pounds and I’ll think I need to lose three more,” said Brie.
Initially, I was shocked that a confident woman with an amazing body had body issues. Then I was more shocked at myself for being shocked. These women are in the spotlight daily, they’re entertainers and the Divas are supposed to have a sexy, athletic look; of course Brie feels pressured to look perfect.
It still shocks me that people have called Nikki “the fat twin”.
If you honestly think she’s fat, you need therapy.
I loved how she defended herself and how she admitted she was hurt by the absurd criticism. Even Brie was pressuring Nikki to lose weight by doing the cleanse and they had a fight when Nikki didn’t stick to the diet. All Brie wanted was for them to look identical; she had no idea how awful she was making Nikki feel.
My inner insecure, don’t-eat-that-too-many-calories-you-need-to-look-thin self was further diminished at the sisters’ conversation when Nikki said she loved her curves and there’s nothing wrong with her body.
“Let me embrace who I am. I love having curves, I do,” said Nikki.
Furthermore, this episode showed that even skinny, athletic girls have body issues and that no matter how thin you are, there’s no guarantee you’ll ever be satisfied with your body.
The episode also followed Ariane.
She put fake silicone boobs in her clothes to see how she would look with big breasts because she was contemplating getting breast implants and it was obvious she loved them, but not everyone agreed. Her tag team partner, Trinity (Naomi in the ring), didn’t like the fake boobs at all. Ariane’s boyfriend liked them well enough, as well as the Bella twins (Fun Fact: Nikki Bella has breast implants).
Sandra, a WWE seamstress was also pro-fake boobies, stating “I’m used to seeing beautiful stuff on T.V. I don’t want to see a little, flat-chested clothes.” Which, rude. Small boobs are also beautiful, Sandra. There’s nothing wrong with small boobs and I was delighted when Ariane chose not to get the operation. She wanted to be a great role model for her young fans.
“I’ve decided that right now is not the time for me to get a boob job because I want to be a role model. By doing something that alters my body I don’t want to send the wrong impression to the fans that I love and care about. This is the way I am and I embrace that. So I want my fans to feel the same exact way,” said Ariane.
I was so proud.
The moves and story lines may be choreographed, but the people playing those characters are extremely real. They don’t have the same exact struggles as non-celebrities, but they have struggles nonetheless, and the rest of world can often relate to them. The Bella twins and Ariane definitely sent the right message to their fans, of embracing who you are and loving yourself. So here’s to WWE and “Total Divas” for humanizing their celebrities and showing a major societal issue in a positive way. Praise.