A new hot trend from Hollywood: women hitting men

Summary: The revolutions have begun, taking America into realms with few or no historical precedents — normalizing prohibited behavior, breaking unquestioned rules. Films and TV show women hitting men (even in cute rom-com couples). What happens as this becomes accepted in society? Will domestic violence increase? How might this change relationship between the sexes?

Grrl Power

 

Ancient mores say that men should not hit women. This rule limits the action in film and TV. Women routinely beat up bad guys. Good guys fight bad guys but not bad women (except lightly). Even fights by good girls were limited because having girls hit by guys seemed too violent for many viewers (see examples at the TV Tropes page, and the exceptions on this page) — but this is fading away.

Corrosive to this rule is women casually hitting men — often for trivial reasons — which has become commonplace on film and TV. In these scenes men cower before the righteous rage of grrl-power, since striking back would be wrong.

Here are a few examples of casual girl-on-men violence, starting with two of the odder examples of grrl-power: women abusing their boyfriends. It’s so cute, especially for action-adventure heroes. Afterwards is some speculation about what it means.

One of the many times Beckett humiliates Castle in “Castle”
From S01E03, “Hedge Fund Homeboys

Scenes of Beckett abusing her sub are more impressive when seen in motion.
Watch him whine an beg for mercy. Modern love is cute.

 

Deeks and Kensi in “NCIS: Los Angeles”. True love!

Kensi and Deeks

Grrl power at Hogwarts

We watch and cheer Hermione Granger hitting Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The clip does not show what follows: Draco and his team running away, looking back at Hermione in fear. What else can Draco do?

 

Daisy Duke kicks a rude customer in “Dukes Of Hazzard“.

Grrl power can have a soft-core porn-like style

 

Stating facts is a transgressive act in our rapidly changing society

“If you hit somebody, you cannot be sure you are not going to get hit back. You have to teach women, do not live with this idea that men have the chivalry thing still with them. Don’t assume that that’s still in place. Don’t be surprised if you hit a man and he hits you back.

If you make the choice as a woman, who is 4′ 3″ and you decide to hit a guy who’s 6′ tall and you’re the last thing he wants to deal with that day, and he hits you back, you cannot be surprised.”

— Whoopi Goldberg on “The View”, ABC, 28 July 2014 — See the video. This was considered at outrageous statement.

The new gender roles coming to America

Although seldom mentioned in the media, girls hit boyfriends and wives hit husbands, with less force but at higher rates than vice versa. In America life imitates Hollywood, so the incidence of these might have increased during the past generation. Here’s a hint: “Women: hitting your man is not cute; it’s abuse“ by Jennifer O’Mahony in The Telegraph, 15 March 2013 — “A new US survey indicates that young women are three times as likely to admit hitting their partner than men, but the normalisation of intimate violence is a disturbing trend with miserable implications for both genders.”

The current system seems unstable. We can only guess how will tip as a new generation of men grows up experiencing women using force on men, perhaps not just on screens but in real life as well (videos of women starting fights with men are a genre on YouTube). My guess is that violence between men and woman remains illegal — but without the mores prohibiting men from hitting women. The idea that violence should only go one way, women to men, might  seem daft, anachronistic.

How will this change society, and the relationship between the sexes? A lot? Or more? Post your thoughts in the comments.

Other articles about women hitting men

This trend has not gone unnoticed. Here are examples of this growing literature.

  • Watch street experiments of people’s reaction to women attacking men: “Turning the Tables“, ABC News “Primetime”, 26 December 2006.
  • Women Who Hit Men“ by Chris Norris and Marie Clarie, 7 January 2008.

A note about right and wrong

You probably have a church down the street, and a college nearby. All of these have pastors or philosophers qualified to discuss right and wrong. Here we discuss what was, what is, and what might be.

Gender equality

For More Information

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13 thoughts on “A new hot trend from Hollywood: women hitting men

    1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website Post author

      Peregrino.

      Yes. Or more broadly, fighting in self-defense. But that’s not what we have here. These are women hitting men — even their boyfriends — for the most trivial of reasons. Hitting them hard, making them beg for mercy.

