Over the past four decades, professional wrestling has become a staple of American popular culture. This honors thesis project investigates the impacts of harmful stereotypes both on the audience and the business itself. In so doing, this project illuminates wrestling companies’ utilization of these stereotypes in different ways that reflect the ever-changing political realities of recent decades. Archival analysis of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) publications from 1978 to 2018, as well as an oral history interview collected from a semi-retired professional wrestler, provide much of the data and evidence used in this study. Ultimately, this study concludes that wrestling companies’ carefully choreographed use of stereotypes reflects broader trends in U.S. politics and society, develops solutions for the problem in the profession, and undergirds a business approach frequently focused on maximizing profit regardless of questionable or harmful social message content.
Semester/Year of Award
Matthew P. Winslow, Ph.D.
Mentor Professional Affiliation
Restricted Access Thesis
Gilliam, Davida F., "Revealing Ropes: Racism and Stereotypes in Professional Wrestling" (2019). Honors Theses. 620.