Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bullying, and Battering
• Hegemonic Masculinity:
◦ Idealizing “traditional” masculine characteristics such as toughness and aggressiveness
▪ The wrestlers are suppose to represent the average men in society
◦ Subordinating women
▪ Demonstrates the heterosexuality of the men and are there to entertain the men
◦ Marginalizing homosexual men
▪ Any man who doesn't not fit the normative hetero-male standard they are marginalized
• Dominant, cultural, normative ideal of masculinity in our society
◦ Subordinates anything else that is seen as deviant in this regard
• Narrowly defines—within the institution of sorts, those who don't fir this “definition” of
masculinity are considered deviant --> stigmatized
Is this “Normal”?
• Professional wrestling immunized from serious and sustained cultural analysis because of its
surface appeal and the idea that it's “only entertainment”
• Why is professional wrestling so popular? Why is it considered “normal”?
• The popularity of professional wrestling reveals some of the norms, values, and moral codes
that shape our attitudes and behaviour
◦ What are some of these “norms, values, and moral codes”?
• Have you ever watched professional wrestling (presently/in the past)? What did you enjoy
• What do you make of the announcers in wrestling
Happy & Escalating Violence
• Mainstream debate about wrestling focuses on children imitating the violence
• This often deflects out attention away from wrestling's more subtle and cumulative effects
• Wrestling portrays “Happy Violence”: violence without injury/consequences
• Paradox of Professional Wrestling: reality of violence disappears in wrestling because it
seems so real
• Why is this type of “violence” be not considered deviant?
• Culture shapes and reflects our ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman
• Reinforces what most men want to be like
• Professional wrestling offers males in our society a traditional, conservative definition of
masculinity that emphasizes: strength, intimidation, violence, and control of others
• Professional wrestling MODELS how to be a man!
◦ All other definitions of masculinity become defines as the deviant
• Stone Cold, while whipping Tazz, says, “You gotta learn about respect from Stone Cold Steve
Austin,” while the Undertaker tells Micheal Cole that “fear and respect go hand-in-hand.”
• Meanwhile, in the real world, the WWE sponsors a program that sends wrestlers to libraries and
school to teach young people about respect
• What do you think of this? Does it seem inconsistent to you? Homophobia