Yeah, I haven’t posted in a few days because I was busy watching cartoons—uh, I mean hard at work. Because I have a job and stuff. Anyway, I couple of days ago I was flipping through channels when I heard someone talking about Violence Against Women on TV, and how they wish shows would stop ‘resorting’ to it.
And I’ve heard stuff like this time and time again, usually under the stamp of how ‘unnecessary’ such action is. You don’t ‘need’ to make a villain use Violence Against Women for people to know that he’s a bad guy—or in the case of ‘Game of Thrones’, one of my personal favourites (and also favourites to complain about), to show what a horrible world they all live in.
Well, they’re right.
Let’s be frank here. When people say you don’t ‘need’ to have people beat some women up in your show, what they really mean is ‘I don’t like seeing women get beaten up, and I wish people wouldn’t show it on TV/film/books/comics etc.’ Because they don’t like it. And fair enough, I’m not sure I’d find a person who sat down in front of Game of Thrones and watched Sansa getting beaten up and went ‘yeah! Woohoo! Beat her more!’ to be an entirely trustworthy sort, but then there’s a lot of shit I don’t like in fiction, and I don’t think it really makes any difference to anyone but me.
(and I mean a lot, as in, I am one of the pickiest people in the world when it comes to stuff I like)
And you don’t ‘need’ to put any of that stuff I don’t like in your shows/films/books, because none of that stuff is necessary either. But then, since you can say that about pretty much anything in fiction, it’s entirely worthless as a critique. Sure, most of this crap is stupid and badly written, and a lot of it plays into some of those trends I hate personally too, like the villain himself—
“Well, if he’s a villain, he must exhibit every type of villainous behaviour there is; therefore he’ll beat up women! Nuances are for characters I actually give a shit about putting some thought into!”
(Actually sometimes that kind of cartoonish villainy is pretty funny. In the same way Hush, Hush was pretty funny. But I digress)
However, ‘I don’t like it’ is not a reason not to put Violence Against Women in fiction. I mean, personally I wish there was more of it; not because I enjoy seeing women get beaten up (well, not women in particular at any rate), but because I’d like to see this stupid stigma done away with. As far as I’m concerned you can use violence towards any characters you like as a means of making stuff happen in your story.
And if people complain that it shouldn’t be used cheaply because it’s something that has profound effects on people in real life? Well, guess what else has profound effects on people in real life? Murder. Adultery. Disease. Politics. Religion. Death. Animal Cruelty. Loss of property. I’m sure the list continues; some of the above is stuff that I hate to see in fiction, but it’s there, and stuff like that has to be there, otherwise what the hell are you going to write about?
So rage against it if it’s executed poorly, but don’t call every instance of it ‘unnecessary’; just admit that it makes you personally uncomfortable. Alternatively, rage against the number of times I started a paragraph with ‘and’ in this poorly thought-out spiel, and don’t listen to a word I say. XD