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Can we talk about female violence? I need to get my response straight

(358 Posts)
GrassIsSinging Tue 13-May-14 21:53:11

I know this is celeb rubbish, but am finding my blood boiling over comments from FB friends and the like over the Solange Knowles -punching-Jay Z debacle.

Lots of seemingly conscious, smart, reasonable people condemning violence of any sort (great, agreed), but then saying things like 'the double standards in society sicken me...Chris brown beats Rihanna and he is a monster...Solange attacks Jay Z and people dont respond in the same way'. Others (people I thought were decent) saying 'You couldnt have blamed him for hitting back...people have a right to defend themselves' etc.

This riles me massively. Am I a freak for thinking that male violence against women IS often (not always, but very often) much more devastating than vice versa? Because men are usually physically stronger...because male violence against women is a huge problem in this world...? And that a decent man will not hit a woman, even if provoked. Is this an 'old fashioned ' view now?

Feminism doesnt mean we now have to accept men punching us, ffs!


Keepithidden Tue 13-May-14 22:06:09

I've never heard a Feminist condone any form of violence, between any gender.

Keepithidden Tue 13-May-14 22:08:23

Sorry, posted too soon. I should clarify that (IMO) it's okay to see male on female violence as worse in a given context. However, that doesn't make either action acceptable.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Tue 13-May-14 22:18:44

When i watched this video i saw the part where it seemed that JayZ was about to fight back but stopped himself and my immediate thought was "ooh, not good mr Z, you wanted to hit her" but then i thought, well hang on a minute, someone attacked him, he had been slapped and kicked numerous times, i know my natural instinct in that situation would be to fight back whether the assailant be male or female. I know if i was watching a video of a man attacking a woman and she fought back i would be thinking "good for you"

This video really has me challenging my feelings on this issue. Ultimately no-one should be hitting anyone really but when attacked?

Not sure if it's relevant but i was attacked by a female family member and didnt fight back. I am still so angry about it now that i worry about something like that ever happening again because i dont know if i would be able to stop myself really hurting an attacker beyond the point of self defense.

Actually i've just realised that is relevant to my feelings on this.

whatdoesittake48 Tue 13-May-14 22:29:23

Men who are attacked by a woman are more physically able to hold their attacker at bay without needing to hit back. A woman in the opposite situation (being hit by a man) must fight hard to get away or fight back. Holding off the attacker just isn't an option.

Women who attack men must recognise they are less like to be hit back. Otherwise why would you do it. Men who hit pick on the weak. Women pick on stronger men. They trust that the man wont fight back.

Not sure there is a point to this but it is an interesting dynamic.

FloraFox Tue 13-May-14 23:09:10

This video shows quite clearly the difference between male and female violence. The physical difference between Jay Z and Solange Knowles is striking. Even without the huge security guy, he could have swatted her away with no problem.

AskBasil Tue 13-May-14 23:19:39

I always assume that people who pretend there's no difference between a man hitting a woman and a woman hitting a man, are domestic violence advocates tbh.

It's like pretending there's no difference between a child hitting an adult and vice versa in terms of the damage that can be done.

It's just very disingenuous. Or stupid, one or the other. The level of force an average woman has to use to cause real damage to a man, far outweighs the level of force the average man would have to use to cause damage to a woman. And yes, of course there are exceptions, but focusing on the exceptions rather than the rule, is usually the sign of someone who wants to excuse male violence against women and will use any point missing or exception to pursue that.

RamsaySnowsSausage Tue 13-May-14 23:23:24

I have read lots of comments along the lines of 'the double standards in society sicken me', 'can't believe all these feminazis thinking its fine for women to hit men', 'people would be acting differently i it was him hitting her' etc.

But, I have not really seen comments actually condoning what she did in the first place confused. It's a pre-emptive backlash for the most part; people assuming society is cool with woman-on-man violence and berating that attitude when I'm not sure it really exists.

Yes, there has been a lot of speculation as to what 'provoked' it or if he 'deserved' it (I hate those phrases in this context) but absolutely no more than there would be if it was him hitting her. You hear 'what did she do to bring that on', 'what riled him' etc. all the time.

There are also plenty of jokes going around about it, but again I do believe it would be the same the other way round...i.e the Chris Brown/Rihanna thing.

I am pleasantly surprised at the amount of restraint he did show, with his past conviction (stabbing) and rough history it's fair to assume he wouldn't have took an attack without retaliating but, from what I can make out, he defended himself and tried to restrain her rather than hurting her back. Good job the bouncer was there too.

I think there is a big difference between defending yourself/ subduing your attacker and fighting back and retaliating. It's fair to hurt someone if it's the only way you can make them stop hurting you but there's been a good lot of comments around suggesting he should have engaged with her and knocked her out.

The delightful catchphrase 'equal rights, equal fights' is everywhere, being used by people whom, I imagine, would absolutely love a woman to slap them so they could justify beating the shit out of her hmm

Keepithidden Tue 13-May-14 23:29:36

"Equal fights, equal rights"??

Jeez that's low.

Queensbury rules not withstanding, it'd be rare for any fight between male/female to be equal unless distance and firearms were involved.

FloraFox Wed 14-May-14 08:39:09

In general, people who make these false equivalence arguments, whether it's male / female violence, "feminazis stole my ice-cream" or using racial slurs, seem deeply, intensely stupid.

sausageeggbacon11 Wed 14-May-14 09:19:16

I am suspicious of the whole thing. I do wonder that Solange, knowing the history of JayZ, was hoping he would hit back so he would be condemned. No violent act is right and the fact that he did not respond in kind sends out a good positive message to young men.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 14-May-14 09:39:48

Women who attack men must recognise they are less like to be hit back. Otherwise why would you do it. Men who hit pick on the weak. Women pick on stronger men. They trust that the man wont fight back.

Good points.

I wonder if this was partly the reason for beyonce's lack of action? Perhaps she was fully aware that jayZ would never hurt her sister and also that her sister wasnt likely to do much damage to him. The guard seemed to have her more or less under control.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Wed 14-May-14 09:41:40

I also definitely dont think that was the first time solange has done that. Beyonce was far too unshocked/unreactive when S lashed out. She's used to seeing/dealing with that imo

LoveSardines Wed 14-May-14 10:03:14


Obviously people hitting/attacking each other is never OK irrespective of age/sex.

Clearly between people there are on average differences in size/strength. Adult generally bigger & stronger than a child, that can change when the child is past teen and may become bigger and stronger than a parent. Men are on average bigger and stronger than women, some men are bigger and stronger than pretty much everyone. etc.

In a street type situation where it's a surprise and people aren't armed, then vast majority of the time the bigger person will have the advantage. In practice when the fight is between a man and a woman that will be he man.

However, in a domestic environment, all bets are off aren't they. If I picked up a rolling pin or a pan or a knife or a screwdriver and took DH by surprise I could do him a hell of a lot of damage. But yes generally he could hold me off, he wouldn't hit me, if he saw it coming he wouldn't need to. I imagine (may be wrong) that much DV of a weaker person against a stronger involves pure rage, surprise and throwing stuff.

So I guess I'm saying that in a closed environment all bets are off.

The only people who have ever attacked me have been men.

I also think that people should see sexual assault as a form of violence, I have never understood why when they do stats about who is more likely to be victim of violence while out and about they exclude sex offences confused

scallopsrgreat Wed 14-May-14 11:06:27

Agree with Basil (there's a surprise!). I also think that it is worth pointing out the dynamic of culture. Men aren't brought up to be scared of women's violence and in general they aren't scared of it. Women on the other hand are. They are told not to walk home alone. Not to go out in the dark. Be careful of what they wear. They are well aware of male violence and wary of it.

As Flora says it is a false equivalence.

WilsonFrickett Wed 14-May-14 11:14:32

To me Jay Z came out of this well - you can see on the tape as a pp said, there's a moment where you see his impulse to hit back, but he controls it. I also think Solange it was an interesting situation, in regard to there were four people in a confined space, one of whom is no doubt well-skilled at 'handling' violence, the other who she knows very very well. I think in that situation she was confident no-one would hit back, iyswim.

I haven't seen any 'equal right equal fight' type posts - urgh! - but have just had a big cull of anyone who'd be likely to post stuff like that.

