TV Violence

Menstuff® has compiled information, books and resources on the issue of TV violence.

The Television Hit Parade - A Different Perspective
10 Guys Getting Slapped On Screen
And the Beat Goes On

Children & Violence
TV Violence May Spur Aggression in Boys
General Issue of Violence
The Slap Fetish -- Have You Ever Hit a Guy?

Where to Write

Related Issues: Talking With Kids About Tough Issues,
on anger, violence-general, violence-domestic, violence-rape, violence-sexual

The Television Hit Parade - A Different Perspective

What would you do if, in a two day period, you saw 5 prime-time television programs, primarily, but not solely comedies, where men shoved, slapped or hit women a total of 41 times? Would you get upset, picket, write or call the local television station or network, your person in Congress, or even President Clinton?

Well, September 30 and October 2, 1996, when I first started this story, something very similar happened. Monday: Melrose Place promo - woman slaps man once, man slaps woman 0 times. Married with Children - 3 women slap 3 men 6 times, men slap women 0 times. Wednesday - News Radio - woman slaps man 4 times, 2nd woman slaps man once, man slaps women 0 times; Men Behaving Badly promo - woman slaps man once, man slaps woman 0 times; Actual show - no slapping during this episode but the show's lead-in has cuts from old movies where 18 different women slap 18 different men. The final scene shows a woman giving a roundhouse punch to a man knocking him through and flattening a door. Men slapped women 0 times. Seinfeld promo - woman shoves Seinfeld and he falls backward and hits the floor. All of this in just two days of our new prime time television season. In all cases, the women knew the men they shoved, slapped, or hit. In many of these situations, they were in relationship with each other. And, on America's Funniest Videos, men are constantly shown getting hit, kicked, or bitten in the crotch and everyone laughs. And things haven't changed much. Just last week another Melrose Place promotion shows a woman slapping a man, and even Suddenly Susan has stooped that low to get ratings. In their promo, three women gave slaps that turned the head to three coworkers in their office. All were stupid reasons. The last one depicts one of the men merely asking a woman "What time is it?"  She slaps him. He says, "What was that for?"  She says, "You know I don't wear a watch."

Do you think it's funny? Or, do you think, "But, that's different." Or, "He probably deserved it for what he said." No one would dare ask that question of a woman who has just been slapped by a man. We know that if a man slaps, hits or even restrains a violent women, the man is the criminal. Think about the confusion this message presents to our children.

Take the recent case of the six-year old boy who was charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate. It's said that children don't even have a concept of morality until around seven or eight. When they are old enough to understand what is "appropriate", by this societies standards, sitcoms like the above and dramatic shows like LAPD and Chicago Hope continue to subtly teach our children this double standard whereby a woman is allowed, supported and even outwardly encouraged to resort to violence towards a man for something he said (witness the daily dredge on talk shows), yet a man is severely punished, if not imprisoned for doing the same thing. Yet, girls hit and slap boys everyday on school playgrounds and campuses, and worse than being tolerated, it's not even noticed. (The movie "Jennifer's in Jail" is one of the few exceptions.)

Have you noticed? Have you gotten upset? Have you written or called anyone to complain? Does it matter? Know that, regardless of how the law is seen differently depending on the sex of the aggressor, there is no valid reason to initiate physical violence against another human being for something that is said. Only excuses. In making the world safe for children, we must say no to all violence, whether comedic or serious. If you're not part of the solution to stop violence in all forms, then YOU are the problem. And, one way to start being part of the solution is to see what messages are being given at your local schools, and write or email your friends, representatives in congress, national television networks and local stations and let them know you don't think it's funny. Think about it!

Footnote: The Reverend Al Sharpton, when asked about the media coverage of Gansta Rapper, the late Notorious B.I.G., said "Why are they always blaming everything on the rappers?  Don't blame the youth. Blame the wicked culture. Every Sunday night on TV, Angela Lansbury taught these kids violence on Murder, She Wrote...blame the re-runs of Have Gun, Will Travel and Gunsmoke."

