Thursday, January 21, 2010

So where's the firestorm now? Pt. 2

When I did this post recently on why there was almost absolute silence when Mary J. Blige punched her boyfriend at a party I knew people weren't going to like it. I was fully aware of the possibility of coming under fire. However there were something I didn't expect.

Despite the words some of the folks here are putting in my mouth I never said that the damage Blige did to her husband was the same as what Brown did to Rihanna. I mentioned Brown/Rihanna on a count of Blige asking Issacs if he was going to "Chris Brown" her (yeah she used his name as a verb synonymous with attack/abuse but I'm the one trying to minimalize/trivialize what happened to Rihanna). While I never said that the damage was the same I can understand people thinking I was trying to say that.

What I was trying to talk about was the gendered differences in how at least the mainstream media talks about violence. Yes m vs f violence happens more often and people are quick to chime in with that and things like "yeah its bad but its not the same context" and leave it at that. What they are missing (intentionally or not I'm not sure) is that bringing up numbers and so-called context has nothing to do with the obviously gendered method of how its covered or not covered.

When its m vs f violence for the most part the mainstream media lays into him. Yes there are those that will try to defend said man but mostly he is raked over the coals. However on the other hand when its f vs m violence it seems that the mainstream media seems to try to gloss it over with a "what did he do to make her do it" or "its not a big deal" approach. This approach undermines those male victims, gives justification to such violence, and keeps those women from being stopped/punished/treated.

One thing Renee has pointed out is that there is a victim culture when it comes to violence. Society tells us victims deserve to get attacked and/or make excuses to justify the attacker's actions. What I often see is that while people are quick to point that out when the violence if m vs f they this point rarely comes up when its the other way around.

So you can try to bring up context, damage, fear for life, intent or anything else you want. None of that answers the question of why Blige, as a survivor of abuse that has spoken out on it, attacked her husband unchallenged and hardly anyone said anything. (Oh and not only that but as a show of how people react to f vs m violence after she hit him HE was kicked out and she was escorted away.) I stand by my original point that violence will never truly be taken seriously if people continue to run a gender check on the attacker/target before deciding how serious to get about it.

I guess its a tell that I expected a firestorm but didn't get the one expected.