Well should they?
No doubt this has been a raging topic for years, perhaps aggravated recently with many 'new age' parents wanting to raise a new crop of 'flower children' unscathed by violence and crude entertainment. No doubt WWE is huge, as the recognized leader in sports entertainment, it is a billion dollar company broadcasting to 360 million viewers in over 150 countries. It is a global brand, best described as "Broadway with body-slams". The theatrical aspect is the main ingredient to the show, with these real life superheroes adopting "good guy/bad guy" personas to provoke the audience into reacting.
WWE as its mission statement describes seeks "to put smiles on people's faces", and no doubt it does. Just Google image WWE stadium and you will see tens of thousands of passionate fans screaming, booing, chanting, but generally having the time of their lives! But is it right for children to among these viewers?WWE recommends that parents watch their programming with their kids and help to explain the fantasy/reality element. But what children wouldn't want to emulate the superstar's athleticism by practicing moves on their siblings or friends? It is almost a natural response to viewing the program. Just like after watching the food network, you want to rustle up some grub, so to after watching three hours packed with in-ring action , you probably want to thrash around a little yourself!
As wonderful as WWE's global brand is, it does expose viewers to violence, gore, blood, scantily clad women and sometimes super bad acting. Is it right for children to watch as these superstars try to make each other bleed in a steel cage match? Or watch a clearly cosmetically altered blonde gyrate in a thong as children as young as two watch from the audience? Well, I think its okay if you make it okay. As a 22-year-old, I LOVE WWE. Always have. Always will. It doesn't matter if it's real or fake, it's just plain entertaining! Where else is it appropriate to watch people beat each other up and not have to feel like a sadist? In a world of too much organic voodoo, too many breast is best brigades, and new age parenting ,sometimes watching two guys beat the lights out of each other teaches you a lot. Like don't attack someone from behind or their 500 pound bodyguard might choke slam you through a table? FUNNN!
Now I'm not saying it's okay to emulate these moves, as WWE also air warnings throughout their programming with superstars informing viewers they are professionally trained athletes who know how to perform in the ring and prevent injury. Rather than having been desensitized to violence, I feel WWE has put a 'smile on my face' and it's something that I look back at with nostalgia and something I will want to watch with my future family.