TV wrestling stretches the envelope of what art educators might consider legitimate content under the emerging art educational paradigm of visual culture. (Duncum & Bracey, 2001) TV wrestling. Or "rasslin" as it’s known to its audience, is a significant cultural site because it is very popular and, under analysis, has much to say about contemporary cultural experience, especially that of its audience. While it provides pleasures and reference points to its audience, these reference points are often sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, and in terms of familial relationships, dysfunctional. They are also violent and obscene. This paper both acknowledges the lived experience of the audience for TV wrestling and calls into question the structures of feelings and ideas that are embodied in art. For the former it employs the theory of "needs and gratifications" that holds that cultural sites serve deep instinctive and/or social functions. By contrast, in critiquing TV wrestling, a cultural studies approach is employed that views underlying values of cultural sites in terms of the hierarchic power structures of society.
© The Author