Popaganda: Pro Wrestling with the Sublime

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Pro wrestling hasn’t been the kindest entertainment industry for women. Relegated to Playboy-sponsored pillow fight matches or mud wrestling, women wrestlers didn’t get to shine for their athleticism or fighting prowess very often until Chyna came around in the late 90s. Her storylines were pretty meta, with male wrestlers and announcers who questioned her qualifications being on the receiving end of her feminist rage. But even then, women wrestlers like her had to constantly endure being sexually objectified and called “yapping female dogs” by the commentators. Yet pro wrestling is still very much a part of American pop culture, with folks making connections between it and other forms of expression, as an art form. So what’s the draw? Why does pro wrestling affect people so much, to the point of emotional catharsis? And… is it art? Today’s guests are two people who’ve shown me just how cool wrestling can be.

First, I talk to Julian Burrell, producer of a really great podcast called Tights and Fights, about a wrestling match that made him cry.

Then you’ll hear from Kath Barbadoro, a comedian and host of Wrestlesplania, a podcast where she explains to her co-host, Rachel Millman, why wrestling is good.

SHOUT-OUTS

Read April LaValle’s retrospective take on WWE’s Attitude era for Bitch.

Curious about EVE? Find out more about their mission, events, and wrestlers.

Check out this great writeup on Chyna and her history with the WWE at the Mary Sue.

If pro wrestling lingo seems a bit confusing, you can cross-reference with this handy guide from Complex.

262 episodes available. A new episode about every 9 days averaging 35 mins duration .