The new Netflix series GLOW seems to have all the makings of a breakout hit for the streaming service, if we are to judge based on the—pardon me— glowing reception online from critics and fans. I know I binged the whole thing in two days, and I already can’t wait for season two. Not only is the show an endearing nostalgia trip, it’s also got a ton of well rounded roles for the mainly female ensemble cast.
Although the series is only very loosely based on the original Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling show from the mid ’80s, one thing the new show got right was the blatantly racist stereotypes they gave some of the wrestlers. If you were any kind of non-white ethnicity, somehow GLOW would find a way to use that to make a stereotypical persona for you in the ring. It seems appalling now, but thirty years ago no one even shrugged, believe it or not.
How bad was it? Well, if you watch the GLOW 100 “rap” above, which was uploaded thanks to YouTuber Bert Incorporated, you’ll get a pretty good idea of how shockingly stereotyped the ladies of GLOW actually were. One of the wrestlers is named “Palestina,” who—as her verse in the rap goes—”flew to America and kept the plane/some people think that I’m insane.” Yup, nothing quite so funny as terrorism. “Spanish Red,” of course, “loves tequila, and when her blood gets hot, she’s even meaner.” And that’s just the tip of the GLOW iceberg.
Some viewers have taken issue with the racist personas given to the wrestlers, but as the video proves, it was definitely accurate to the time period and the real series. If we’re going to do movies and television shows set in a specific era, we shouldn’t sugar coat them as to not offend our delicate modern sensibilities. The best thing we can do is laugh at how ignorant we once were, and continue trying to do better. In the meantime, if you haven’t started watching GLOW on Netflix, by all means, get on that!
What do you think of GLOW, both the new series and the original thing? Let us know down below in the comments.