      Like

    2. Peregrino Nuzkwamia

      Yep, it’s part of the female supremacism that is trying to take over everything. Men should be resisting it, but in general they’re not. Often, make writers and directors implicate themselves, looking for PC brownie points.

      Like

    3. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website Post author

      Peregrino,

      I am astonished at the scenes of women physically abusing their boyfriends in rom-coms. People find this cute, with the writhing in pain and begging for her to stop. This shows how far we’ve come. I gave two examples, all I could find photos of. But it’s become quite common.

      The larger question is the effect of raising young men and women on films/TV of women routinely beating up men. Good girls beating up bad guys. Bad girls beating up good guys. We can only guess. I’ll vote for unexpected consequences — that will look predictable in hindsight.

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  1. douglasproctor

    In rom-coms the female to boyfriend violence is trivial, a role reversal of power (Beckett vs Castle) and a playfight reflecting frustrated passion, not hatred. It is also sexual, another form of dominance role reversal. Note that Castle always initiates the sexual encounters.

    True violence is still a no-no. The males protest but don’t fight back. Play fighting, demonstrating physical and personal strength and resolve leading to – you guessed it – further sexual desirability.

    What has changed is our view of desired traits in women. Resove and independence are in – but only to some level. The male still has to be at least as capable and ultimately the sexual conqueror, not the conquered.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website Post author

      Doug,

      I included the videos to forestall such objections. They are quite false.

      “In rom-coms the female to boyfriend violence is trivial”
      Absurd. Look at those and imagine the outcry if the genders were reversed. These fights inflict actual pain.

      “a role reversal of power (Beckett vs Castle)”
      True. And your point is?

      “and a playfight reflecting frustrated passion, not hatred.”
      False. They are confrontations to force behavioral changes on the men. True, they’re not hatred — but that’s not the point.

      “It is also sexual, another form of dominance role reversal.”
      Wow. Watching women inflict pain – so that the man whines and begs — is sexual for you! Each to his own.

      “Note that Castle always initiates the sexual encounters.”
      I don’t believe that is correct. More broadly, almost always in film and TV kissing — the most commonly shown “sexual” activity — is initiated by the woman.

      “True violence is still a no-no.”
      I suggest you (as a thought experiment) imagine inflicting that level of violence on a woman — and using the “it’s not true violence” to the judge. Good luck; imagine the length of your sentence.

      “The males protest but don’t fight back.”
      Yes, that’s my point. Fighting a woman is wrong. All they can do is whine and beg.

      “Play fighting, demonstrating physical and personal strength and resolve leading to – you guessed it – further sexual desirability.”
      You are fantasizing. None of these scenes lead to anything sexual. The woman demonstrates superior physical power; I doubt many men find that sexually desirable.

      “The male still has to be at least as capable and ultimately the sexual conqueror, not the conquered.”

      That’s quite a big case of making stuff up. It certainly does not apply to the shows featured here. In “Castle”, Beckett is superior in all physical activities (e.g., fighting, shooting) — and most mental ones (she even beats Castle, a pro writer, in Scrabble — to his embarrassment). In NCIS-LA, in sparing sessions Kensi repeatedly demonstrates superior fighting skill over Deeks. In NCIS, the romantic male lead — Anthony DiNozzo — is beaten physically by most of the female characters in the main cast that he’s romantically linked with — Caitlin Todd, Paula Cassidy, and of course Ziva.

      In none of these is the male a “sexual conqueror” (I suspect that trope is quite rare in modern mainstream fiction). That DiNozzo aspires to this is repeatedly mocked.

      Like

  2. douglasproctor

    I think you take the female violence too seriously. Sure it’s a role reversal of dominance. But it is used to puff up the female character – at the expense of the male, yes. There is a comeuppance also – each male struts as if is in charge. The falsity is demonstrated. The pain and begging and whining is theatrics. The viewer knows that. And despite the attempt at female power, Castle is still named after the male character and NCIS is still a male/Mark Harmon show. The men are still at the top.

