Wrestling and Hypermasculinity


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About the Book

Professional wrestling revels in its exaggeration of masculinity. This hyper-masculinity is evident in the physical appearance of wrestlers, the sexuality-charged and violent moves used in and out of the ring, the role assigned to women and the extensive use of weapons such as chains, barbed wire and steel folding chairs. This study explores the link between watching televised wrestling matches and increases in verbal aggression, rebellion and propensity toward violence and retaliation. Wrestling is placed within the larger context of popular culture and other hyper-masculine entertainment.

The book begins with a brief history of professional wrestling, a summary of the criticisms of the sport, and a discussion of the author’s research methods. One chapter discusses how gender socialization plays a part in the effects of wrestling on its viewers, arguing that wrestling goes beyond the image of physically violent acts to models of interpersonal behavior. The expansion of wrestling into storylines outside the ring includes problem situations involving class, race, homophobia and nationality, to which violence is often presented as a solution. The book concludes with an investigation of the attractiveness of wrestling and its ability to lure fans back year after year.

About the Author(s)

Patrice A. Oppliger is an assistant professor of mass communications at Boston University. She is the author of books on gender and social issues and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Bibliographic Details

Patrice A. Oppliger

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2004
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1692-9
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8136-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Preface xi
Introduction 1
1. Background of Professional Wrestling 7
2. Effects 31
3. Masculinity and Aggression 53
4. Violence in the Squared Circle 71
5. Sex 95
6. Personae and Appearances of Male Wrestlers 107
7. Portrayal of Women 123
8. The Appeal of Professional Wrestling 139
9. Conclusions 161
Bibliography 185
Index 195

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Well-written…highly recommended”—Choice
  • “An interesting read”—Metapsychology.