Just Entertainment?

January 27, 2011
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“I just want a bat I know I’m a liar. If she ever tries to f***ing leave again I’m gonna tie her to the bed and set this house on fire.” That is an excerpt from a song by rap star Eminem featuring pop sensation Rihanna, about a couple that’s in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. The song, “Love the Way You Lie,” made it into the top 3 on the Billboard charts. In today’s society, we have been desensitized to the devastating effects of gender violence. However, even if we make light of it, it’s still there. According to the United States’ Department of Justice, 1.3 million women are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in our country. The same source tells us 50% of offenders in prison for spousal abuse murdered their victims. Violence isn’t something to be taken lightly, or normalized, because it simply isn’t normal. Having been personally influenced by the issue, it’s certainly not something I want to see glorified in the media. Consequently, I am firmly against the portrayal of exploitative or abusive treatment embodied by WWE, and I do not consider it, “just entertainment.”

One of the biggest perpetrators of violence against women is WWE. Although there is always a question of nature versus nurture, it is common sense that if a child is exposed to a certain behavior at an early age, they will learn that the behavior is acceptable and possibly wind up emulating it. One of my friends was telling me about a family member of his that particularly enjoyed WWE. When they were younger, the family member would “practice” WWE moves on my friend. Although my friend never really protested, it bothered him. When would attempt to tell the family member that the “wrestling” they saw on television was just a series of stunt, and wasn’t legitimate wrestling, a respectable sport, the boy would protest, claiming that it was all genuine.

Although the perpetuation of violence against both sexes is wrong, I take particular offense to the exploitation of women that’s documented in these “matches.” I decided to do a little research, and went to the WWE website. On that website, there is a section called the “Daily Diva” where they display a new picture of a scantily clad woman daily. Above the pictures are the words “sexy,” “smart,” and “powerful.” However, with the exception of “sexy,” these adjectives are the exact opposite of those which are exhibited by women in the ring. During the “matches,” the wrestlers frequently terrorize women, exploiting the animalistic desires of their male viewing audience.

Another frightening thing about WWE is the reaction of the audience to what they are being shown. When I talked to people who enjoy the show, I was given a great deal of insight into their perception of the “entertainment.” From what I gleaned, it seemed the audience was so enthralled because they felt that they could live through the characters that fight so absurdly onstage. They viewed the wrestlers as “normal,” “real” men who exhibited their manhood through violence and mistreatment of others.

It’s mind-boggling to me that something which so strongly promotes violence, intolerance of homosexuality, exploitation of women, and general immaturity is allowed to be shown on television and has such a dedicated audience. To be honest, until recently when I was flipping through channels and came to a WWE match, I would just roll my eyes and keep flipping. I guess I too had been desensitized to it. However, now I realize that it is not just entertainment, it’s an avenue through which hate and prejudice can be perpetuated.

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e.gomez_92 said...
Mar. 8, 2011 at 10:14 am
I totally agree with this article. i use to watch WWE and i did the exact same thing with my little brothers. By the time i got to the last move, he was already hurt. i think that only certain people should watch that kind of entertainment only for a certain time.
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