10 Guys Getting Slapped On Screen by Olivia Allin

If you watched “Mad Men” on Sunday night, like you should have, you probably noticed that Don Draper was a lot less mad in bed. Instead, he turned over the power to his lady friend who slapped him a whole bunch and I’ve got to say, it was kind of hot. I’ve only slapped a guy for legitimate reasons maybe twice in my life and it was super satisfying. But slapping happens way, way more often in the movies and on television. And since man-slapping is so much fun, we’ve rounded up videos of men getting slapped in TV shows and movies. (Editor's note: This article was posted on the web and is written by a woman saying it's okay to slap someone for what they say. I bet it just applies to men as victims of domestic violence. I would love to see her reaction and the reaction of those women who believe it's okay, to experience these same shows where the man halls off and slaps the woman for something she said. After all, isn't this what many women have been fighting for all these years - true equality? Hmm. Or is it another one of many double-standards that still exist and often are hilighted in on-air promotions for the shows?)

Zac Efron - I get slapped (17 again) 
My favorite thing about “17 Again” was the fact that Zac Efron gets slapped about nine times over the course of its hour and a half.

Chuck Sarah "Sarah slapped Chuck" 02x14
I don’t really follow “Chuck,” but this moment when his girlfriend Sarah slaps him is pretty adorable.

Felicity - Noel Gets Bitch Slapped
I bet you forgot all about “Felicity,” but you might remember this awesome b**ch slap Noel received from guest star Tyra Banks, ‘cause it’s pretty fantastic.

Gossip Girl Blast: Slap
You’d think that Chuck Bass would be receiving most of the slaps on “Gossip Girl,” but Serena slapped Dan pretty good for sleeping with her teacher that one time and it was pretty ineffective since she started grinning afterward.

The Vampire Dairies 1x03 - Elena Slaps Damon
I’m not sure if anyone else is watching “The Vampire Diaries,” but I’m totally addicted to it and Elena and Damon’s sexual tension is one of the driving forces, despite the fact that she’s dating his brother.

[CSI NY] Mac Taylor gets SLAPPED! lol (Has been removed)
“CSI: NY” probably gets their fair share of slaps, but rarely are they this powerful. Mac Taylor is probably still reeling.

Dwight gets slapped in the face by Jim (Has been removed)
In one of the best comedic slaps of all time, Jim slaps Dwight on “The Office” and makes one of those really cute faces he’s so good at making.

How I Mey Your Mother - The Fourth Slap (Has been removed)
Some of the most epic slaps on television are on “How I Met Your Mother,” where Marshall earned five slaps to deliver to Barney in a slap bet. This one is the fourth slap which occurred last Thanksgiving, when Lily’s dad showed up.

Keeping up with the Kardashians: Khloe' slaps S... (Has been removed)
“Keeping up with the Kardashians” is never low on drama, but it got juicy when Khloe Kardashian slapped her sister Kourtney‘s boyfriend, Scott Disick, across the face.

And the Beat Goes On

We're not big television viewers. However, here is an ongoing list of 1999 shows that promote women as the perpetrators of violence and men as receivers (dare we say victim). There is at least one incidence per evening in the normal sitcoms and promos for sitcoms. (I'm taking a year-off watching TV during 2000 but I'm sure not much has changed, at least for the better.)

Of everything that happens in a 30+ minute show, why do the networks use the hitting scenes in their 10 second show promos?  And why doesn't anyone else notice?  And why isn't anyone else upset about it?  If it were women getting slapped, hit and kicked, would anyone notice?  Much less do something about it?  I think so. What's the difference?  Could it be a general numbness that says men deserve whatever they get?  Or is the current culture based on misandry - the hatred of men - and not just woman hating men. Men hating ourselves for being men. Think about your reaction to all this. Then think about why you reacted the way you did. And, what you plan to do about it. Just in case it might be action, you'll find all the networks, many of the shows, and other major media web sites, and some e-mail and snail mail addresses the Where to Write.

ebit: We did what we suggest you do back in 1996 without one single response. It's not necessarily guns or video games that has become the problem. It's television making fun of violence linked with a culture that enjoys shame and ridicule until some young boy can't take it any more and blows somebody away, often the perpetrator of the ridicule. Ridicule runs rampant in our schools, replacing self-esteem at a rapid rate. Now, we have to live with the consequences.