    What I think you are picking up on, though, is real, but a social change everywhere. Comedy shows it very well. Jokes even 40 years ago were by the powerful and about the powerless. About the wife, the immigrant, the ethic minority. In other words, by the oppressor and about the oppressed. Now the former oppressor – the white male in particular – is the butt of the joke. Why? Because he still holds the relative position of power but laughing at the powerless is no longer acceptable. The former wea ones are getting their delayed revenge.

    In the examples you use – and I am familiar with them and others – the males assumption of control or superiority is put down and the contrast establishes the humor. Still, the ladies bat their eyes and fall for them in the end. This is another role reversal – the perfect, vulnerable but meaning well partner is now male. Yet the guy still “wins” the girl.

    Really, I don’t think the subject is really violence or coercion or psin. It is about a still changing perception of male expression of power through force – personality as well as strength. And again I think it is used to enhance the female character as having more modern characteristics (ironically, male).

    The violence is cartoonish. And allegorical – the role reversal is key. What you might think about, is how often the doer is white and the doneto is not. Never. Why? Because the violence is not real and is intended to be understood in that way, and based on reversal of historic oppressor-oppressed situations. If Beckett tweaked the nose of a black man, we would recognize the act as true violence and a continuation of old, distained, power-poerrless relationships. Not good.

    We don’t seem to agree on a number of subjects, but I certainly find the conversations interesting. Little in human behavior is what it seems, probably why we can hold such disparate views on the same subject.

    And sure there is real violence in the world and in film – but the Daisy Duke stuff is about humiling blowhards and misogynists, busting the dominant male hubris, while titillating with hints of reversed Sub-Dom fantasies. As I said, little is just what it seems.

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    1. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website Post author

      Doug,

      I am awed. Your two comments are fantastic examples of someone making stuff up in order to retain his frame on reality, and not see society changing. Keep those eyes closed and imagine that things are not changing!

      Also, your description of these shows’ plot-lines is delusionally false from start to end. There is no “role reversal”, since there are few or no comparable examples from the past of such male assaults on women portrayed as good (i.e., with the woman crying in pain, begging the man to stop). The ladies in these two shows don’t “bat their eyes and fall for {the man}”. The man does not hold a “relative position of power”. The violence is not “cartoonish” in any sense — that’s just a means you choose to minimize it (imagine you saying that if the scene was staged with the genders reversed).

      I could go on, but there’s no point to doing so.

      Like

    2. Editor of the Fabius Maximus website Post author

      Douglas,

      On reflection, your descriptions of these shows are so inaccurate — have you actually watched them? Your descriptions of the heroines is bizarre, and you get most of the details wrong. TO mention just one:

      “NCIS is still a male/Mark Harmon show. The men are still at the top.”

      That is quite false. The scene of NCIS is a patriarchy. Of the two shows mentioned here, NCIS LA is a matriarchy — with Hetty Lang an almost omnipotent and omniscent ruler. Of the male – female partnerships, the women is always the superior in most ways. Hetty over Granger, Kensi over Deeks, and Nell over Eric. Deeks and Eric take turns playing the butt-monkey role.

      The second, Castle, was somewhat patriarchal in the first 2 seasons — but quickly evolved into a matriarchy. The Captain is a woman, the chief detective of the team is a woman (very dominant over the other members, vastly superior in almost every way), and Castle’s home is run by his daughter and wife (by the last season his daughter even becomes a better detective than him, solving cases he cannot).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Rogue (@shah258)

    “Friends” and “Seinfeld” is filled with many many scenes where the women/woman are/is seen hitting men — verbally abusing men and mankind — but not vice versa ever.

    Same with “How I met your Mother”: Lily constantly acting as the only righteous one and acting as the gang leader, and the 6’4″ Marshall Cowering in front of her. Also in “Big Bang Theory” — Bernadette constantly abusing Howard. Also in “Modern Family”, a classic example of modern straight white guy being an idiot and all others around him the only sane ones.

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