In Catherine Salmon and Susan Clerc’s, Ladies Love Wrestling, Too, the “why” women love to watch wrestling is explored. This is an area I have not explored before, and found the chapter most interesting.
The authors explore the transition from post WWII female fans, where females watched big men in small trunks, and had fan clubs, to where women utilized the more modern Internet age aspects to communicate between themselves, through chat rooms, blogs, forums, websites, email groups, etc. In short, women “have developed their own strategies for obtaining pleasure from the visual media” (p. 170). Many forums and websites contain pictures of close-ups captured from screen shots, depicting unguarded emotional moments or smiles.
There seems to be a theme in the article as to why women are attracted to wrestling and how women express themselves. In addition to the sexual aspect, the themes depicted by the photographs of the forums and websites cover the need to have glimpses of happiness, emotion and vulnerability. The women fans are romantically interesting in the wrestlers, and the contrast between the hypermasculinity of the wrestler’s bodies and that of the moments of emotional vulnerability that of a smile, or candid moments or intense embrace, appears to be very evident. By the way, this is very true to form for any photojournalist who craves capturing the above moments.
The authors contrasts two common features in male and female wrestling sites, where the male wrestling sites contain role playing and fantasy bookings. Female sites are likely to write fictional stories and fill empty spots in story lines. Women create expansive character and meaning to the storylines in a personal way—“the softness of their hair.” A feature prevalent among female sites is the “desire,” where physical bodies and emotions are intertwined becoming the objects for desire.
I found this chapter most illuminating as it explores the female wrestling fan’s perspective, and this is something that has not been looked into before.