Sure, it’s “just entertainment” but it is also a belief system that condones the abuse of men. Why do we think that is funny?
In the wake of the Ray Rice domestic abuse case, it was a question that brought out a lot of voices, and a lot of emotion. Ask people what would justify a man hitting a woman and most of them would say, “Absolutely nothing.”
And in the aftermath of child abuse accusations against Adrian Peterson and Jonathan Dwyer, the question of what justifies hitting a child brought out even greater emotion. Even proponents of spanking mostly agreed, hitting a child in anger, or hard enough to do damage, is never OK.
So what justifies hitting a man? Or kicking him in his most anatomically vulnerable area?
“Absolutely nothing,” right?
Men, women, children — they’re people. And it is never OK to hit people.
(Although this video from The ManKind Initiative reveals that 40 percent of domestic violence is suffered by men.)
Then why, if it’s not unusual, and it’s not OK to hit men, did the women on The Talk, and at least the noise-making members of their audience, think it was “about time” a woman hit a man? (And why do the bystanders in The ManKind Initiative‘s video intervene when a man seems to be abusing a women, but laugh when a woman seems to be abusing a man?)
I’d never seen The Talk before. I don’t watch television as a rule, but had made the mistake of having my nails done in a place that had several, all tuned to The Talk, and all with the sound up and/or the script running across the bottom of the screen.
So it was hard to avoid.
The episode started with the then-breaking story of the sexual abuse accusations against Steven Collins, which was described as “juicy” and Anderson Cooper’s reveal of his mother’s escapades (his mother is Gloria Vanderbilt) also “juicy,” but when they introduced Bellamy Young, of Scandal (another show I’ve never seen) the talk was of her experience meeting the real first family and of hair — hers and the wigs she wears for the show.
Then the talk turned to what Bellamy’s character, First Lady Mellie Grant, has been going through on the show. Serious topics; long repressed stories of rape, tragic loss of a child, questions of paternity. These were also declared “juicy” with much laughter and palms rubbing together while the hosts quickly moved to the most “juicy” scene.
“Your character, Mellie, did finally do something that fans of Scandal had been rooting for since season one, is that you slapped your cheating husband.”
This (the screen grab to the left) was Bellamy’s reaction to that statement.
It seems that, on the show, her character’s husband has been having an affair with another women. And the writing team decided it was finally time for her character to do something about it.
So they wrote into the script that she would slap him. Hard.
It’s a show. Let’s leave off discussing the ways in which media and entertainment influence acceptable behavior. Let’s just take a look at the very real belief system displayed by the women in the show I was watching.
You don’t need to watch the whole show unless you find it entertaining, it’s behind a paywall, but if you have a CBS account you can see it here. The clip in question is available on the YouTube video below, although you’ll miss another host saying;
“I just remember thinking, it’s about time, she needs to kick him a couple of places too.”
Look at the facial expressions, listen to the voice tones, pay attention to the audience response.
Now, ask yourself, if that had been a group of men, talking about what should be done to a women who was having an affair with another man, what would have been different? In their script, and in your response.
Violence is violence. Physical assault is physical assault. Gender is irrelevant. Except, it isn’t.
Photos: YouTube/The Talk