A March 2009 commentary
If feminists do not take women’s violence seriously, why should men take women’s opinions seriously? After all, what is violence if not an opinion acted out?
How many times have you seen women slap men in movies, sitcoms, commercials, and even the comic strips read mostly by children? In real life, when a woman slaps a man, does she believe that she, like the female actors who slap men on TV, will get no blow-back, that the man will just stand there and take it?
When the shoe is on the other foot and a real-life woman herself is slapped, what does she do? Stand there and take it? Not likely. Chances are she will lose her temper and retaliate in kind. While I vociferously condemn the violence by both Brown and Rihanna, I realize it takes considerable will power and self-restraint not to lose one’s temper when one is being slapped repeatedly, especially in the face and especially when — as Brown apparently was doing — driving a vehicle and putting their lives and others’ in danger in a potential accident.
There is almost a 100 percent chance you will hear none of these details in the mainstream media regarding the Brown-Rihanna blow-up. That’s because the media, in particular their pervasive feminist pundits, do not take women’s violence as seriously as they take men’s* (even as they claim the opposite: that violence against women is not taken seriously at all). Their aim in such incidents of gender violence is to promote the image of men as the perpetrators and woman as the innocent victims. Some of these pundits even suggested that Chris Brown is to blame for Rihanna’s refusal to testify against him, hinting that he exerts total “male control” over her. But the reason Rihanna refused to testify may have been that she put herself in Brown’s shoes and realized that had he repeatedly slapped her while she was driving, she would have done exactly the same thing — lost her temper and attacked him.
* If feminists do not take women’s violence seriously, why should men take women’s opinions seriously? After all, what is violence if not an opinion acted out?
(UPDATE Mar. 12, 2009: Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, while appearing on “The O’Reilly Factor,” was the first to state that Rihanna hit Chris Brown first. “It’s a double standard,” she said, referring to the media’s biased reporting of the incident. After a car accident, insurance companies divide up the blame, claiming one driver was 70 percent at fault and the other was 30 percent. While Rihanna got the worst part of the violence, she should have been categorized as the inciter and given at least 50 percent of the fault. In all likelihood, that’s what the media pundits, especially the feminist pundits, would have done if Brown had been the inciter and Rihanna the driver who was slapped numerous times and who finally retaliated in a rage.)
Even CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” which looks at how the media handles the week’s stories, failed to mention that the media failed to mention Rihanna’s violence!
See NCFM board member Marc E. Angelucci’s March 16 commentary, “Rihanna-Brown incident an example of double standards in attitudes toward partner abuse.”
In 2012, Male Matters is posting this response at media outlets reporting on the Rihanna/Brown case:
I realize that the mainstream media, when it comes to violence between the sexes, provides only the “men are violent” feminist view. But I think the Rihanna-Brown abuse story needs to be revisited.
Here’s an example of how the big media have told the story thus far:
“[Rihanna] picked up Brown’s cellular telephone and observed a text message from a woman with whom Brown had a previous sexual relationship. A verbal argument ensued. She turned to face him and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand.” See Boston Globe editorial by Joan Vennochi.
But the earliest newspaper reports showed what was left out of this narrative as a result of the Globe’s sexism, its “men are violent/women are victims” mandate. According to these reports, an argument ensued, and Rihanna started slapping and kicking him. In other words, she drew first blood.
Knowing she initiated the violence may be why Rihanna supposedly now wants Brown back.
Now, I know it’s extremely difficult — if not impossible — for most media people to forget, even for a fleeting second, the image of the “ever-innocent, victimized female” and to put themselves for another fleeting second in the shoes of the “awful violent male.”
But let’s try it. Imagine, especially if you are a woman, that you’re driving along at 30-40 miles per hour. Suppose your front-seat passenger, a man you’re involved with, is looking through your phone and finds a recent call from a former boyfriend.
Suppose further that instead of saying maturely and responsibly, “Pull over. We need to talk,” he starts slapping and kicking you as you drive, putting both of you and others on the road at risk.
I’m on record stating that violence is always wrong except in self-defense. But realistically speaking, what would many people do in this situation? What would a 19-year-old do, one who’s 19 and maybe going on 14 and who likely has never been trained to “discuss his feelings”?
What would you do if while driving, a passenger starts slapping and kicking you? I believe that a huge number of non-politically-correct people would admit they’d lose their temper after being attacked — at exactly the wrong moment — and retaliate in kind.
To me, the take-away from the big media’s biased reporting on the Brown/Rihanna incident is that, as stated above, not only should we not take women’s violence seriously, we should in fact cover it up a la the Boston Globe’s editorial by Joan Vennochi.