One of the strangest parts of modern culture is the hypocrisy of how we as a society respond to violence against women versus how we respond to violence against men.
This hypocrisy is especially blatant when we observe media portrayal of violence agains either gender. The director almost always encourages audience sympathy for a female character who doles out violence against a man in film, while directors encourage audience anomosity and hatred for male characters who doles out violence against women.
And on television and even children’s shows, violence against men is often portrayed as comic relief. In effect, violence against men is normalize for everyone, starting as early as childhood.
Violence Against Men in Children’s Shows
If an alien were to land on Earth and observe what we teach our children about what forms of violence are to be tolerated and in fact even laughed at, they would assume there’s something seriously wrong with the morality of our society.
Imagine a world where we’d normalized violence against female characters by swapping up the genders and having characters getting punched or hit in the breasts – with characters flailing and crying, and the audience laughing.
However, such a scene would never make it through the cutting room floor, because no one laughs when a woman is the victim of violence, especially sexual violence. They shouldn’t laugh, regardless of the victim’s gender.
Warren Farrell described this strange social phenomenon best when he wrote:
“Violence against Men As Women’s Liberation Thelma and Louise was widely touted as a film of women’s liberation. (It was, for example, the only film celebrated by the National Organization for Women at its twenty-fifth convention.) Never in American history have two men been celebrated as heroes of men’s liberation after they deserted their wives, met one female jerk after another, and then killed one woman and left another woman stuffed in a trunk in 120-degree desert heat. Male serial killers are condemned—not celebrated—at men’s liberation conventions. The moment a men’s movement calls it a sign of empowerment or brotherhood when men kill women is the moment I will protest it as fascism.”― Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power
Have you ever noticed that the TV show Funniest Home Videos constantly featured countless clips of men having groin accidents as a form of comedy, yet never was there a single clip showing the same thing happening to women. Not one. Strange isn’t it? It surely happened – but no one thought to mail in the tape.
Have such incidents happened? Yes, countless times — you can find many examples of women accidentally getting hit in the groin and dropping to the ground for minutes in severe pain. In many cases crying and curled up in the fetal position. Funny thing though – no one laughs.
The reason no one laughs when it happens to women is because as a society we haven’t had violence against women normalized since childhood. People don’t find it funny or appealing in any way.
Why Are People Okay with Violence Against Men?
The reason movie directors constantly turn to a groin hit when scripting a film is because society accepts it. Society also accepts it (in fact many feminists applaud it) when a women commits a violent act against a man in a film, particularly if that man is created as a stereotypical bigot, cheater, or womanizer.
While no one would applaud a man choosing to conduct a violent act against a woman for cheating on him, or even if she started hitting him first, people turn a blind eye when a woman chooses to initiate violence against a man even when a man hasn’t raised a finger against her.
Society’s desensitization regarding violence against men is best explained, again, by author Warren Farrell. In his book The Myth of Male Power, explained that historically societies HAD to desensitize that society to harm against a male body or the loss of male life, otherwise expecting men to be the ones to sacrifice their health or their lives to protect females in the society would be viewed as exceedingly unfair and in fact oppressive.
“We have seen that it was the sacrifice of men’s lives that historically led to everyone’s survival. So societies unconsciously taught themselves not to care too much about men’s lives. Notice how this greater caring about a-Warren Farrell, The Myth of Male Power
woman’s survival is unconsciously highlighted in headlines.”
However, just as technological advancements have helped society to empower women to choose a career over being a homemaker, and to take on jobs that formerly society considered only men to be capable of — those same technological achievements should now allow us to stop expecting men to be the protectors of everyone.
In 2015, the Pentagon finally removed the restriction of allowing women in front-line combat positions in the military. Yet, the Selective Service still only requires men to register or else be denied access to Federal Student Financial Aid and barred from jobs in the government. Yet, this sexist requirement for men is in direct contradiction to the Pentagon’s stance that women are just as capable as men to take on full combat roles.
It’s Time to Value Male Life and Health Too
The time has come to stop desensitizing children to violence against men. It’s time to stop using violence against men as a source of comic relief. It’s time to value every life in our society as equally valuable and important — and if we as a society (everyone who is allowed to vote for war – men and women alike) decide that war is necessary, we must all share that responsibility equally.
The next time you’re sitting in a theater or watching a TV show at home with the family and you see yet another scene where either a groin hit is used as a source of comedy, or you see a female committing a violent act against a man as an “acceptable” response to something that man says or does — ask yourself, if the genders were reversed and a man acted out in violence just as that woman did, would you find it acceptable? Would you laugh? Would you applaud even if the woman was a horrible person?
If you truly believe that men and women should be treated fairly and equally in our society, then the simple answer to those questions should be obvious. Unprovoked violence when no one is violently threatening you first, should never be acceptable, whether you’re a man or a woman.
But let me warn you, once you’ve opened your eyes and you see this hypocrisy in cartoons, TV shows, and movies, you won’t be able to unsee it. You’ll recognize it everywhere.
So, expose it. Call it out for the hypocrisy it is on social media. Write to movie producers and complain.
This desensitization of violence against men will never come to an end unless we as a society stop condoning it.