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?
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!
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.
For More Information
- The revolution in gender roles reshapes society in ways too disturbing to see.
- “Mockingjay” shows us a Revolution in Gender Roles. What’s the next revolution?
- A look ahead at the New America, after the gender wars.
- Books to help us see the strange new world following the revolution in gender roles.
- Love in the new world, after the gender wars.