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Tumblr user explains why men cannot stand to watch women inflict violence on men in TV and film

The Tumblr user pointed out that men were okay with violence as long as women were not inflicting pain on men.

Tumblr user explains why men cannot stand to watch women inflict violence on men in TV and film
Jennifer's body/20th Century Fox

The patriarchy has normalized violence against women to such an extent that many men hardly flinch when coming across such incidents in films, TV shows, books, and even in life. As a Tumblr user recently pointed out, there's a bias in men and women's reactions towards the violence perpetrated on screen. They pointed out that men did not find violence perpetrated by men against women shocking, but were horrified when they watched a woman being violent against men in various media—because they were scared to even comprehend what women have to live through on a daily basis. It sparked a debate on the inherent bias and the normalization of violence against women in the media and how much of it was celebrated by men who controlled the narrative in the art and critique spaces.

Teeth/Roadside Attractions


Tumblr user bau-liya said far too many movies of women being tortured is deemed "high art" by men whereas men "can't tolerate" men being attacked by women. "So women are supposed to grin and bear the books, the comics, the movies, the plays, the tv shows, the stories, the sci-fi, the translated ancient poems, the f*cking millennia of men writing about their self-inserts torturing women and it being declared as 'High Art' by other men, we’re supposed to read it in our free time, study it in classrooms, include their styles in our own writing, accept their cultural influence as natural, watch it in the cinema, write about it, talk about it, accept it, aspire it, but men can’t tolerate three seconds of female wish fulfillment of a woman snapping the wrist of a creep without feeling personally kicked in the balls," wrote bau-liya.

The person cited instances of bias coming to the fore during their time in college. "This reminds me of something I observed in college while I was doing my honors thesis on women in modern horror films. I watched a LOT of horror during that time as part of my research, and sometimes that was done with my family around. And my dad and brothers? Were deeply disturbed by the movie Jennifer’s Body. I was flabbergasted. It’s not scary! It’s not even that gory. But they were horrified by it. These men who grew up on 70s slashers were legitimately shook by 90 minutes of Megan Fox eating a few teenage boys, mostly off-screen," they wrote. "Similarly, my all-male reading panel for my thesis? Were so disturbed by my synopsis of the film Teeth that they couldn’t even talk about it. One of them said he couldn’t look at his wife for a week after reading it."

Jennifer's Body/20th Century Fox


They pointed out that most of these same people had no issue with gory scenes unless women were inflciting the pain on men. "Again, grown-ass men who study and teach media for a living. Who definitely watch and enjoy horror movies. One of whom was a huge Tarantino buff. We watched and read worse in his intro to mass media class! But one movie about a girl whose vag could bite was enough to haunt him," they wrote. 

She concluded that most men — at least most straight, cisgender men — are perfectly fine with, and desensitized to, media where men do violence to women (horror movies), or men do violence to men (horror and action movies). "They’re even sort of fine when women do violence to women (“ooooo cat fight!”). But they get intensely uncomfortable when women are depicted doing any kind of violence to men, especially in films that tilt the balance of power to the other side of the m/f gender binary beyond a single moment or scene," she wrote. "So woman as flesh-eating monster with men as her preferred cuisine? Woman who responds to unwanted sexual contact by biting it off? Woman who frames her cheating husband for murder? Woman whose response to harassment–behavior that many of the loudest whiners know is both creepy and reflective of their own thoughts/actions–is to break something?
Too scary. Unacceptable. Disturbing. These men hate being presented with the idea, even in fiction, that their position of power is socially constructed, that it could easily be flipped the other way. It terrifies them. In feeling that terror, they experience a tiny modicum of what living, existing, moving, being perceived as a woman in the world is like. And they flinch every time."

They also shared a comic strip from 1993 that summed it up: 

Credit: Tumblr/wintersoldierfell

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