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Buckeye: Treading the Line Between the Field & the Stage

10 Mar

Joining us today to tell us a little more about herself is Buckeye!  Learn how she got involved in arm wrestling, and what BRAWL means to her, and don’t forget to come cheer her on this Friday, March 14th at RIT!

buckeye

buckeye

“Hey there BRAWL Fans, Friends and Participants! In my boring everyday life as a Nurse people know me as Liz, but when it comes to BRAWL I go by Buckeye! I was asked to write a guest blog post about why and or how I got involved with BRAWL….so here’s my story:
In late September or early October of 2012 an acquaintance of mine mentioned on Facebook that she was going to be arm wrestling for a charity event and they needed more wrestlers. This piqued my interest for a few reasons.
1. I’m super competitive.
2. The opportunity to create a persona and become someone else for an evening was exciting.
3. A chance to raise money for charities and organizations that benefit women and children is hugely important to me.
4. The theatrical aspect of the events is so entertaining that I (a closet attention wh@re) just had to be a part of.
I filled out the online application to become a wrestler and then spent a few days coming up with a persona that I felt suited me and would truly encompass something I am passionate about that would also be entertaining and translate well to spectators of all ages and backgrounds. After much consideration and many hysterical but failed costume trials “Buckeye” was born.
I’m a die hard Ohio State Buckeyes fan and so my persona incorporates an athletic based outfit in Ohio State school colors.
Late in October of 2012 I nervously stepped in to the Skylark Lounge dressed as Buckeye having no real idea what I was in for. I met with Grace, Cheryl, and Kristin who are the founders and organizers of BRAWL and they gave me the run down. Then they introduced me to the woman who would be my first ever opponent–that was Afrolicious who’s persona was this fantastic larger than life charismatic disco chic from the 70’s era and a huge fro. Fantastic and intimidating all at once. I suddenly felt out of my league but hung in and wrestled anyway.
The minute my persona was announced and the wrestler wrangler was leading me on to the stage I fell right in to character. Nerves suddenly disappeared adrenaline kicked in and the playful theatrics between myself and Afrolicious began. Ultimately she whooped me but I held my own and did not make her win an easy one. I was hooked! The friendships and camaraderie that have been established between the wrestlers the organizers and everyone involved at every level is something I cherish and I can honestly say I have fallen in love with BRAWL and all that it stands for. We have raised thousands of dollars for charity while at the same time empowering girls and women.
I have now wrestled in several events and as of our most recent event which was held this past October 2013 I am the reigning champion and I’m set to defend that title this Friday March 14th at RIT. I hope to see many of our loyal followers there as well as many new faces. I also hope some of you might take a chance on a new adventure and try your “hand” as a wrestler too! Its a win, win for everyone! — Liz (Buckeye)

Buckeye

Buckeye

Thanks Buckeye!  Come see if she can hold onto her title this weekend!

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Erin Go Bra: Behind the Bra

22 Apr

The women of BRAWL are spectacular, strong women, both inside and out.  We’d like to showcase one of those women today.  Shannon Lupien a.k.a. “Erin Go Bra”, 2 time, undefeated champion, is here today to tell you a little more about herself and what BRAWL means to her:

Erin Go Bra

Erin Go Bra

“As a kid, I remember watching this one movie. The only thing that I could remember about it was one of the final scenes in which Sylvester Stallone’s protagonist character was competing in an arm wrestling match. He was about to lose when a spark of determination flashed across his face. He adjusted his hand-position and ended up winning in a blaze of heartfelt glory. I used to reenact this scene over and over with the kids at school and would adjust my hand-position exactly like in the movie. I never knew what movie it was, but from then on, I would arm wrestle people whenever I got the chance. It became my thing. I loved feeling strong and capable. It helped me break through the idea that women are supposed to be meek, feminine, and dainty. So much of who I am comes from being a strong, independent woman. I challenge traditional gender norms and try to find ways to empower women whenever I can. That is one of the main reasons I just had to become involved with lady arm wrestling the very moment I heard about it. Coincidentally, at the very first BRAWL event I attended, there was a screening of the movie “Over the Top”. It was quite fittingly, the very same movie that inspired my love for arm wrestling and passion for female empowerment when I was a kid!

In college, I became interested in studying gender issues. I was introduced to the idea that gender isn’t necessarily something we are born with. Yes, we are born biologically male or female, but gender… what it means to be male or female, is largely created by society. Social norms of masculinity and femininity influence us in subtle ways starting from a very young age, and this shapes our perception of what it means to be male or female. For example, female babies are treated differently than male babies. A classic research study showed that people who thought a baby was a boy offered the baby toys like trains to play with, but dolls if the baby was a girl. They also were rougher with the baby if they thought it was a boy and were more likely to talk about the careers he would have. If they thought the baby was a girl, they were gentler and were more likely to comment on physical features.

A project I did for a gender studies class showed that almost all cereal box characters were male, and if there was a female, she was usually portrayed in a less prominent way. Children are very perceptive and little things like this as well as TV shows, movies, commercials, and magazines all contribute to the adoption of these gender norms. In graduate school, I have conducted several studies showing that exposing women to a non-traditional female can result in greaterconfidence and lead to a more positive physiological response during competition with a man than when exposed to a traditional female. Research like this… investigating ways to empower women has been one of my focuses in graduate school.

To me, arm wrestling is an extremely important way to help show the world that women can be whoever they want to be. They can be strong; they can be bawdy; they can be ruthless… all while still being women. Lady arm wrestling leagues bring these vital issues to light in a fun and entertaining way, spreading the word that women are fierce, challenging gender norms by creating a new view of femininity as strong and powerful, all while helping to raise money for important women’s causes. The message is catching on! Signing autographs for kids, being a role model for our youth, watching little girls arm wrestle after an event; I am honored to be a part of such a wonderful organization!”