Communication Studies News

Meredith Bell Presents Research at Symposium

April 17, 2009
Study looks at postfeminism values in professional wrestling.

Meredith Bell ’09 presented, “The Patriarchy of Professional Wrestling: Reading the Ideology of the WWE Divas as a Postfeminist Text” at Randolph College’s Symposium for Artists & Scholars on April 17, 2009.

Meredith conducted the research project with her faculty mentor, Wanda Fenimore, adjunct instructor in communication studies, while an undergraduate student at Randolph College.

An abstract of the project follows...

World Wrestling Entertainment is a form of sports entertainment that enjoys tremendous and widespread popularity throughout the world. The wrestlers display physical and mental dominance, characterizing what a “real man” should be. The WWE Divas’ presence seems to fuel the fire of hypermasculinity within the federation. Is the image that these women display a reflection of the company’s interest to keep sex a major part of the business, or do the women themselves represent a new version of classiness and self-proclaimed sexuality? My paper examines the ideology of the WWE Divas and whether their presence in the brand can be read as a postfeminist text. I focus on the questions, “How do the images of the WWE Divas reflect certain values of postfeminism, and do these same images contradict the ideas of feminism by enforcing views of patriarchy?”

The Student Symposium of Artists and Scholars provides Randolph College students from all classes and disciplines the opportunity to present the results of their research, scholarship, and creative work to the entire College community and beyond.

The two-day symposium, modeled after a typical academic conference, features oral presentations of student research, readings of creative work, musical performances, and exhibitions of student artwork. The symposium also includes a poster session, reception and a keynote address from a noteworthy academic speaker.

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