Friday, February 6, 2015

Domestic Violence Caused by Media

Over the years domestic violence has shrunk at an increasing rate(CSMonitor). However, one in four women will be abused sometime in their lives(CaringUnlimited). Domestic violence is classified as, “A pattern of intimidating, controlling behavior in an intimate or familial relationship that compels the victim to submit to the abuser’s wishes.” The media has created social stigmas and stereotypes that lead the people of today to grow indifferent towards abuse. One in four women report that they have been abused or had violent actions taken against them. How does social media affect the rate of domestic violence by perpetuating gender stereotypes, and should there be restrictions on what is allowed to be posted? Social media showing how the "perfect" man and woman should be has a great impact, especially on children, because boys feel the need to be the strong one while girls are told to be quiet and listen to their spouse. Restrictions should be put in place because if a child stumbles upon inappropriate content, or content that perpetuates harmful stereotypes, they will be influenced negatively and the cycle of violence will continue.

Image Credit to RamboWiki
Exposure to social media, and a lack of education, cause youth to be more accepting of violence. There is a stereotype which the media spreads that shows men being strong and aggressive. When there is violence between two males; therefore, their aggression is natural because of their higher levels of testosterone. Young teen boys are receiving the message that they need "man up." This stereotype also carries on to the abuse of men by women. When a teen is given these messages, the teen begins to believe that they can never be weak or open up. They keep their injuries and beatings to themselves.(EastTNNews. This link also has a movie about the story of a man beat by his wife and how he deals with it.) People often assume that the man is the abuser and the woman is the victim; however, men are the victim of every 2 out of 5 domestic violence cases. Many more cases are unreported because the men are so scared of being ridiculed that they would rather make up lies about fights with other men. So where do young men and women get these messages about “being a man” or “being a girl”? One platform that has a great impact because its reach is so vast is social media.
A couple years ago there was a Facebook page dedicated to jokes about rape and domestic violence. This caused a huge uproar and a massive petition to get these pages taken down. Women, Action, and Media,(A.K.A. WAM!) was the main organization that opposed these pages and anyone who believed domestic violence to be a joking matter. These posts were allowed until May 2013 when Facebook edited its policies to restrict hate speech, particularly gender based hate speech. These jokes were on Facebook publicly, so any person could have seen them. A domestic abuser could see this and think, “Oh, it’s ok. It’s funny when I beat women!” The posts were encouraging them as well as teenagers who could view this. The teens would think that domestic violence is not serious and not an issue. On the other hand, there is also the issue of restricting the freedom of speech.
Image Credit to Glen Canning

The owners of the Facebook pages were frustrated that their pages could be taken down in a matter of weeks because some people did not enjoy their content. First, the content was not forced onto the women’s activist group. They did not have to view the content if they did not want to. If a member of the Facebook page is your friend then you can just unfriend them or have a serious conversation with them.Regarding children, a parent can easily apply a filter that does not allow certain content, such as the jokes, to be viewed. This also felt like a major violation of the freedom of speech. The jokes were not physically harming anyone, and the owners were not condoning violence. This argument can be refuted by another right of US citizens and the world.

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everybody on earth is entitled to a life free of violence and security of person. Freedom of speech cannot and does not override this right. If a person feels as if they are being subject to speech that threatens them then they are fully entitled to try and have that material removed. Really, these Facebook rape jokes were not the object of WAM!’s fight. WAM! is really fighting against the social norm of gender based hate speech, and trying to raise awareness that domestic violence is not okay. Today, children have an amazing grasp of technology that no generation has ever had before. Children are using iPads at the age of three and learning to type in the second grade. These children will have no problem going into a browser’s or website’s settings and changing the filter to allow everything. It is reported that children begin watching porn as early as six years old(CharismaNews.) The teens of today are exposed to so much media. There is a new study that says teens are exposed to 31 hours a week(TheTelegraph.) This prolonged screen time will affect a teen greatly by influencing much of the way they think.

When a teen grows up with almost all free time consumed by technology then there is a huge impact on them from social media. If one teen grows up to abuse their spouse, then their children will witness the fighting. According to CaringUnlimited, whenever a teen witnesses an act of abuse then they begin to absorb that into their mind. They begin to show increased signs of aggression, lack of feeling, and replaying the act of violence along with many other problems. Restricting what is posted on the internet can decrease the amount of stigmas that teens receive; therefore, lowering the amount of domestic violence. There are many organizations out there that are dedicated to preventing domestic violence, but the question I propose to you is, what are you doing to prevent the spread of harmful stereotypes and domestic violence?

Bibliography
________________________________
Conclusion, updated March 5, 2014

Social media showing how the "perfect" man and woman should be has a great impact, especially on children, because boys feel the need to be the strong one while girls are told to be quiet and listen to their spouse. Restrictions should be put in place because if a child stumbles upon inappropriate content, or content that perpetuates harmful stereotypes, they will be influenced negatively and the cycle of violence will continue. The companies that create these gender stereotypes need to seriously consider taking a class like digital citizenship in order to learn how to be a good citizen online. Most of the comments left on my blog were not that helpful, but there were a couple that seemed to be written with thought and intelligence. Jim Raynor helped to clarify my point, when he explained how technology has evolved to become the primary link to the outside world. Unfortunately, the stereotypes and negative messages within the media therefore become more accepted and less shocking to those who are frequently exposed to it. He also showed how it is human nature to want to follow the group, no matter what the consequences might be. However, this can be used for good by having more and more people standing up to help bring more and more popularity against these stereotypes and jokes about causing harm to another individual because of their gender, race, religion, or ethnicity. Blogging is a very interesting way to share news and current events, and I feel like it is much more personal and intimate. Blogging allows you to respond to your readers and interact in ways you normally can’t. Overall, blogging has been a great experience.

