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Professional WrestlingSport and Spectacle, Second Edition$
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Sharon Mazer

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496826862

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496826862.001.0001

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From Beefcake to Cheesecake

From Beefcake to Cheesecake

(p.107) 5 From Beefcake to Cheesecake
Professional Wrestling

Sharon Mazer

University Press of Mississippi

The presence of women in the arena—as “girl” wrestlers, managers, etc.—is bound up in conventionally eroticized ideas of female power, the sale of her performance conflated simultaneously with male desire to see two women “together” and with male desire to experience domination without danger. If the performances of male wrestlers may be seen to celebrate a range of masculine possibilities while affirming the essential “man” within, then it is possible to see that the performances of female wrestlers also serve to celebrate and affirm masculine ideals. The performance of the girl wrestler serves to legitimize the male wrestler’s performance both by taking the place of the “not-man” and by deflecting the event’s otherwise homoerotic energies onto herself. In doing exactly what the men do in performance, she also serves to bring to the surface the otherwise repressed sense of wrestling’s sensuousness and its sexual implications.

Keywords:   Women wrestlers, Pornography, Female power, Homoerotics, Gender performativity

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