Anthony Robles wrestles for the 2011 NCAA Championship
Tags: bodies, disability, goffman, sports, theory, master status, stereotypes, stigma, subtitles/CC, 06 to 10 mins
Summary: Anthony Robles is an Arizona State University student who won the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championship, despite having only one leg. His case is an interesting example of stigma (i.e. a social or individual attribute that is devalued and discredited in a particular social context). When looking at him, people are likely to place an immediate stigma on him (note that many videos and headlines refer to him as a "one-legged wrestler" rather than "wrestler"), discrediting his physical abilities and perhaps assuming a poor performance in competitive sports. As noted by Goffman, this link is done through stereotypes, rather than objective attributes, which becomes clear in this video showing his 7-1 victory in the championship match. The tendency to qualify him as a one-legged wrestler and continually comment on his disability, as these announcers do, suggests the way a disability is used to form one's master status. In other words, Robles' missing leg becomes his primary identifying characteristic, overshadowing all other markers of status. This clip can be used in class to discuss disability, stereotypes, and master status, but it would also be useful to use the clip as a means of discussing how people often resist the stigmas assigned to them.
Submitted By: Lia Karvounis
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