By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Looking at wrestling through gay-colored glasses, Vadim chooses to see a mass of glistening, sweaty, throbbing mounds of homo-licious beefcake in neon spandex, a piping-hot meaty fantasy delivered straight to his living room, compliments of the WWF. Millions of the rest of us see only our mindless, escapist Monday-night entertainment.
And if I may, allow me to defend the honor of the late Ravishing Rick Rude, whom Vadim singles out as wrestling's chief example of homoerotic exploitation: Not so fast, pal. Any rasslin' fan who knows his sports entertainment knows that the hip-swiveling, kiss-stealing Rude was the greatest ladies' man in the history of the ring.
The Ravishing One must be spinning in his grave.
Grappling with Glam
Regarding the article "Grappling With Homosexuality" by Vadim: Playing fast and loose with homophobic stereotypes is hardly a new development in the world of pro wrestling. Characters like Goldust and the since departed Lenny & Lodi (where were you guys when they still had jobs?) owe a tremendous creative debt to England's Exotic Adrian Street, a would-be glam rocker/cross-dresser who enraged audiences throughout the southern U.S. during the '70s and '80s.
Evette Porter's article "Tumbling Down" [April 25], about the female athlete triad (eating disorders, amenorrhea, and osteoporosis), was a much needed addition to coverage about how the bodies of female athletes have become commodities in a culture that scrutinizes and objectifies the female form.
With eating disorders reaching epidemic proportions, the female athlete is certainly not exempt from society's obsession with thinness. In fact, she is at an even greater risk for these devastating disorders. The increasing pressure on female athletes to "fit" a certain body "ideal" for their respective sports adds pressure to the strains of training and competing.
The female athlete triad is a women's health crisis that needs to be recognized and understood, not just by the athletes at risk but also by coaches, athletic departments, and personal trainers.
Many women are stunting their growth both physically and emotionally. They are endangering their lives and their health in attempts to excel in the competitive world of sports. Athletes need to be healthy and strong to be at their best, and the myth that a low weight is essential to good performance is a dangerous message for athletes of any age or gender.
American Anorexia Bulimia Association
Help Me, Rhonda
Rhonda Lieberman, in her review of Chris Kraus's new book, Aliens & Anorexia, entirely misses Kraus's point, or perhaps she proves it ["Film Fatale," April 25]. Aliens & Anorexia is about ethics. It asks us to consider what we should care about, who we should care about (starving girls? failures?), and whose experiences count as appropriate points of departure for exploring the larger questions of ethics that have occupied a mostly male pantheon of philosophers.
Aliens and Anorexia works, as did Kraus's first book, I Love Dick, by tempting the reader to reject the ethical importance or emotional seriousness of various people and situations. Lieberman apparently succumbed to this temptation and has yet to recover.
For those of us who do recover, the beauty, compassion, and intelligence of Aliens and Anorexia ring loud and clear.
San Francisco, California
Tristan Taormino is exactly right when she addresses the need for true diversity within the queer movement ["Pucker Up," May 16]. I too was in Washington, D.C., for the Millennium March and found the overwhelming marketing and homogeneity served up to us by the Human Rights Campaign and other groups tiring and insensitive.
The answer to the problems queer people face is not simply to "make nice" and ignore the fringes of our movement. True sexual freedom needs to encompass sexual freedom for all forms of consensual sex, regardless of one's personal preferences. Otherwise "liberation" will give us things like gay marriage and adoption, and nothing more.
Taormino writes that, at a conference for members of the queer press, people praised her for "being so out about [her] sexuality." This shocked me even though I too was at the conference, because I thought everyone there was "out" about their sexuality. But being out and queer and proud is certainly about more than just who we have sex with; it's about how and why we have sex, which is not something we can just place into a tiny box marked "gay" or "queer" and move on with our lives.
Sex is much bigger than that and deserves the respect that Taormino gives it. I'd rather see people dressing, dating, and fucking as individuals with minds and bodies of their own, expressing their unique creative impulses and ideas, than trying to toe a certain sexual line in order to be acceptable to the mainstream.
Rachel Kramer Bussel
I loved the article "Royal Paeans in the Ass" by Chris Barton [May 9]. It made me think of all the cool girls in college who'd show up at parties in unthinkable getups and too-cool-for-school attitudes and have the balls to do whatever the hell they wanted.