Fighting the Cult of Domesticity

Fighting the Cult of Domesticity

The twentieth century brought forth unprecedented growth in science, industry, and technology, catalyzed quite often by war. During World War II, women took over jobs that had once been held by men in order to continue industrial growth and support the troops as they fought abroad. While individual men may have scorned the idea of […]

Vince McMahon: Pro Wrestling’s Master of Storytelling

Vince McMahon: Pro Wrestling’s Master of Storytelling

Vincent Kennedy McMahon, Jr., CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, has been called many things during his tenure as chairman of the wrestling organization. Mastermind, psychopath, megalomaniac, genius, dictator. He has been accused of sexual assault, of promoting racism, of using and distributing steroids, of ‘pimping out’ his family, and of fostering unsafe practices for his […]

Vince McMahon Sr. and the Dawn of Television

Vince McMahon Sr. and the Dawn of Television

Professional wrestling, as opposed to sport, is the fulfillment of bourgeois ideology. As Roland Barthes explained in Mythologies, “a boxing match always implies a science of the future…the wrestler’s function is not to win but to perform exactly the gestures expected of him.” The sport viewer may anticipate a certain outcome, but cannot guarantee that […]

Jess McMahon: Boxing Promoter and Sire of the WWE

Jess McMahon: Boxing Promoter and Sire of the WWE

“Wrestling is not a sport, it is a spectacle.” – Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1957. French philosopher Roland Barthes’ most seminal work, Mythologies, interrogates the social constructs that are often presented as ‘natural.’ For Barthes, “myth is a language,” which means everything, including trusted signs like tree, dog, pen, as well as cultural artifacts like novels, […]

Boxing The Great Bambino

Boxing The Great Bambino

George Herman Ruth Jr—aka Babe Ruth, Bambino, The Sultan of Swat, The King of Crash, The Colossus of Clout, is one of the most famous American baseball players of all time. Born February 6, 1895, Babe Ruth played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball and until 1974, held the league record of most home runs […]

Fixing the ‘Face’ of Women’s MMA in the Bantamweight Division

Fixing the ‘Face’ of Women’s MMA in the Bantamweight Division

Since its inception in the late 1990s, several women were, at various times, named the ‘face’ of women’s MMA. Sports media promoted the idea that one woman would, somehow, embody the sport in its entirety, and thus bring women’s MMA into the mainstream. Ronda Rousey is, undoubtedly, the most famous fighter in WMMA history, but […]

Cora Livingston and the Spectacular Sport of Wrestling

Cora Livingston and the Spectacular Sport of Wrestling

Wrestling, even today, has a problem with nomenclature. When one mentions the sport of wrestling to another, the former, depending on his or her experience, may immediately think of Rulon Gardner or Triple H, Randy Miller or Sasha Banks. The dual implication of the signifier can be amusing or annoying, depending on one’s relationship with […]

Death in the Ring: A 120 Round Grudge Match Ends in Horror

Death in the Ring: A 120 Round Grudge Match Ends in Horror

The American boxing obsession began in the early nineteenth century with the 1816 fight between Jacob Hyer and Tom Beasley. Although there was no formal governing body established to enforce Queensbury rules, the bout was described as maintaining “some attempt” at structure. New York was the home of the American boxing craze, and numerous individuals […]

Elizabeth Wilkinson Stokes: “Championess of American and of Europe”

Elizabeth Wilkinson Stokes: “Championess of American and of Europe”

In 1987, Joyce Carol Oates published her seminal text, On Boxing, in which she declared that “Boxing is a purely masculine activity and [sic] it inhabits a purely masculine World.” Oates passion for boxing may have limited her scope of research to the time in which was writing. Or perhaps she knew that there were […]

How the Demands of Style Brought Women’s Boxing in Vogue at the Turn of the Century

How the Demands of Style Brought Women’s Boxing in Vogue at the Turn of the Century

Fashion may be the most rapidly changing and fluid cultural ideation that humans practice. The ontology of fashion may seem undeserving of our attention, but fashion reveals the cultural preoccupation with the body. As styles shift, so do the type of ideal body that occupies those clothing. In the majority of cases, significant changes in […]