How is gender and gender roles socially constructed? Soulliere states that gender is a cultural creation that is frequently developed by and represented through popular cultural media such as advertisements, music, sports, and entertainment television (Soulliere 2006). The article “Wrestling with Masculinity: Messages about Manhood in the WWE” by Danielle M. Soulliere (2006), examines messages about manhood revealed by televised professional wrestling (Soulliere 1). Messages concerning masculinity and manhood were investigated and compared to the cultural version of masculinity (Soulliere 2006). Soulliere’s research proves that the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) depicts messages, which supports the dominant hegemonic form of masculinity (Soulliere 2006). To further grasp and understand Soulliere’s hypothesis, we must first examine her research methods and outcomes.
Soulliere states that television programs and advertisements such as the WWE provide gender and social role models (Soulliere 2006). Soulliere references that the dominant form of masculinity is associated with various male characteristics that consistently appear in the media. Such attributes include violence and aggression, emotional restraint, toughness, risk-taking, physical strength, courage, power and dominance, competitiveness, and achievement and success (Soulliere 2006). Additionally, presentation of men in sports continues to reaffirm the traditional hegemonic notion of masculinity and Soulliere views WWE as a cultural indicator of what being a man is all about (Soulliere 2006).
Soulliere references that professional wrestling programs portrays bullying, intimidation, humiliation, and sexual violence, as an acceptable template for male behaviour (Soulliere 2006). Soulliere conducted two questions to investigate manhood in professional wrestling: (1) What messages pertaining to masculinity and manhood are revealed by popular televised professional wrestling shows?; (2) How are proof and assertion of manhood accomplished by the men in these shows (Soulliere 2006)? Soulliere accumulated data from the television programming samples by recording and analyzing 118 episodes from the original RAW and Smackdown! wrestling programs, as well as pay-per-view events. Soulliere’s procedure to answer her research questions were achieved through qualitative content analysis. Soulliere revealed themes that describe the characteristics of manhood and proved these themes by presenting dialogue between the announcers and competitors, from the original episodes.
Soulliere concluded that the WWE program revealed six messages about manhood: (1) Real men are aggressive and violent, (2) men settle things physically, (3) a man confronts his adversaries and problems, (4) real men take responsibility for their actions, (5) men are not whiners, and (6) men are winners (Soulliere 2006). Finally, all of these messages support Soulliere’s theory that the WWE contributes and promotes the dominant...