This is the fourth post in a series in which we profile people’s passion projects and let them explain their work in their own words. Learn more and see a list of all the projects profiled here.
Heather Mack has been a friend and supporter of Pop Culture Experiment since its first year. Without her, there would be no Pop Culture Experiment Radio Show. She’s part of the Boston League of Wicked Wrestlers, which takes the premise of pro-wrestling and turns it on its head. Mack spoke to us about BLOWW and its mission. BLOWW’s next event is BLOWWloween I: Kick or Treat.
What is BLOWW? How did it come about?
From our website:
BLOWW is a radical response to the mainstream world of pro-wrestling. We are a feminist, grassroots organization, where women and non-binary peoples can express ourselves and work together to create an unforgettable spectacle we can all get behind. We are not here for the male gaze, and reject the misogyny, racism, and homophobia rampant in mainstream representations of the art form. We have ownership over our own bodies, you won’t see us as ornaments or valets in our universe. We accept people of all colors, ability, expression, experience, strength, and size into our ring. Our characters are not interested in acting how you think a woman should act. We use this ring to explore issues of power, stereotypes, women’s health and women’s rights. We love to kick each others asses, as much as we love keeping each other lifted up and supported. We want to inspire you by showing you our strength, gusto, and heart. And we always punch up.
It came about in 2003 as an offshoot of KPOWW (Kalamazoo Precinct of Women Wrestlers). An individual who was part of that group (Nurse Agony) had moved to Boston and wanted to build something similar. It’s had many incarnations since then and the current roster is mostly made of folks who have only been in the group for 3 years or less, except our bassist, Black Wednesday, and our ref, Brooxie, who have been around since close to the beginning.
We wrestle about 6-10 shows per year, everywhere from festivals to backyards to car shows and punk clubs. We are an egalitarian DIY group that does all of our own costumes, characters, and we develop our own storylines as a group. Needless to say, it is a friggin’ blast.
What version(s) of Heather does BLOWW bring out? In other words, how does BLOWW allow you to express yourself?
Pammmmmmmmmmmy, my wrestling character, is an amalgamation of every Aunt I’ve ever known, and it is absolutely a side of myself that I love making into a farcical interpretation that the audience eats up. She works at a Bradlees Department store, which is both an homage to Massachusetts regionalisms and also a reference to my obsession with obsolete 90s culture. Her and her tag team partner, Cherrill, are both clueless, salty old broads– “always a mom jean, never a mom” is our motto–who like to beat people up for fun in the parking lot after their shifts. They’re trashy, fabulous, obnoxious Massholes–think AbFab but from Rockland, MA. She’s a side of myself that’s fully fearless, which is an empowering persona to embody. I feel like wrestling is very much like drag in that way, in the sense that we are able to exaggerate our most vulnerable features and make them our most powerful weapons. BLOWW is pretty unapologetically queer and feminist, and we like to invert the dominant stereotypical discourse of gender, race, identity, etc. that you typically see in WWE style wrestling. Our version of wrestling allows us to explore aspects of our identity that may have once been used against us–most of us weren’t the popular kids in school–and reimagine them as our sources of power. It’s very liberating.
How have you fostered those versions of yourself with pop culture?
If “It’s Pat”, “Irregardlessly Trish”, and Zazzoo from SNL had a kid, it would be Pammmmmmmmmmmmmmy.
If BLOWW had a theme song, what would it be?
“Eye of the Tiger” is the song that plays every time we start our shows, so I think that is our official theme song!
BLOWW’s next event is BLOWWloween I: Kick or Treat.