A Great Big Thank You to Guest Blogger Scott Woodward
As a young male I find it quite troubling to watch examples of violence against men in popular culture depicted as humorous. In many sitcoms and movies, scenes are regularly shown where a man is threatened or intimidated with violence by a girl’s father. Other situations displaying women slapping their boyfriends or husbands are also routinely illustrated, and don’t get me started about all the Lorena Bobbit jokes I hear.
Now usually I do not let these poor attempts at wit bother me. I shake it off and move on. It’s not good to get offended every time I see distasteful humor while watching television? However, I recently came across several cartoons making the rounds via facebook and I felt I had to put my foot down.
The four images I share on this post raise plenty of questions concerning the patriarchal paradigm and its relationship to how we as a society view domestic violence and female sexuality.
Does Daddy Own His Daughters?
Is a woman worth more than just her hymen? The double standards of sex are very prevalent here. I am constantly reminded of a criminal justice professor of mine who was around to witness the civil rights movements of the 1960’s. She constantly reminds us of the double standards of sex concerning women. A female who is promiscuous is a garden tool (otherwise known as a ‘ho’) while a promiscuous man is known as a stud or ladies man.
I have heard these opinions expressed through a paradigm of thinking known as the “transactional view” of sex. In this archetype of thought sex is something that women poses, and men desire. A woman that ‘gives up’ her body quite easily is considered less desirable from both her potential lover and her family members.
Are a girl and her sexuality the property of her father? A girl is going to make her own decisions about when she wants to have sex and it is very important that she makes that decision when she is ready, hopefully when she is of legal age and when she has the mental and emotional capacity to process all that being sexually active entails. Furthermore, it could be detrimental to a teenage girl’s development of relationship building skills for her trigger-happy father to be standing watch over potential dates.
What is the big deal, your daughter may be having sex? Teaching young girls about safe sex and methods of birth control is just as important as teaching young boys to use condoms. As a potential father some day, I promised myself a long time ago that if I were to have a daughter I would not be an overbearing parent and I will teach her about sex the same way I would teach my son. Besides, everyone eventually has sex, if that wasn’t the case then the human race would cease to exist!
As for the fathers that are not mature enough to get over the fact that everyone eventually has sex, maybe you should have your daughter’s genitals cut and force her to wear the niqab?
Is There Truly Comedy In Role-Reversal?
The other side of these cartoons addresses how we view men in cases of domestic violence. Under the patriarchal paradigm women are weak and always victims. Men are always strong and aggressors. Domestic violence is a form of oppression that exists in relationships. Since men have historically oppressed women, women are always depicted as victims at the hands of horrible men.
This model of thinking is the basis for domestic violence research such as the Duluth Model. It is also less advantageous to us men because it creates a comedic outcome from the traditional oppressor and the oppressed switching roles.
The golden rule applies to healthy relationships. Violence against both men and women is wrong! Respect in a relationship is always a two-way street. I will never abuse a girl that I am dating either verbally or physically and expect the same amount of respect in return. Violence that exists in any direction in a relationship is unhealthy and should stop immediately.
Dating Violence Backed Up By Daddy
You may be asking yourself why I find these images offensive. The answer is, I am a male victim of dating violence.
When I was 19 years old I dated a girl who grew up in a home with an abusive father. Her dad suffered from Schizophrenia. Chronic anger, hallucinations, alcohol dependency, and long term unemployment (about 30 years) were some of the symptoms and things he had to overcome. His behavior fit the classic example of an abuser.
She was no different and displayed the warning signs of abuse. After roughly two months of dating she started to show her true colors. I soon realized that I was incapable of doing anything right in our relationship. She thought I wanted to hook up with her friends, would use her dad and brother to intimidate me with violence, and sometimes just yelled at me. She didn’t seem to understand my behavior and I definitely did not understand hers.
Her dad owned a .40 caliber handgun despite having spent a night in jail for punching his wife in the face after discovering she slept with another man. Anyway, during the process of our breakup her dad called me and threatened to kill me just as these cartoons illustrate. Being that I was young at the time, I was really scared and feared for my life. Needless to say our relationship was over, I learned the hard way that men too can be victims of dating violence and domestic violence.
I once saw a twitter post from a domestic violence non-profit agency claiming that jokes about domestic violence are not funny. Surely everyone finds jokes about women being abused in poor taste but what about when men are the victims? I thought about all the examples of violence against men that I see and hear about in popular culture. I asked myself, “Why is this tolerable?” I am glad I’m finally putting my foot down and saying enough is enough! Violence against men is no laughing matter.
By Guest Blogger Scott Woodward - friend him on facebook
Scott worked really hard on this and it is brave of him to share his story of abuse so openly! Please tell him what you think in the comments below.