Normalisation of violence against women

Trigger warning: references to violence (including sexual violence) against women

I am sufficiently enraged/inspired enough to post.

I don’t have anything particularly new to say, just a couple of observations to make.

First: why, in this article at the Gruaniad, which is a list of the columnist’s top 10 books about missing persons, are the majority of the missing persons women?

Second: why, on the DVD covers for the Forsyte Saga, does series 1 have the warning “adult themes”, and series 2 have the warning “low level sex scene”, when series 1 includes a scene where a character is raped? (The sex scene – very low level indeed – in series 2 is consensual.)

Cross-posted at Wallaby.

Categories: gender & feminism, violence

Tags: , , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. Thanks for drawing my attention to that imbalance in missing person fiction, I’d never really thought about it, although it parallels what we see in TV shows such as Law and Order: SVU – the fictional violence is almost always directed at women and girls, and when men and boys are the targets the reactions of most people involved show more surprise and outrage, compared to the ‘not again’ response to violence against women and girls.
    As for the Forsyte Saga DVD, I have no words.

  2. Re fictional violence: yes, exactly. It’s particularly telling that, in each of the two books which have a man going missing, it appears (from the descriptions) that he goes missing because he is running from something (as opposed to violence directly causing his absence).
    Re Forsyte: It’s also worth observing that there is at least one consensual low-level sex scene in the first series, so it could just be that there was a different policy, or a different person making the decision, in relation to each of the series. (Rather than a deliberate “well, people will be more offended by …”)
    Which doesn’t excuse it. Not by a long shot. Because if violence against women wasn’t so normalised, it wouldn’t have been something that having a different person or slightly different policy could have affected in that way. It would have been “there is violence against a woman here, we’d better put a warning on it”.

  3. I remember reading an article on a ‘House of Horrors’ show a few years ago now which is somewhere in the UK. The author went there as a kid and it was all ghosts and ghouls and scary noises and things jumping out at you. He(?) went back as an adult and it was all horrible things happening to women. He asked what the deal was and why it had all changed in the intervening years and was told that ghosts, ghouls etc was boring now and people weren’t scared or titillated by it and that to remain viable they had to make the change. The author didn’t stay to look around.
    I’m not sure whether this is a cause or a symptom of the normalisation of violence against women. I noticed also that a lot of the crime fiction I was reading was all about women or girls being murdered. That has started to change a little recently with authors like Val McDermid mixing up her murdered characters more. But almost invariably when a bloke is murdered he is homosexual or somehow deviant from the norm because a normal het bloke is somehow too something? to ever be targeted by a psychopath?

  4. [CN: sexual violence, sexual violence in film]
    The rating for the DVD of ‘Bully’ (the 2001 true crime film) did explicitly mention sexual violence. I think that’s the only time I’ve seen a warning of that kind, which is frustrating and appalling. Rape scenes are not sex scenes, FFS!

  5. I saw The Forsyte Saga when it aired and I still remember that rape scene. So affecting.

%d bloggers like this: