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
-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.
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
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
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: http://www.mizgril.com/sexbrut.html
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.