Our culture is engulfed in media. We often hear people discussing who has the newest hit song or the best movies out in theaters. Media is one of our top sources of entertainment, but what happens when media is teaching society violence and crime?
Domestic violence is a topic that is frequently taken too lightly in the media. It is often glorified in the songs we listen to and the movies and television shows we watch. Unfortunately as a result, this desensitizes viewers to the seriousness of abuse.
Some examples of violence in the media include:
Domestic Violence in Popular Music
“Misery” by Maroon 5 music video
The video shows a woman constantly beating her significant other (Adam Levine) while he keeps going back to kiss her. He takes the abuse and still wants to be with her. This could give the impression that it is acceptable to stay in an abusive relationship. Although Maroon 5’s intentions probably weren’t to glorify domestic violence, they are making the issue seem as if it is something sexy. Domestic violence is in no way sexy and it has no place in any relationship. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g6g2mvItp4)
Domestic Violence in Popular Television Shows
The popular television show “Gossip Girl” has also shown domestic violence scenes. The romantic relationship between characters Blair and Chuck turns violent when Blair tells Chuck that she is engaged to another man. Chuck tries to place ownership over her by saying “you are mine”. He becomes so enraged that he punches a window and barely misses her face with his fist. Blair runs out of the room with a bloody cheek from the glass of the broken window.
This relationship can be seen as romanticizing domestic violence. In the scene mentioned above, teens may think Chuck hit the window behind Blair because he was so in love with her and was angry that he couldn’t have her. Breaking or throwing objects during an argument is not a healthy or safe way to express emotions. Domestic violence and love never mix and violence is never a result of love. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=550-FDajRJQ)
Around this time last year, the popular television show Family Guy aired an episode that showed an abusive relationship between characters Brenda and Jeff. This show is known for its offbeat humor, but viewers have noted that this episode has taken the “joke” too far. Brenda tries to stick up for her boyfriend, Jeff, by giving reasons for his abuse. Viewers also see Jeff violently pull and push Brenda outside, call her offensive names and later in the show she is seen with a black eye. Wendy Walsh, co-host of “The Doctors” stated “They made fun of the victim more than they made fun of the assailant. The main theme of the show was about this poor stupid woman who was too dumb to leave her relationship. Domestic violence is far more complicated than that.” The show doesn’t go into any detail about the dynamics of domestic violence and may leave viewers to believe it is an issue that can be joked about. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5qyHEYeGNM)
Celebrities Making Light of a Serious Issue
Joan Rivers’ Controversial Tweet
Joan Rivers took to Twitter to share her opinion about Rihanna’s recent interview about her relationship with Chris Brown. According to Huffingtonpost.com, Rihanna was recently on Oprah’s show talking about her relationship with Chris Brown and she stated, “It’s awkward. I still love him. My stomach drops. I have to maintain this poker face and not let it get to the other part of me”. Joan Rivers responded to this issue by tweeting “Rihanna confessed to Oprah Winfrey that she still loves Chris Brown. Idiot! Now it’s MY turn to slap her”. Rivers not only joked about the issue but also said it was her turn to participate in the violence by slapping Rihanna. While Rivers was trying to make a joke, domestic violence is no joking matter. Celebrities are often very influential in society’s opinions and thoughts about certain issues. Their words and actions can impact people of all ages. A celebrity joking about an issue as serious as domestic violence isn’t acceptable and shouldn’t be tolerated. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/24/joan-rivers-rihanna-chris-brown-domestic-violence-joke_n_1828723.html)
These are just a few examples of the many forms of domestic violence seen in media today. So what can we do about it? How can we express to others that the violence we see in the media can’t be played out in real life? We need to take our part in discussing these videos and songs with others. We need to explain that just because someone’s idol is participating in the violence doesn’t make it acceptable. Whether a person believes the media desensitizes society to domestic violence or not, it is still an issue that needs to be addressed. Get the conversation started to help end domestic violence!
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit http://hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
Written by: Brittany Mitrick