Sexualized Violence in the Media (JOUR 4250)

Is it ever OK to hit a woman? No. Is it ever OK to hit a man? No. The use of self-defense is really the only time that violence can be justified legally, morally and ethically.

Unfortunately, entertainment teaches us something different. Violence in the media is sexualized and made to be perceived as acceptable and sexy. One of the most recent examples of this is in Fifty Shades of Grey. I would think that the majority of people don’t want to be whipped or flogged by their lover. It’s not sexy—it’s violence (even if it is consensual).

A great example of sexualized violence in the media is Eminem and Rihanna’s music video for their song “Love the Way You Lie.”

The couple in the video beat each other brutally and then almost immediately make out. It’s definitely not normal to want to kiss and make love after your partner punches you and makes you bleed (man or woman)! The music video presents a false reality and the perception that violence can be tolerated and forgiven easily. I understand that Rihanna was in an abusive relationship (at least at some point) with Chris Brown and perhaps she was trying to tell her story. But healthy relationships do not involve violence in any way. Media like this music video convey another message though (that violence is acceptable and sexy).

The “slap-slap-kiss” concept is another unfortunate concept that appears in all types of media that conveys the negative message that violence is acceptable and leads to sexual activity.

There is no denying that men can be victims of domestic violence, but the majority (85 percent) of victims are women. One in four women will be victims of severe violence in an intimate relationship in their lifetimes. These statistics are so sad. What’s even worse is that many people say that men and women are equally responsible for violence against women or that women ask to be abused. If a woman asks for a man to abuse her, there are deeper issues in her life and the man should say no. That is only some kind of call for help. And the fault in domestic violence situations falls on the abuser. If a man abuses a woman, it’s the man’s fault. If a woman abuses a man, it’s the woman’s fault. If a woman abuses a woman, then it’s the abusive woman’s fault. There are no grey areas in these situations!

 

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