I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately. I find they help me get my mind off of my homework procrastination. My guilty pleasure is cheesy romantic comedies. However, there’s one characteristic scene in this genre that has always bothered me. It’s the scene where the heroine catches her boyfriend at a restaurant with another woman. The main character confronts her boyfriend and usually gives him the stereotypical slap across the face.
Every time I see that scene, I can’t help but picture what would have happened if a man confronted a cheating girlfriend in a crowded restaurant. Slapping her would have crossed the line. Most likely, other restaurant patrons would try to help her.
So how is it that in the movies a man slapping a woman is abusive, but a woman slapping a man is empowering?
Usually when we think of double standards, we automatically associate them with women. But a very dangerous double standard affecting men has been overlooked. Our culture makes light of abusive relationships when the man is the victim.
When did it become comedic for a woman to tell her significant other who he can be friends with or how worthless he is? And more importantly, why is it funny for a woman to hit a man?
To add a quick disclaimer, I am not talking about women defending themselves from attacks. There is a very big difference between a cheating boyfriend and a man grabbing you in a parking lot.
Women have the right to defend themselves from serious harm. But a broken heart is no excuse for violence. You don’t get a free shot just because you’re a woman.
Domestic violence against men is a problem that no one seems to talk about.
A social experiment done by the ABC Primetime program “What Would You Do?” explored the issue. Two actors portraying a fighting couple were seated on a park bench. The actress threatened and insulted the actor as she hit him.
A hidden camera caught the reactions of people as they walked by. The first woman ignored the fight, later telling an interviewer that it didn’t occur to her that the man might need help. The second woman to walk by seemed pleased about the fight, and later said she assumed the man had been caught cheating.
As a matter of fact, many of the witnesses interviewed said they didn’t intervene because they assumed he had cheated on her and was getting what he deserved. Out of the 166 people who walked by, only three intervened on the man’s behalf.
The prevailing thought is that an aggressive woman is no real threat and that a man shouldn’t seek help for something so inconsequential.
We need to remember that life isn’t a movie. A woman hitting a man simply because she is angry at him is not comedy. Domestic violence, regardless of the victim’s gender, is unacceptable.