Alice Shaw

Endorsing Violence

In Uncategorized on June 10, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Recently Channel 7 have been promoting the television show, Amazing Race, by showing a young man screaming abuse at his girlfriend.  Why is he doing this?  Because she failed to follow his instructions.  And the young man in question absolutely expects his girlfriend to do as she is told.  He tells her that her father clearly did not “spank” her enough when she was a child.  Apparently this young man believes that if a girl is physically disciplined by her father, she will be sufficiently well trained by the time she is an adult, to do what her boyfriend/husband tells her to do.  If a girl is hit by her father, this will, according to this young man’s logic, ensure that she does not get out of line in adulthood.  She will accept that her man is her master and she will not do anything without his explicit consent.

 My first response is to ask what century this young man is living in, that he believes his girlfriend to be his property?  How can he, in 2011, truly think that his word is law when it comes to interacting with his girlfriend?  I would like to say I am surprised by this, but I can’t.  Why?  Because somewhere in the world this morning, a woman was punched in the face for not having the cereal her husband wants.  Another woman was told she was fat and useless and threatened with having her children taken.  Yet another woman had her husband or partner put his face just inches from hers, screaming at her as spit flew into her face and she held just still enough to ensure she wouldn’t have to make up yet another excuse for a black eye today.  This may sound extreme, but sadly, domestic violence happens every day in Australia and all over the world.  In 2011, there are men who believe that to abuse their wife or girlfriend is their absolute right.


Instead of pulling this appalling footage off the air, and directing the young man in question to a relevant perpetrator program, Channel 7 have chosen to use it as a promotional piece to pull in more viewers.  They use the word “shocking” when airing the footage, but the most shocking thing about this piece is the fact that a television channel thinks it is okay to air it.

 It is never acceptable to scream at your partner, except perhaps if you see a bus about to hit her and you are screaming at her to watch out.  Women are not property and are not owned by fathers to passed into the ownership of boyfriends and husbands who will rule with an iron fist.

 I am well aware that there are plenty of men of who are not violent.  So I would like to see prominent men, sports figures, media personalities, writers and journalists speak out about this disgusting display of domestic violence being used as entertainment.  I would like to see men stand up and say it is not okay to verbally abuse your wife or girlfriend.  I would like them to stand up and say, it is not okay to hit your wife and it is not okay to say your wife makes you angry, she made you hit her.  I want them to say that no matter what your wife says or does, you control your own behaviour.  No amount of what you claim to be provocative behaviour justifies an abusive response.

 I cannot help but wonder whether the young man in the Amazing Race, screams at his mates the way he does at his girlfriend.  Whether he expects obedience from the men in his life, or is it just the women?

 Domestic violence is a crime.  The more people who speak out against it, the more hope we have of stopping it.  Using footage of a perpetrator abusing his girlfriend, in order to boost viewing numbers is the same as endorsing violence against women as a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment.

  1. Great piece there Alice. I think you’ve made some excellent points. My observations about that show, The Amazing Race, is that the producers have a formula they work with every season. The US version have done this for years. They always have an “underdog” team, they always have a couple of sexy young girls, they always have an older couple, they always have a dumb couple and they always have a couple whose relationship appears to already be on the brink. A few years back there was an uproar in the US over two contestants who bickered and fought the whole time.,,1011634,00.html
    The husband was a total disgrace but defended himself later saying “the drama is all manufactured for the cameras”.
    I would hate to think that showing men treating women like this normalises that behaviour to the community. I also fail to see what is entertaining or amusing about it. I guess it’s the shock value.
    Channel 7 have spent a lot of money on The Amazing Race and they need it to succeed. Manufacturing drama is what reality television is all about but we need to draw the line at promoting abuse (spousal or otherwise) as an acceptable form of entertainment.

  2. I saw the promotion for the show and the memories flooded back. He fits the pattern; charming one minute, volatile the next, then continues to justify his actions in order to convince her it was her fault she ‘pissed him off’ and not his for failing to control his behavior (when in reality, she was simply showing some initiative). Alarm bells are ringing so loudly over this one I’m almost deaf. I do not think 7 should have pulled the footage (as suggested in the article), they were very clearly stating his behavior was wrong and sending an underlying message ‘if this is the way your man treats you, it’s wrong’. The message was more clear than if it had been acted in a soapie, it was real and the whole ‘keep this sort of thing hidden’ is part of the problem. Too many women hide this sort of treatment, because they have been convinced by their abuser they somehow deserved it, hiding this would have been wrong. I’m glad they showed it for what it was.

    • Hi Joanne, thank you for your comment. You are quite right of course, too many women feel that they have to hide the abuse, and that makes it so much harder for them. I guess what I was trying to say in the piece was not that domestic violence should be hidden, but that it should not be used as entertainment. My interpretation was that Channel 7 were playing on the shock factor to bring in more viewers, rather than condemning it as domestic violence.

      Glad to hear your perspective. Hope you’ll be back,

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