Monday, May 10, 2010

More on Female Violence in the Media

Last Friday I wrote a post about the prevalence of female violence against men in the media and the double standards regarding it versus the portrayal of male violence against women. Then later in the weekend, I saw the first episode of Farscape for the very first time (yes, I realize that it came out eleven years ago). Early on, there's a scene where a human man from Earth is in a cell in an alien ship with a figure in a flight suit and helmet. The person takes off their helmet, revealing a female human face. The man goes over to talk to her and the woman apparently thinks he's a deserter or spy and proceeds to attack him by kneeing him, punching him, knocking him to the ground, and standing over him with her foot on top of him. Naturally, she suffers no consequences for her brutal assault, whereas in TV and film, any man who merely hits a woman will have something bad happen to him, usually at the hands of the woman he hit and probably involving a groin kick.

Now, if the roles were reversed, even today feminist blogs would still be ranting about this as evidence of the "prevalence" of "violence against women" in movies and TV. Instead, this kind of assault is viewed as empowering grrl power, even though the man basically did nothing wrong. Indeed, it seems to be a requirement that if a woman is to be shown as a "strong, empowered woman" she has to beat up one or more men. The only exception I can think to this trope is in Starship Troopers (the movie, not the book) when Dizzy fights a drill sergeant for the right to join his training unit... and ends up loosing (though the drill sergeant respects her and ends up accepting her into the unit).

I've noticed that a lot of this grrrl power and glamorized female-on-male violence comes from movies and TV directed at nerds, such as sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book films (such as in Iron Man 2 - discussed today by Elusive Wapiti at The Spearhead). For a while I've been thinking that Ferdinand Bardamu was correct when he called gamers and nerds manginas over at The Spearhead and that I was wrong when I defended them.

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