Editorial: Do not glamorize, excuse violence

imageSexual violence and abuse is all around us. In the music we listen to. In the movies we watch. In the sports’ heros we idolize. And no one is doing anything about it.

Rebecca White reported in her article this week that “Fifty Shades of Grey” is nothing more than a story of a helpless woman being taken advantage of. Yet it reaped $94 million at the box office, according to fortune.com.

With that amount of money, think about how many people watched that movie and recommended it to their friends. Too many. Too many people are watching these types of films and thinking it acceptable to act aggressively toward their partner.

One story emerged in the CBS Chicago local news that a 19-year-old man who was charged with rape at the University of Illinois said he was inspired by “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Mainstream media is inspiring young people to commit acts of violence. This is a problem. Why was Chris Brown at the Grammys this year? Was that not the exact spot, the Grammys after party he attended in 2009, where he assaulted his then girlfriend Rihanna?

By allowing someone who committed sexual or domestic violence to come back to a nationally-acclaimed, mainstream music award show is blatantly excusing what he did. And then in turn everyone accepts it. A lot of critics have come out against Lana Del Rey recently as well, including Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth founder, and Lorde. Both find her lyrics and persona to be harmful.

The pop star’s songs positively reflect helpless women being victims to abusive men.

“While feminists can debate whether blatant sexuality is beneficial or detrimental to women, Del Rey’s version is not only disempowering, it can be dangerous. Her new album’s title track, ‘Ultraviolence,’ is an ode to domestic abuse, with lyrics such as, “He hit me and it felt like true love” (an uncredited homage to the 1960s song by the Crystals, “He Hit Me And It Felt Like A Kiss”). There is a line between espousing different sexual preferences (think Rihanna’s “S&M”) and glamorizing violence against women, and Del Rey crosses it with this track,” ms.magazine. com wrote in a blog about the recent criticisms against Del Rey.

Everyone is responsible for their actions and no movie, song or book should be an excuse to commit a crime. But that does not mean the mainstream pop culture should promote violence, assault or aggression of any kind.

Author: Editorial Board

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