If you need a reminder of what sexism looks like, compare the vitriol Paige is getting on social media to all the virtual high fives for Xavier Woods. While I shouldn't be surprised, I can't help but be disappointed.
The talk of the WWE Universe over the weekend revolved around hacked explicit videos that featured WWE stars, Paige, Xavier Woods and former WWE employee, Brad Maddox.
Last night on RAW, Xavier Woods stood flanked by his team mates, Big E and Kofi Kingston. The outer New Day members stared dubiously at their partner as he looked stoically towards the camera.
Big E then addressed the elephant in the room by looking at Xavier and saying, "Is there something you want to tell us?"
Without missing a beat, Xavier launched into his WrestleMania promo while Kofi and Big E burst into laughter.
And just like that, it was over and Twitter joined in on the laughs; applauding WWE for how they "handled the situation."
The way New Day referenced the Xavier Woods/Paige shit was fucking incredible and I loved it— 👉 🤛 (@BigBawsBen) March 21, 2017
I have yet to see RAW, but I saw the Xavier woods bit and that was phenomenal. Great stuff.— I Am #TeamBlue (@TimmahWrasslin) March 21, 2017
Goddamn. New Day and especially Xavier Woods played that off fucking beautifully lmao especially in a smart crowd like New York. Props lmfao pic.twitter.com/v43kDJVu9H— AJ (@alainbalano) March 21, 2017
At the exact same time this promo was happening, a heartbreaking post by Paige's father was making it's way around social media. It revealed a father being genuinely concerned that his daughter might possibly harm herself due to the harassment she and her family have taken since the leaks.
"I cannot lose my little girl!! The whole family has taken so much shit, being blasted from all angles. But none of this is worth it. There is a broken soul here."
He continued with a plea, "I urge people to back off as I say I am very worried for her it will be no good backing her when its too late like many other celebrities who have left us."
Did the WWE handle this correctly? Had she currently been on the roster, would they have had Paige standing between Charlotte and Sasha Banks, cracking a sly, inside joke about how her most private, intimate moments had been illegally stolen from her possession and shown to the entire world.
While the brief New Day segment diffused the situation for Xavier Woods–allowing him to move on to his regularly scheduled program–I couldn't help but feel the brevity diminished what Paige is currently going through. But, while I think the WWE could have handled it differently, I'm not blaming them.
I'm blaming us.
I'm blaming those who suggested it was Paige's fault for having the videos in the first place.
I'm blaming those who view women as the immoral vixens in these situations while applauding the men for their sexual conquests.
Regardless of your opinion of Paige, nothing in her past ever suggested that she wanted to be an adult film star. She wanted to be a professional wrestler. It was her family's business.
When the videos broke on Friday–besides having the images and videos freely shared across social media–so many were quick to place the blame at the former WWE Divas Champion's feet; even assuming she intentionally leaked the explicit videos herself.
To the WWE's credit, they have not said one disparaging word about Paige since the hack and if the rumors are true, she will not be disciplined in any way. In fact, I have the utmost faith they will be nothing but supportive of their employee, as certainly they understand she is the victim in this situation.
But regardless of how WWE handles it, the damage has been done. With every disparaging tweet, every knock on her character, every share of the video that she clearly stated was released without her consent, Paige has been relegated to a social media punch line.
That disappoints me to my core, and it should you as well.