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Monday Night Raw

Reading Reality TV: WWE’s Monday Night Raw

The fireworks erupt, the lights come on, it’s Monday night and that can only mean one thing… RAW is on the air. The name itself is very fitting for such a wrestling show. It clearly defines everything a man enjoys to begin his hectic work week: a rowdy crowd, enraged men beating the hell out of each other, and of course the beautiful women that accompany the wrestlers to the ring. On this particular episode, the highlights of the night include an appearance by Donald Trump, the unveiling of the new Playboy featuring WWE’s own “Diva?, Ashley, as the cover model. The show also features the usual few wrestling matches involving men fighting for some absurd reason. In between these three main storylines, a chiseled wrestler can be seen applying a brutal hold on the very petite female wrestling announcer, and two of the company’s former Playboy cover models, Torrie and Melina, also battle it out for the Women’s Championship in a catfight where the women are dressed in their usual attire; a short skirt and a top that holds barely anything.

WWE’s Monday Night Raw has been on the air for about thirteen years. It originally aired on the USA network and has moved to others such as Spike/TNN and has recently moved back to its regular eight o’clock time slot on USA. It made those jumps between networks because it began promoting a more risqué type of show in the late 90’s. This new promotion led to much higher ratings and allowed it to compete with the primetime networks such as NBC, ABC, etc. Since the WWF merged with rival wrestling companies WCW/ECW to form WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment), WWE produces the Monday night show along with other weekly wrestling shows. Most recently WWE Productions is making its own movies staring the same wrestlers you see in the ring.

With a quick glance at the front row of the audience in attendance, it is not hard to see that men are the majority here. I don’t think that a woman would enjoy watching muscled guys beat each other up while a couple of women parade around half naked; however, I could be wrong. While the commercials air I feel even more like the show is directed towards me as a guy. I see a TAG body spray commercial, Just For Men hair gel, Ultimate Fighting Championship, and an advertisement to buy the new NCAA 07 basketball game. The night that RAW airs is perfect for the busy working male who dreads another long week and wants to let go of his stress after a hard day’s work. The show is also perfect for the raging hormonal male teens whose head is full of thoughts of violence and gorgeous women. The wrestlers are role models for these teens because they display a tremendous amount of strength, have amazing physiques, and of course are a hit with the Divas.

The president of WWE, Vince McMahon, embodies the true identity of a patriarchal male. He is rich, powerful, confident, masculine, and he even has his special “I’m the shit? strut that he performs when he walks in public. In this certain episode we get an example of two patriarchal powerhouses, Vince and Donald Trump, arguing over who is more powerful as Trump states that “My ‘Trump Towers’ are much more powerful than you ‘grapefruits’, Vince.? The arrogance of the president of WWE leaks to the wrestlers as they take possession of the Divas and often fight over them. They can be heard and often seen demonstrating their manhood power over others as they claim to be “saving? the women from making bad decisions. So needless to say, the show takes on many sexual confrontations resulting in male dominance. The Divas mainly just fill the role as the “object of affection? as Yep and Camacho state in their article referring to “The Bachelor? (p.2). Meanwhile the subject of race is also toyed with. Black wrestlers often find themselves in the same old storyline of “White man holding back the more powerful black superstar.? The black superstar is forced to start at the bottom of the wrestling society having to face superstars lacking talent and is forced to work his way up to a world title. The male superstars take the main stage in this episode, but the Divas put up a strong fight. There are segments where the Diva would flaunt her assets to get what she wants whether it is a title shot for the wrestler she manages or if she needs a simple pay raise from the boss. Women should not feel like they need to show off their bodies in order to get what they want as Mendible compares this to “gold digging? in her article (p.3). And don’t think for a single minute that gays and lesbians aren’t welcomed on RAW. There is nothing more that viewers at home would love to see than to have a group of supposedly gay male cheerleaders get beat up by a couple of the companies’ bad asses, or to have what WWE calls “HLA?. “HLA? (Hot Lesbian Action) is a special segment on RAW that comes every few weeks where, you guessed it, a couple of Divas are brought out to the ring and simply make-out until a wrestler who opposes lesbians arrives and censors it. So why would anybody on Earth want to have a show that addresses ALL of these controversial issues? The answer is simple; ratings. In the TV business, ratings are all that matter. Shows like RAW uses every possible way to draw audiences. Just like in a commercial I once saw for WWE in which Snoop Dogg states that he watches and loves RAW, so you should to. The exploitation of men and women for profit has been around for along time. The WWE is just taking it to the extreme by throwing everything together into a two hour male soap opera. When RAW is being scripted, the only thing going through the writers’ heads; controversy creates cash.