Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Study on Latino children and the WWE

I found Ellen Seiter’s Wrestling with the Web an interesting read, as basically seen through the eyes of Latino children in school. She performs an ethnographical study regarding the pop culture and Latino children, using the WWE as a case study. In the article she mentions how the Web is used to help talk about the cultural, ethnic and language differences. This article delves into California Latino culture. The boys, Edwin and Andres conducted interviews with classmates, and not to our surprise, girls loved wrestling too; they enjoyed watching it with their brothers and fathers.

I found it interesting that the Latino contingent preferred WWE wresting as opposed to Lucha Libre Mexican style wrestling, further solidifying the WWE dominance into various subcultures.  In fact, while they watched Mysterio, the masked wrestler, the students were drawn to The Rock—even though Mysterio was defending the racial and class slurs said by Brock Lesnar in the Smackdown in San Diego, in 2000, I believe. Thus, wrestling again typifies racial stereotypes in its storylines. The author refers to the student’s latent reasoning for preferring The Rock was his physical size, but more importantly on Rock’s insistence on getting respect, something they did not have at school—overcoming their feeling of powerlessness.

Seiter covers the aspect of the Internet as a way for young students, confronted with just basic literacy as a way to communicate information, and research details and facts. The author also mentions that while critics of wrestling always talk about how wrestling promotes violence, in her observational experience, the boys who watched wrestling where never in school fights, nor promoted overt acts of aggression. In her conclusion, she mentions that the WWE offers the children a universe quite unlike the rest of the “World White Web.” I suppose we could say that the WWE offers all its fans a “unique universe.” This was an interesting read as it touches on a perspective we have not looked into heretofore.


Sam Ford said...

I find it particularly useful that Ellen tries to look at wrestling both from the classroom perspective and from these students' perspectives in particular, in terms of how to make sense of wrestling not from the story but from the audience. How do we nuance the way we understand how and why people are engaging...and what that can mean in a particular setting--partiuclarly as she does so in working with children, the one audience that much of what we've read and talked about of late has largely only asked questions of "protection."

Gary said...

Since Seiter's study, it would be interesting to apply what she observed about her students to other minority classrooms, not only in California, but around the country. It would be interesting to see if there is merit of her thinking and observations on a grander scale.