Fox TV Continues to Promote Domestic Violence

An hour and 28 minutes into the Super Bowl game on Sunday, Fox TV ran a commercial to promote domestic violence on Melrose Place. If you read our section on tv violence, it demonstrates how much violence from women hitting men is being promoted to viewers and children. This time, Heather Locklier hauls off and slaps her male to promote the next show. Kids and teenagers are confused. Is it any wonder domestic and relational violence continues to rise. And, if you think it's okay for a woman to hit a man, there's the problem. Domestic and relational violence is still violence regardless of who does it but why is it okay, accepted and being promoted, without any comments from the Alternatives to Violence community, the women's movement, newscasters, etc. It starts and stops with you. (See Where to write if you want to do something about it.)

"Roseann" Supports Women's Violence against Men and Children

Here's the story line. I think it's Roseann's sister who is in an abusive relationship. Roseann uses no humor to confront the husband and get the reluctant wife out of the house. She succeeds. The scene moves to the sons bedroom where Roseann's husband is talking to his teenage son. He is making it clear that it isn't okay to hit. It's serious. He goes on to say, it's not okay for men to hit women. The son asks, what if it's someone very close to you. It's really not okay. Then, the son asks, what if it's a woman who is doing the hitting. The father doesn't answer the question and instead brings in humor to ignore the question "Don't you want to talk about how babies are born?" And, the scene is over. The show had a very strong opinion about men's violence and had a perfect opportunity to say that women's violence against men or children is not okay either - and didn't, and, to me, gave that boy and the audience a position that it's okay for women to be violent, even with their children.

"Friends" Supports Adult Female Teachers Seducing Their High School Students

The scene. One of the Friends brothers is in high school. You can tell that he has a hard time with being loved. His 44 year old female home ec teachers gets romantically involved with him. They make a point to insure that you know he is 18 (no longer a minor), and we have to assume that the romantic attachment started after he turned 18. The Friends talk to both of them about the age difference. They both agree that it should end. When this decision is made individually, they end up coming over to the Friends apartment to break it off. They agree to break it off and almost immediately fall into this intense embrace, start kissing passionately, fall on the couch and continue to make out. The cast of Friends basically shrug it off and that's it. No comment of the teachers authority and power over the boy. No discussion on the sexual trauma. No comment that the relationship is totally inappropriate. Is it? My challenge to the writers of the show is do the same scenario but make the teacher a male shop teacher and the 18 year old student a female. My sense is that, if that story was played out their would be public outrage, there would be talk shows about sexual harassment. There would be an investigation. And, it wouldn't be funny. If it's a male teacher, it can't be love. If it's a female teacher, it's okay. It brings to mind the case on Mary Laturno, the 35 year old teacher and mother of 4 in Washington State, who has been charged with 2 counts of rape for developing a sexual relationship with a 13 year old friend of one of her sons. The American Journal spent most of the story time talking with people in community that couldn't believe she would do something like that, some questioning if it's really true. There was noone talking about the young boy, what it took to come forward in a culture that supports this kind of behavior, that says, he probably enjoyed it so it should be okay and they don't say that about a 17 year old girl in the same situation. No discussion with psychologists on the trauma this can create in his life. Rather, if a 17 year old girl is involved, let's keep her as a girl, telling her she isn't a woman yet and creating another victim. If it's a 13 year old boy, it'll help him become a man. It's all so ironic. Many cultures, especially in Catholic countries like Peru and Equador, find it quite normal for 13 year old women to marry 22 year old men - it's the custom. There's nothing unusual about it. That's the way its been for centuries. Yet, in our culture, we still want to keep our girls as little girls, even at 17. Don't grow up. Don't become a woman when your body and mind have developed to that level. You're still just my little girl. I'm not saying we should lower the age of consent, what we do need to do is see the boys and girls are impacted by information and messages that say that we have to protect our girl children, the boys can take care of themselves. Think about it!

Children of Violence

The other side of the picture - if you have children, teach them not to shame and ridicule others because of the way the look (four-eyes, fat, geek, stupid) etc. Teach them to treat everyone with honor and caring and have them (the parents) learn that same lesson. Guns, while dangerous and it would be nice to think can be control, are not the answer. If we didn't have ridicule and shame as a national focus and actively participate in it ourselves, and treated everyone with kindness, these violent retributions wouldn't enter a child's mind in the first place.

