The aim of this study was to investigate the themes of masculinity revealed in television professional wrestling programs and to explore the way in which these themes of masculinity were constructed by these programs.
In total, 118 episodes of WWE programming were recorded and analysed for themes of masculinity.
During the initial viewings, it became apparent to the researcher that the announcers, audience and performers were intimately involved in the construction of masculinity. . . . [Moreover] . . . the following major themes were revealed to be significant markers of masculinity and are consistent with the dominant hegemonic masculinity prevalent in North American society: aggression and violence, emotional restraint, dominance, achievement and success, competition, toughness, risk-taking, courage, and heterosexuality. These themes effectively define what it means to be a man in professional wrestling as well as the larger society.
(Danielle Soulliere, "Masculinity on Display in the Squared Circle: Constructing Masculinity in Professional Wrestling", Electronic Journal of Sociology (2005))
Now, for the sake of brevity, I have left out some of the finer details of the method, such as the swallowing whole of the theory of social constructivism; and for the sake of sanity, I have not included all the fatuous results. It is enough to say that, after umpteen-hours watching – sorry, investigating, exploring and analysing – the blusterous exertions of spandex-clad baboons, Ms Soulliere has concluded, firstly, that wrestlers behave like blusterous baboons in spandex, and secondly, that this behaviour is socially constructed.
.....The whole tedious affair could have been boiled down to the following non-argument:
I, and some of the writers I cite, think that masculinity has certain characteristics and is socially constructed.
That which is banal in this study is already known: that society affects men and men affect society. And that which is absurd is yet to be shown: that society constructs masculinity in toto. If I might venture an opinion, I would say it all sounds like a well-paid, socially flippant waste of time.