Wrestling and Masculinity: Nurturing a Culture of Bullies in the United States
Author, Ghost Writer, Editor: Patrice Opplinger
This is a really short book that offers some fair criticisms of parts of pro-wrestling that really should be looked at it such a manner. As a pacifist and feminist myself, I often wonder why I am so fascinated by a form of entertainment like pro-wrestling. I think anyone should. Most of what she knocks is the sleaze, which I think most fans reading this does not care for. Most of her stuff concerning this was dead on and it really makes you ashamed to support the WWE in anyway at points because it reminds you of all the pointless filth. The attacks on ultra-violence and backyard wrestling are not as thorough, but they don't need to be because they aren't as directly tied to WWE. Her conclusions are good and I liked the book overall, though it is far from the best case possible. Worth reading because it should raise some issues and I'd rather talk about this book with other fans than about any other.
I think Opplinger really dropped the ball on some of her sources. I didn't see use of the Observer or Torch in this book and and to me those are the top-notch analytic sources right there. Instead she read and trusted slanted reports against pro-wrestling and observed a small slice herself. These limitations hurt her creditibility to an extent, but I don't think they bury the case she is trying to make. She really only watched WWF/WWE and some WCW for major companies and a little XPW and other indies. This obviously hurts her case against pro-wrestling overall, but "overall" really isn't her intent. A few of the things she used were pretty wacky: the Marianne-Chaz faked abuse angle was mentioned twice despite being very minor and thrown out and that was only one of many aborted angles with controversial edges to them.
The Rating: ***