Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) CEO Vince McMahon took North American professional wrestling from a group of regional organizations in the early 1980’s to the global powerhouse and cultural phenomenon it is today. Indeed, many professional wrestlers have crossed over into mainstream entertainment including Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Stone Cold Steve Austin, and John Cena. These men, among other less recognized stars, such as Triple H, Bret Hart, The Undertaker, and “Macho Man” Randy Savage, were top draws for WWE. Obviously missing from this list are the women of WWE, who until recently, served as valets, enhancement talents, or participated in bra and panties matches, pillow fights, or traditional matches where they were not given time to display their ability. The sexualized and second-class roles women played and the matches in which they participated demonstrates they were in no way equal to their male counterparts. WWE fans were fed up and in early 2015 started #givedivasachance. Consequently, Triple H became the new head of talent and in Spring of 2016 the WWE’s Divas Revolution, later and more aptly named the Women’s Revolution, began. Then, in Fall of 2016, female wrestlers were initiated into equality with the men through a Hell in a Cell match, specifically its contract signing. However, to be accepted, their initiation was completed through a masculine-centric rhetorical process as evidenced through Geert Hofstede’s masculinity-femininity (MAS) cultural dimension. Thus, in order to women to be accepted, the women needed to act and talk like men.
PresentersMichael Rhett Cuozzo
Consultant/Online Adjunct Professor, Mass Media Communication, Wilberforce University, Ohio, United States
PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING, WWE, GENDERED LANGUAGE, EQUITY IN SPORTS, SPORTS CULTURE