When people first hear the words “Professional Pillow Fight League,” they often conjure images of jello-wrestling and hair pulling. However, if you’ve ever been to a Pillow Fight League event, you know that the fights are real, they’re violent, and they’re bloody entertaining.
The Pillow Fight League, also known as the PFL, has been performing around Toronto since last year. They gained international attention in January when they fought for two nights in New York City to packed houses. Since then, they’ve been featured in the New York Times, Good Morning America, The National Enquirer, and a whole slew of other media big wigs.
Most recently, the PFL has signed over television rights to Eddie October, the man behind Tommy Lee Goes To College, and Al Berman, who did Rock Star: INXS. So far, most major television stations have expressed interest in the league.
So what is the draw? The most common myths about the PFL include that all fights are staged (they are most definitely real) and that it’s all for men (when around 50 per cent of the audience are actually women). The girls fighting aren’t strippers or aspiring actresses. They are phD students, and journalists, and mothers. They are not being exploited by the male management, they are not deliberately losing their tops during a fight, and they are not just tickling each other on the mats.
The girls train three times a week at a downtown studio. At least once a week they train in Brazilian Ju Jitsu. While it is run by Commissioner Stacey P. Case and Referee Matt Mullen, decisions are made democratically and carefully to avoid being lumped in with jello-wrestling and cat fights. They have declined many lucrative offers to fight in strip clubs and sports bars, instead preferring large venues that allow for colliseum-style seating.
But the most important part to remember about the Pillow Fight League is that everyone is there to have fun. With cheeky names like Sarah Bellum and Betty Clock’er, you can’t take it too seriously. I, for example, am Mickey Dismantle, the bitchy one-woman HR department of the PFL who brandishes a baseball bat. After all, despite all of the gender politics people try and throw on it, it is still pillow fighting.
If you want to see a PFL event, they are fighting at The Mod Club on Tuesday, May 1. Doors are at 8, and the show starts at 9:30. Advance tickets can be bought at Rotate This for $8, or pay $10 at the door. They will also be fighting in Montreal at Le Petit Campus on Saturday, May 5.
Photo by David Guralnick of Detroit News.