Brutality Isn't Child's Play - World Wrestling Federation ("WWF") promoting violence and sexual brutality as appropriate entertainment for children
    Here is a great idea from educator and fellow "Peace Warrior," Ali Aubrey.  She has really established a "model" for action in this area, and she has an initiative that I would encourage you to support, and to pass on to others.  There are three things that we know can make media violence "particularly harmful."  Let us assess "professional wrestling" by these three standards: 

    -First, is it a realistic depiction of violence and human suffering?  WWF is so realistic that many adults sincerely believe it is real.  If some adults believe that, then how many children are harmed by a similar belief?
    -Second, is the violent behavior punished?  In the WWF environment, the GOAL is to inflict damage and harm to your opponent and such behavior is rewarded.  (As opposed to football, baseball, or basketball, where the play stops if someone is hurt and the perp is punished.)

    -Third, is the violence played for laughs and pleasure? Is it "happy violence?"  Once again, the whole goal of WWF is to associate pleasure (cheers, snacks, laughs) from vivid, unpunished, visual depictions of violent behavior and human suffering.

    Thus, "Professional Wrestling" fails all three tests! And Ali's initiative (below) is something we can definitely support.
        Stay staunch!
In a message dated 8/18/01 17:51:55, MizGril writes:

Hi, Dave.  I've been working on a campaign to get WWF merchandise out of Toys "R" Us stores.  By selling this merchandise, Toy's "R" Us is promoting
violence and sexual brutality as appropriate entertainment for children.  Here's a link to the campaign's web page   Sometime, at your convenience, would you take a look?  I'd appreciate your expert opinion/advice/feedback.

I've also attached a copy of a letter I've been sending out to individuals and organizations.

If you think the page and letter are suitable, would you please send them out to your activists list?



Dear Sir or Madam:

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine at the Pediatric Academic Societies have found that:

"Adolescents who watch wrestling on TV are exposed to a high frequency of violence between men and women, alcohol use and hearing women referred to in
derogatory terms such as "bitch," according to the study.  In addition, the scenarios played out in the TV dramas often present violence as a solution to a problem."

"The level of vulgar language, verbal abuse and physical abuse modeled, with unrealistic outcomes, is astonishing," DuRant said. "For example, during one
wrestling match a man dangled a woman upside down and then dropped her on her head, knocking her unconscious. In reality, I know this act would have broken
her neck and probably would have killed her. In addition, the announcer of  the program, speculating on what the wrestler was going to do with the woman,
stated that she 'deserved it' because she had cheated on this wrestler earlier. This teaches an adolescent that it is OK to use violence to resolve conflicts and that women deserve abusive treatment."    

Moreover, a colleague found online a 10 minute segment of footage from a WWF video showing "a woman kissing her attacker, then being body slammed from the top rope through a table.  The following scene was the woman lying motionless on the matt, medics working on her and eventually taking her to an ambulance on a stretcher.  While all of this is going on, the wrestler who did the body slam was being cheered on by thousands of fans." 
According to my research on the WWFE web site:

* WWF reaches as many as 20 million households each week.

* "Raw is War" is the #1 regularly scheduled weekly cable program.

* "SmackDown!" is UPN's #1 show, leading broadcast ratings in male teens for 30 straight weeks.

* "Sunday Night Heat" is one of the top 10 regularly scheduled weekly cable programs."

I'm sure you are familiar with basic psychology (Pavlov's dogs).  The WWF is creating an extremely strong, emotionally-charged link between sexual arousal and graphic violence.  Young boys watching these shows will be naturally aroused by the near-naked women.  Then the women are brutalized.  This is systematically training boys to respond to sexual arousal with brutality.  Consequence?  A horror story worthy of Stephen King.

It's obvious that the WWF's target audience is children. Their "heroes" visit hospitalized children.  Toddlers wear t-shirts emblazoned with WWF characters.  I  visited a local Toys "R" Us and found action figures, electronic rings and cages, teddy bears, and a stuffed doll which screams when you bend its limbs or hit it ("Pile drive his head and he screams!").  This last is advertised as "Soft, safe, durable fun!  Ages 4 and up," written not once, but three times on the box.  WWF T-rated videos are displayed on the lower shelves, placed among kiddie games and right next to colorful signs advertising "Big games for little players!" 

Therefore, Toys "R" Us, which advertises itself as "The authority on kids, families and fun!" is promoting violence and the brutalization of women as suitable family entertainment. 

Please check out this link.  It provides pictures and links that illustrate my concern:

As you know, the reality is that women and girls are found dead every day, the victims of domestic violence and sexual predators.  Why is it ok that toy
companies -- of all things -- profit from promoting this kind of violence?

I'm not proposing that the WWF's First Amendment rights be invalidated -- if they have to market their vicious slop, let them do so in adult porn shops.  But the sexual brutalization of women and girls must not be promoted as appropriate entertainment fare for children.

"Popular" culture and the entertainment industries encourage such contempt toward females, depicting them as little more than sex toys and/or deserving victims of violence.  Please take a look at the WWF, its tie-ins with toy stores, and what it is teaching our sons and daughters.


Alison Aubrey

provided courtesy of:
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