#7: Mick Foley
“I came to feel that there were not many males out there talking about a problem that really does affect everybody.”
With his sweatpants, ripped flannel shirt, and toothless grin, Mick Foley looks an awful lot like a warden of the state. Fortunately, the look of a crazed maniac is a job prerequisite when you’re the three-time WWF champion known to fans as Mankind.
Foley has played the part well. Infamous bloodbaths such as 1998’s “Hell in a Cell”—Foley twice fell 16 feet, breaking multiple ribs, losing a number of teeth, and suffering a concussion—cemented his reputation as the “Hardcore Legend.”
He goes by other names too: Dude Love, the Deranged One, Cactus Jack. He’s Foley the terrible. Foley the intimidator.
But Foley the feminist?
Behind the man’s chair-bending brawn is a crusader for literacy, education, and the end of sexual violence against women.
Foley has become a key ally of RAINN, the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, a group cofounded in the early ’90s by singer Tori Amos.
Before joining RAINN, Foley had long been an avid fan of Amos’ music. As Foley recounts, one song in particular, “Winter,” has held special meaning for him since a barbed-wire match in Japan early in his career. Suddenly consumed with fear, he listened to “Winter” on his Walkman in the dressing room before the fight.
The song, he said, “allowed a caring man” to “transform himself into a willing participant in a barbaric spectacle.” To this day, he considers the match the proudest moment of his career.
Foley finally met the singer in 2008 at San Diego’s Comic Con. The two became fast friends.
Amos first encouraged Foley to join the National Leadership Council as a key RAINN supporter in 2009. Then, when he sold his fourth memoir, Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal, Foley agreed to donate 100 percent of his advance: half to RAINN, half to children’s education in Sierra Leone.
“For many years, I had thought of the fight against sexual violence as one best waged by women and survivors of assault,” Foley told Slate. “But then I heard [Amos'] voice one night, in my beat-up Chevy minivan, on my way home from some other road trip I can’t recall. ‘When you gonna make up your mind? When you gonna love you as much as I do?’”
Foley has also undergone training to work for RAINN as an online hotline volunteer, communicating one-on-one with rape survivors. In September 2010, Foley was named RAINN’s volunteer of the month.
Unlike a scripted wrestling match, it isn’t all for show.
The Top 10 Good Men of 2010
10) Josh Hamilton
7) Mick Foley
5) Barack Obama
3) Dan Savage