There is a clear gendered double standard in society when it comes to interpersonal violence, whether it is physical or emotional.
This is the script:
1. If a woman initiates violence on a man, the most he can do is restrain her to prevent further harm, and he may very well be blamed for doing even that.
2. If he initiates, she is entitled to use whatever force and inflict whatever she can, disproportionate to the initial assault or not.
3. If he commits some non-violent transgression, a transgression in her judgment alone, she is entitled to physical violence on him, to include maiming him.
This is a cultural script we are taking about, as evidenced by the way people act them out, without consideration for what the actual consequences turn out to be. We are looking at the rules people act according to.
Commenter Sensitive Thug related this:
This makes me think of a memory from high school. I was friends with a boy and a girl. The boy made a bet with another friend that he could kiss the girl at a party. So he did and he won their bet but the girl found out. She responded by kissing him again and this time biting his tongue so hard that he couldn’t speak properly for a week.
Clearly the guys who made that bet were in the wrong too, so it’s a different situation to the incident in this thread. Nevertheless violence shouldn’t be seen as acceptable in either situation.
This is not the only incident of its kind that I remember from high school. Rarely were these girls held to account for their actions. But I’m beginning to think that this must be very frustrating and detrimental for women as well as men.
Not only do violent women sometimes hit other women, it goes deeper than that, as you all know. There are times when I wish I could lash out at people whenever I get upset. But on balance, I know I developed and grew as a person by being held to account for my actions.
Note how the girl reacted with disproportionate force. The injury she inflicted could easily have been permanent and disabling, and note how there were apparently no consequences.
This kind of thing is by no means anomalous, as we saw just a few days ago in this story out of Manatee County. FL where a woman thought she was entitled to start beating and scratching her boyfriend when she failed to reach orgasm. The fact that she was later arrested does not this script was not running, since obviously she acted on it.
Then of course there was the infamous case of Sharon Osbourne and the Talk. In one show she, and not only she but her whole grunting audience, in the studio and at home, thought it was all just wonderful that Catherine Kieu had cut her husband’s penis off and thrown it into the garbage disposal. Her lying apology only showed how perfectly acceptable that kind of thing was, how much it fit the script, and how many people supported her in that. (Read the comments on that one; they tear Osbourne’s lying apologist up for her sexism, while pointing out how common Osbourne’s attitude is.) And she had plenty of boot-licking apologists who tried to trivialize her sexist idiocy. Apparently a lot of people thought her reaction was quite natural and acceptable and by extension what she was reacting to was equally natural and acceptable.
So what is going on?
Clearly this reflects the hyperagency/hypoagency narrative. Hypoagency is not an objective measure of a person’s actual agentivity, it is a socially ascribed status. A hypoagentive person is expected to need excessive force to accomplish the minimal effect necessary effect. Their excessive force is justified, because it’s a David and Goliath situation.
The way this is often cast to look justifiable is false equivalence, where for example a man’s infidelity, even if only assumed or guessed at, is presented as justification for some kind of physical retaliation, however disabling.
Then there is all the objectification of men summed up in the term “male disposability.” This means that it’s permitted to violate men and their bodies if a woman feels the need. It means that their resulting pain is dismissed as their subjectivity and right to describe their own experiences is denied.
Every bit of this is part of the toxic femininity that is at the base of the rotten gender system so many people think they oppose, but instead work so hard to reinforce with their theories and advocacy. It’s interesting to see how faintly they oppose it when it collides with the values and assumptions they have been raised with in that system.
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