13 comments:

  1. Angel, thank you for addressing such a complicated and heartbreaking topic. With all the attention domestic abuse and violence has gotten in the media lately (mostly due to high profile cases in the NFL), I was surprised to learn that overall rates of domestic violence are on the decline. Nevertheless, any abuse is too much, so I am glad you have urged us to look at the media we consume and consider it from the perspective of whether or not it makes light of abuse and violence. The "it's only a joke" defense always strikes me as offensive, shallow, and immature. What could possibly be funny about intentionally hurting/abusing/violating someone? I noticed in your bibliography you refer to the recent study that shows young men reporting they would rape "if they thought they could get away with it." Where does that attitude come from? Is it also related to your thesis that the media is the cause? You also cited an article from Vanita Sundarum, Gender Stereotypes Make Teenagers More Accepting of Violence. Can you share some of the data from that source? Thank you for tackling this issue. Plenty of us see lots of harmful messages in the media, and it's always good to be reminded of the danger of passive consumption. We need to really think about what we are watching, listening to, sharing, commenting on, laughing at.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear TeedleDum I really liked your blog. I think that you did a very good job of typing this blog and using the links to display your evidence. I thought it was interesting that you said 2/5 of domestic violence cases are men getting abused. I think that the media has a very big effect as you said because it is only solidifying the social idea of masculinity and feminism. What do you think has a bigger effect social media sites or media like TV, Movies, and games? Thanks for the blog great job-TweedleDee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello TweedleDee, thank you for your response. I believe that both social media and media like TV, Movies, etc. affect the youth and stopping sexism on one platform will not be effective without the other also being monitored. My blog shows how much screen time that an average teen gets, so the average teen will still get over 15 hours a week. Here is an article that shows how much social media has grown over the years.
      Thank You,
      TweedleDum

      Delete
  3. Good job TweedleDum for writing on this dark topic. For several years now, the media has been the primary link to the outside world for adults, children, and especially teens. Unfortunately, the stereotypes and negative messages within the media therefore become more accepted and less shocking to those who are frequently exposed to it. Name one movie where a woman was the one who picked up the gun to kill the bad guys and save the man in distress or one social media post joking about the physical abuse of men by women. It is in human nature to repeat the actions of the majority of the group, no matter how regrettable those actions might be. Fortunately, we can reverse this in the same way. All it takes is a few people to help bring more and more popularity against these stereotypes and jokes about causing harm to another individual because of their gender, race, religion, or ethnicity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jim Raynor, thank you so much for reading my blog. I agree that there are very few movies where the woman saves the man, but this article provides a few examples. I believe that these movies will help to provide strong basis for women.
      Thank You,
      TweedleDee

      Delete
  4. Hi TweedleDum! Great article! I particularly liked your references to WAM! The organization wants to fight attacks on women in media not just by taking on social media, but also making us more aware of the way media in general diminishes women and their potential. News reporting and commentary, for example, are heavily weighted towards positive portrayals of men, giving women minor roles as writers or reporters and/or covering them as victims in news stories. I also noted, by following several of the links within your sources, that sites designed to inform possible victims of domestic violence have a special escape button that when hit erases the screen and the link, so no one can click the back button and see what was on the screen previously. This really brought home to me how fearful and helpless victims can feel. Thank you for posting on this topic!--Ms. Riches

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Ms. Riches, thank you for choosing to leave a comment on my blog. WAM! is a great organization and will be a valuable asset in bringing about a world of equality. Here is an article that shows how a woman can resort to lethal means of self-defense. There is only a certain amount that you can push people before they retaliate.
      Thank You,
      Angel Ortiz

      Delete
  5. Hello, this is a interesting topic to write about. The only thing I have against this is that I would not want to watch a movie that does not have action in it. I think the media is going to do whatever they can to make more money. This is not bad unless they break the law by underrating a movie. I ask you if you would watch a movie without conflict, I know that I would not want to watch a movie like that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roman23458, I appreciate your support by replying to my blog. I am a little confused by your question. I understand a movie needs to have conflict, climax, and all the other parts, but I imagine that this could be done in a way that does not encourage gender stereotypes or enforce sexism. There is a movie called In The Blood which has conflict and has a woman heroine. Here is an article where some movies with some heroines are introduced.
      Thank You,
      TweedleDum

      Delete

Our comments will be moderated, meaning someone will approve them before they appear.

Good comments
--are always related to the content of the post;
--consider the author and the purpose of the post;
--ask or answer a question;
--add meaningful information to the content topic;
--are constructively critical, and never hurtful;
--include personal connections to what the author wrote;
--follow the writing process.

We welcome your thoughtful contributions, especially those that might help us improve our work or expand our thinking on these topics.

If you choose the Anonymous option, please sign your name if comfortable. It is easier to respond to someone with a name. Thanks!