Wrestling with Manhood
Boys, Bullying & Battering

April 11, 2007 

For those interested in WWE as a cultural phenomonen, I recommend Sut Jhally’s documentary film “Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bullying & Battering.  Here is an excerpt from the blurb about the film:

“Drawing the connection between professional wrestling and the construction of contemporary masculinity, they show how so-called entertainment’ is related to homophobia, sexual assault and relationship violence. They further argue that to not engage with wrestling in a serious manner allows cynical promoters of violence and sexism an uncontested role in the process by which boys become men.’”

WWE averages 4.5 million viewers weekly, and consistently has the highest rating of any cable television program.  The film questions why extremely violent bullying, violence against homosexuals, and enactments of rape are seen as entertainment.   The sections of the film that show clips of the physical and psychological abuse of women, along with extreme sexual humiliation are especially informative.  Why do we extol a program that plays an undeniable role in normalizing gender violence?  Why do we formulate our masculinity in this way?

It is probably an untenable idea, but I wonder if there might indeed be at least some distant relationships between WWE and the overtly masculinist character of modernism.

You can read about the film and view a very informative trailer here: