Gender and Violence

March 19, 2009 at 11:38 am 9 comments


One of my favorite things about Googly Eyes (besides the fact that it’s awesome) is the intelligent debates/conversations we often have through comments. I would like to use this post mostly as a means of creating a discourse to consider an ever-growing topic in the news: violence and gender.

So we all know the Chris Brown/Rihanna story, and I’m pretty certain that any woman who was raised with a shred of self-respect would say that this was not okay. Regardless of if she pissed him off or read his texts or whatthefuckever, there’s no excuse to hit a woman and especially no excuse or justification for beating a woman as badly as Brown beat Rihanna. He should serve time for assault, and she should get the hell away from him as soon as possible, and permanently.

There’s a piece in the New York Times today pondering the topic of violence and dating, in which teen girls were interviewed about the Brown/Rihanna abuse. One of the girls says, “She probably made him mad for him to react like that,” the other ninth grader said. “You know, like, bring it on?” Another quote on why the teens think Brown shouldn’t be punished: “So he shouldn’t get into trouble if she doesn’t feel that way,” one girl said. “She probably feels bad that it was her fault, so she took him back.”

Another excerpt from the article? “On a Facebook discussion, one girl wrote, ‘she probly ran into a door and was too embarrassed so blamed it on Chris.'” (How many times has this girl’s mother “ran into a door” at home?) This is upsetting because these girls obviously feel like if you make a man mad, you deserve to be subject to physical abuse, and if you really love him, you’ll take him back. This is probably one of the most twisted definitions of love I can imagine, and it’s probably a common definition for many teenagers

In contrast to this story, however, I have been noticing a lot of stories on the topic of women hitting men. Has this always been common? Or is the media just covering it more now, as dating/violence has become a hot topic? Or maybe women are finally fighting back? I don’t know, and this is what I’d like to discuss.

Is a woman hitting a man the same as a man hitting a woman? Is one more permissible than the other? Should female on male assault be treated the same way as typical domestic abuse? Or should men “man up” in response to isolated violent incidents, and suffer silently and privately the way women have for decades? Here are a few recent news sources focusing on a man who was beaten by a woman, and in many cases, the woman is arrested after the man calls the police:

Kenley Collins Throws Cat at Fiancee (Is throwing a cat at someone crazy? Yes. Is it likely to result in injury for anyone but the cat? Probably not.)

Woman Stabs Man For Lewd Remark (This man sexually harassed the woman, and then spit on her. I kind of feel like he deserved to be beat up, if only to function as an example for all the other scrubby dirty men who yell at women on the street and make them afraid to walk alone.)

Real Housewife Arrested for Beating Up Boyfriend (The woman doling out the beat-down is over 6′, so I can see how she might do some major damage. Or is this guy just looking for media attention and publicity?)

And an old one, Liza Minnelli Allegedly Batters David Gest.

I’m very interested to hear people’s thoughts on these stories and this topic.


Entry filed under: Alison, News and Boos. Tags: , , , , .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. neekaps  |  March 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    I say cut of his penis while he’s sleeping
    like lorena bobbit

    can any one say: battered girlfriend syndrome

  • 2. Betty  |  March 19, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    First, I think this “Or is the media just covering it more now, as dating/violence has become a hot topic?” is the reason for the sudden upswing in stories. That’s almost always the case with trends in the media- it’s not because it’s actually occurring more, it just suddenly becomes popular to write about.

    My first instinct is to say that a girl can’t do as much damage to a guy, but obviously that’s just based on gender stereotypes. A guy isn’t *supposed* to be hurt by a girl’s physical attack, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t. I would never, ever hit someone, let alone someone I was in a relationship with. I’d be pretty aghast if anyone I knew- male or female- attacked their sig-oth. I read a blog recently where a couple got into a fight, so when he left the apartment, she put his guitar in the bathtub and peed on it. Repeatedly. And she was on her period. Funny, sure, but clearly kind of crazy.

    So, yeah. I think it’s the perception of the “weaker gender” that makes us more tolerant of women hitting men, (as well as the fact that there are SIGNIFICANTLY fewer cases of female assault on their male partner), but no violence should ever be tolerated (except in defense against another physical attack).

  • 3. parkrangerolivia  |  March 19, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    I definitely think that this is becoming more and more popular in media not just because it’s “hip” or “hot right now” but because questioning womens’ increasingly dominant role in society is a constant topic of debate.

    Remember “pumas” and “cougars”? I feel like this is just the next wave. It’s sick that “Omfg, increased dominance of woman demonstrated in x and y situation!” is now a trend in headlines. Men have been beating women for millenia- don’t be surprised that it happens the other way around, NY times!

    It’s hard for me to have a distanced opinion on this subject, however. I come from a family where violence, arranged marriage, and getting hitched at 13 was the norm…and I’ve witnessed all of these unions grow positively. Maybe it’s because today it’s just so unforgivable to hit someone that it’s hard to watch Rihanna’s reaction. I know it is for me. But culturally (she’s Caribbean, after all), maybe there is something bigger going on here, however inexcusable we find it.

  • 4. alisaurus  |  March 19, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Betty I know you were referencing Tracy Egan’s blog. Funny as she is, she is truly a disgusting human being for urinating on anything intentionally. Especially the prized possession of someone she loves. Gross! I’d probably prefer a weak beating.

    What do you guys think about men calling the cops on women for hitting them? In the high-profile cases mentioned here, it’s very possible that the men only called the cops because they were hoping to get some publicity – do you think that is the norm? Or should it be?

  • 5. Betty  |  March 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Olivia, I think just because something positive CAN come out of violence and violations of rights, it doesn’t mean it should be accepted or even tolerated. That mindset has also helped nurture a culture where a man can throw acid on a woman’s face in the street and not be prosecuted. In the past few years that’s changed, and in the most recent case, a woman was able to decide her attacker’s punishment- she asked for 5 drops of acid to be dropped into each of his eyes, rendering him blind for the rest of his life. So yeah, this makes them even? I guess? but no one comes out ahead. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, right?

    So you’re probably right, there are definite cultural factors at work here, the influence of cultures where girls are told they’re worse than boys, or that they shouldn’t do anything against a male (such as pressing charges for an attack). I don’t believe any culture is sacred, though. I believe humanity’s best accomplishments come from evolving and learning, and looking the other way in the face of atrocity and oppression hurts all of us.

    As far as Rihanna’s reaction, doesn’t the latest news have it that they’re “on a break”, which I guess people are taking to mean that they’ve broken up? All of that “reconciliation in Miami” stuff was leaked by Brown’s PR flaks and probably isn’t true.

    Alison, I think the case you’re talking about is the one where the woman found her husband with three prostitutes, attacked him, and he called the cops? In that case he sounds like total scum, but I stand by my original statement. People are people are people, regardless of gender, and if a man feels he’s being threatened and can’t fend for himself, absolutely he should call the police. In these specific instances, yeah it’s possible that they were calling the police for some ulterior motive, but I don’t think that has to do with the gender relationship- I know of parents that call the cops on their pre-teens or whatever all the time, regardless of actual physical danger. Some people will always use that card just because they’re nuts.

  • 6. alisaurus  |  March 19, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    The case I was mostly thinking of was the Kenley Collins one. The headline is all about how she threw a cat and some apples at him… and I was like, he’s such a pussy for calling the cops. But then when you read the article, she actually slammed a door on his head, which seems way more serious than having a cat thrown at you. I’m mostly concerned for the cat’s well-being.

    Also, re: Rihanna, all the latest media stuff I’ve heard is that they are “on a break” but not broken up. Not that I put much stock into what the celebrity media says, but it kinda sounds like this is some effort to save face for Rihanna after so immediately taking him back and the public outrage that ensued. Either way, in all honesty, my main concern in the whole debacle is the bad example it sets for female youth. Based on the Times piece it doesn’t seem like many young women are very well-educated on the topic of violence in relationships, and seeing this kind of behavior/attitude come from someone they admire, regardless of their cultural background, doesn’t help.

    And I agree with all the other stuff you said.

  • 7. parkrangerolivia  |  March 20, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I never said it should be tolerated…please read where I put “inexcusable”. Thanks. 😦

  • 8. Betty  |  March 20, 2009 at 3:34 am

    Olivia- I know you don’t believe that it’s justifiable or tolerable. I was responding mostly to the part where you’re saying that even though there’s violence, etc. in situations you’ve witnessed, it worked out okay in the end. I was just clarifying that even if it does sometimes work out, there are a lot of reasons it doesn’t, and that those kind of actions tend to be symptomatic of larger problems within a culture. I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page!

  • 9. parkrangerolivia  |  March 20, 2009 at 8:58 am

    No way man, slapping bitches around is all part of a healthy relationship. Especially in public.


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