I believe that if half as much time was spent challenging the media for their part in the shame game, shows like Jerry Springer for perpetuating violence, Melrose Place and many other shows constantly promoting women hitting and slapping men, nuns for whipping children (school systems, too), parents from slapping and hitting children, the cosmetic industry for making women feel that they aren't good enough as god/dess had created, that would do more to prevent these kinds of situations than eliminating all the guns in the world.

In Memory of........
Natalie Brooks, student age 12
Paige Ann Herring, student age 12
Stephanie Johnson, student age 12
Brittany R. Varner, student age 11
Shannon Wright, Teacher age 32
Unborn Child

This is in memory of the children, teacher and the unborn child killed in the shooting on Tuesday, March 24, 1998 in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Please send this to everyone you know. If this gets to the town of Jonesboro, I'm sure they will be grateful to know that we all care. By sending this letter you are also signing a petition to stop kids from handling guns and putting their selves and others in this situation. 11 and 13 year olds shouldn't have to be behind bars......they should be playing on them. If you have children and guns please lock up the guns in a safe.

The Slap Fetish -- Have You Ever Hit a Guy?

Women: Ever hit a guy -- on request? Last week, Lemondrop's Single Guy blogger wrote about his weakness for a good smack on the cheek. His fetish for pain had us curious to hear your stories of (solicited) slapping.

Mad admits she's hit a guy or two in her time: "One guy was just cruising for it -- he had stolen my new marshmallow flavored pink lip gloss then snuck up behind me and smooched me on the cheek with it, leaving a glob of sticky pink glittery sugary residue on my face. I was so mad I slapped him -- so hard I felt his jaw crack. He guffawed and asked for another. I was more than happy to oblige! I think I slapped him three or four times that night."

According to J, a mutual "pain-is-pleasure" mentality can bond two people more than you might think. She tells us how hitting a guy in the face landed her in her current relationship: "I fell for a guy who made it clear he wanted to be slapped in the face. He was actually flirting with another girl who couldn't bring herself to really do it. Later in the night I stole his cigarette, slapped him in the face, gave him a kiss and returned to the celebration. Two years later -- he's talented, brilliant, caring and mine."

The guy might be the one asking for it, but can both parties derive pleasure from swift palm-to-cheek contact? Maybe so, says Psychethos: "I've also been asked by a few male friends to be slapped, and have complied. Even though I'm usually more of a masochist than a sadist, the rush you get from slapping a guy is intoxicating. It's definitely more fun when it is agreed upon though, as the one time I slapped my boyfriend (although he more than deserved it) made me feel less powerful than crippled with guilt."

In response to some readers' put-off comments, Shannon says, "Face slapping can be a total turn on but both parties have to want it or at least be willing to explore it. He isn't talking about going up to random guys and slapping them across the face. My husband loves it when I slap him, we are both into BDSM, and he has taught me everything I know, but the first time I slapped him you should have seen his face. The expression was pure surprise and total lust. Explore you wild sides and inner fantasies, people."

We want to know -- Is slapping the key to a guy's heart -- or rather, his sexual desire? "And to think I've been trying to charm them with my intellect, beauty, and humor, when I really should just be inviting a guy over for a 'private' Taebo lesson," says Muh718.



Changing Family Behaviors Reduces TV Viewing Time by a Third

Even though health organizations recommend that children and teens watch no more than 2 hours of TV a day, many children spend 3, 4, and even 5 hours in front of the tube daily. Researchers sought to reduce TV viewing in a group of preschoolers through a program targeting parents and teachers.

Boys and Girls Affected by TV Violence

They can grow into aggressive adults.

Reasons to Turn Off the Tube

Next time you're tempted to park unruly kids in front of the television, consider these statistics compliled by the TV-Turnoff Network, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit organization that encourages people to watch less TV:

Source: Child magazine, 10/01

Movie Ratings for Kids movie reviews are objective, non-critical assessments of the potentially objectionable material contained in movies and are primarily addressed to parents. We don't tell parents whether a movie is good or bad, we don't tell them whether it has any social or political significance -- we don't even bother with whether it has artistic merit. We simply list material that parents may not want their kids to watch or hear. Then parents can decide whether a movie is OK for their own kids, according to their own criteria. The writing style is straightforward and quite neutral, and we take great pains to describe a film's content without actually revealing any plot elements. MORE

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77% of women and 51% of men will stop watching a show if it's too sexy or violent.

I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book. Groucho Marx

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