As a feminist I think it's perfectly OK to think that all forms of violence are wrong, but to focus most of your energy on combating the endemic, societal violence we see around us, which is men on women. Doesn't mean you don't care about any other kind of violence, or that you approve of any other kind of violence.

MyMannateeBringsTheBoystotheYa Wed 14-May-14 14:26:27

I've seen comments like that as well. And again, they were in response to nothing.. no one thought what she did wasn't shocking.

BUt the difference between Rhiannna and Chris Brown and those two were (to me):

1.) He (Chris Brown) beat the shit out of her and in private

2.) She was in an elevator with two other people, one of whom was able to pull her away from Jay Z with hardly any issue....

3.) Jay Z is bigger than her. She was never going to win if it were a genuine fight. She wasn't bullying someone smaller than her.

4.) and this is the important thing for me.. when men attack women it is usually against a partner, the abuse is insidious, the women are emotionally surrenderd to douche bags and accept it. It's a totally different and unrelated dynamic. It would be more like the double standard that you shouldn't pick on a person (same gender) who is smaller than you or who has glasses (bit retro that one) because you have an unfair advantage.

I think if it had been Beyonce attacking Jay Z instead of her sister and she had actually left a mark it would NOT go down well in public

MyMannateeBringsTheBoystotheYa Wed 14-May-14 14:31:28

Actually.. on the sexism issue. There is a double standard.

The rumour is that Solange attacked Jay Z because he has been cheating right?

Well how many TV shows/films/ RL scenario have played out the "hurt my sister and I will hurt you" trope? Where the brother threatens the partner? It's totally Ok for Dads/brothers/partners to express ownership for "their" women...but if a siter gets pissed off that her BIL is being a twat? She's "crazy".

If Beyonce's brother had kicked his ass, people would be like "that will teach him"

Greenwayslide Wed 14-May-14 14:45:31

It would be nice if he pressed charges that's unlikely though. Who cares if she is smaller I doubt any of you would be in any kind of dilemma if a 5'6 skinny man attacked a heavy set 5'10 woman.

MyMannateeBringsTheBoystotheYa Wed 14-May-14 15:27:42

Think you must be on the wrong thread as this one has 100% agreed that she was wrong to violently attack someone. confused Most have also praised Jay Z's restraint.. Hmm oh well.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

squizita Wed 14-May-14 15:40:51

It's like pretending there's no difference between a child hitting an adult and vice versa in terms of the damage that can be done.

Just on an aside: I have dealt with dangerous teens who have beaten their adult carers. I have dealt with fathers who have been beaten by mothers. These two types of domestic violence do exist and are common.
It's OK to punch and kick someone if they're bigger than you, you're brave is a dangerous cultural construct for both the strong and the weak.

People hitting other people shouldn't be condoned.
People should be able to defend themselves reasonably without attacking.

So she was wrong to go attacking him.
He should never hit her back but if anyone is physically attacked they should feel free to push the person away if they can (clearly, he could) but not lay into them.

ezinma Wed 14-May-14 15:44:34

Getting away from the case in question, I think the size/strength argument can be a bit of a red herring. Gender-based violence and harassment take place in primary schools and even pre-school, at an age when boys have no physical advantage. The emphasis on size/strength also makes it harder for some victims (eg, adult women reporting assault by pre-teenage boys, or victims of domestic violence who look stronger than their same-sex partners) to be taken seriously. The onus gets placed on the 'stronger' individual to defend themselves. This is a cornerstone of patriarchy: the world (of men) is a hard place, so you as an individual have to be big and tough enough to take care of yourself — and of the little and vulnerable women who depend on you.

Also, a lot of person-on-person violence involves objects. Women can do as much damage with an object as men. But they don't — or rather, they don't attempt to.

The size/strength argument reinforces the idea that violence is 'naturally' a man's domain. The question then becomes when it's legitimate for men to deploy that violence, rather than why it ever should be.

squizita Wed 14-May-14 16:12:52

Everything Ezinma says. That's the crux.

HowardTJMoon Wed 14-May-14 16:31:15

Jay Z is bigger than her. She was never going to win if it were a genuine fight. She wasn't bullying someone smaller than her.

She was bullying someone who she may well have had reasonable confidence in believing wouldn't give as good as he got. Does it make you more or less of a bully if you attack someone who has their hands (metaphorically) tied behind their back?

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