University of Windsor associate professors Betty Barrett and Dana Levin recently published a study on 2011 WWE programming and the romantic storylines that were portrayed.
They got interested when Linda McMahon claimed how she had cleaned up the WWE and made it a more PG version of family entertainment. Barrett, who described herself as a wrestling fan, told The Windsor Star that it made her interested in examining the product and whether or not McMahon was telling the truth. Barrett and Levin found that Linda wasn’t and that women were almost always portrayed in relationships as inferior to men, as psychos, gold diggers, cougars or vengeful scorned crazies.
Barrett and Levin admitted that the men in the relationships weren’t portrayed all that great either. Barrett said the roles of women they portray are old and stale, but they work. They said the difference is that other shows who use these roles of women don’t aim their programming so much at younger kids and said while WWE isn’t real and adults know it, younger viewers are less sure and the waters are muddied.
Barrett said WWE has missed the chance to portray women as athletes and actresses who can portray something more positive.
(Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter)