Female Violence; An Unhealthy Social Obsession

In western society today there seems to be an inexplicable and unmentionable obsession with violence perpetrated by women. This fetishism manifests itself through a variety of mediums and its effect on society in my opinion, are detrimental.

Personally for me, my first encounter with violent females (outside my dearest mother taking a her loving hand across various parts of my body in expression of exasperation/anger/discipline) was when I was an 11 year old high school goer. Beside the science lab I came across two girls, interlocked in combat were pulling and yanking each other’s hair and slapping each other’s faces in raw anger. As I stood there watching perplexed, I noticed older boys from my school glazed over in what can only be described in retrospect as eroticism. “Take her shirt off!”, “catfight!” The way these “catfights” were dealt with both by the students and the teachers illustrates to me how female violence is dealt with by society at large. The reasons these girls were fighting was trivial, stupid and churlish. Teachers passed them off as petty squabbles and approached these girls as whining little brats that just needed to be calmed down and relaxed. When boys equally got into fights in my school a veritable inquiry was put into full swing. Why did these boys want to beat each other up? Was it race based? Was there bullying? The reasons were very serious and punishment was also severe. Buy why this difference? Why is it treated differently?

The eroticism that was attached to these girls battling away in their school uniform seems to echo in the film world. Sexy, sultry vixens wielding samurai blades and shotguns seems to be the norm, in regards to the content that pours out from Hollywood. Everything that is violent and female in mainstream cinema has sex latched onto it. In cinema it seems, if you want to be an all-action heroine with agency you need to have your breasts out and lips pouted. If this isn’t possible you had better wait for a knight in shining armour to come.

The media world has also followed this trend of bizarre obsession and misrepresentation. Female serial killers are an oddity, an inexplicable phenomenon that does not follow the masculine tagline that serial killers should normally have. Even though women have been killing as long as men have. It’s nothing new. The media circus that followed the trial and execution of Aileen Wuornos is a prime example of the Medias manic fixation with Women who kill. Ailleen provided the inspiration for the Academy Award winning Film “Monster”. The film does go a long way to illuminate to the viewer that Aileen was a very troubled women with an obviously traumatic past. What the film fails to divulge however, is how Aileen was represented to the world at large. Nick Broomfield’s documentary “Selling of a serial Killer and his follow up “the life and death of a serial Killer” goes a long way to contextualize the nature of the media in the United States at the time. Aileen is depicted in the by the American Press as “The world’s first serial killer” and her long history of being sexually abused and manipulated is not touched upon.  Instead sensationalised books and operas were created and convoluted the true tragic story of Aileen Wuoronos.  Aileen Wurnos was described by one prosecutor  in her 1992 trial as a “homicidal predator,” saying “She was like a spider on the side of the road, waiting for prey—men.” This gross misrepresentation of a sex worker as a predator is a grotesquely false analysis of the sex trade. Prostitutes are victims and are prey to pimps and drug dealers. To our failing social empathy and our sensationalist press. If they are violent or commit murders this must be documented, but the root causes of this must also be articulated in these accounts.

Nick Broomfields documentary was a refreshing portrayal of a women so commonly misrepresented by the media in the United States

The US media is not alone in its inability to explore the reasons for the abhorrent violence employed by women. The case of Baby P was a dream come true for the media however he was not a victim of his mother’s violence, and it is simplistic to posit this as the key cause for the tragic death of this toddler.  Baby Ps mother Tracey Connelly was a woman whose entire life was defined by neglect and abuse.  However this is how the Mail chose to depict her

“Pale blue, lifeless eyes, devoid of any recognisable human emotion, stare from a pasty face bloated from years of junk food and vodka.”

Who got her to this state?

“Society’s amoral and brutalised underclass breeds such monsters”

These sex laden depictions of female violence in film, and the embellished representations in the media are extremely corrosive both to female empowerment and understanding the root causes of certain case studies of female violence. This issue needs to be addressed and this bizarrely obsessive taboo needs to be explored in more detail.

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One Response to “Female Violence; An Unhealthy Social Obsession”

  1. maternal hand Says:

    Understood this one !Thought that you should have exponded more on more than physical violence but also emotional and mental violence that many women are subjected to by parents and then male partners becasue they are women. Will ponder more on this article -have you read any lesley Doyle ? I also have some feminist readings from when I did the bioethics course in NZ . Will dig out for you -carole ann oates etc . M

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