In class last week, Professor Lirette mentioned the possible connection between superheroines and female professional wrestlers. In both scenarios, women are characterized by their violent actions. After thinking about this idea, I looked up some female professional wrestlers. I found that they resemble superheroines in many ways, from their tight and skimpy outfits to their actual fighting. They incorporate much of what comics do, but without the crime fighting context or superhuman abilities.
When I started thinking about female wrestlers, I tried to find some examples and came across a WWE “Diva” called Layla El. In a video, which I have provided the link to below, she wrestles another woman as the announcers cheer her on. The outfits that they wear are revealing and tight, similar to the outfits worn by superheroines like Storm and Wonder Woman. Their clothing makes it clear that they are meant to look attractive while they fight. This is reminiscent of the “male gaze” we have discussed in class. In the same way that this applies to drawings in comics, it is shown with female wrestlers. Their revealing clothes seem to be targeted towards a male audience.
Not only do their outfits stand out, but so does the acceptance of their violence is in this context. Even without the opponent being a supervillian or criminal, the commentator is supportive and calls Layla El’s wrestling move “beautiful”. Professional wrestling seems to be a real life outlet where people believe it is acceptable to fight and be violent. Perhaps this is because much of it is choreographed and planned ahead to prevent actual injuries from occurring. There is not blood present, or anything graphic that would make the viewer wary of their actions. Similarly in comic books, the superhero or superheroine may fight a villain, but there is usually not many gory images that accompany it. In both of these situations, violence and fighting seem to be accepted, and even supported.
Overall, superheroines and female wrestlers have many things in common. The main difference is the lack of a superpower for wrestlers, who have to work to gain physical strength in order to fight their opponents instead of being born with special abilities. Another point of difference is that female wrestlers fight other women, instead of comic book superheroines who fight villains of both genders. Regardless of these differences, there is an interesting connection between female wrestlers and superheroines.
Photo from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWE_Diva