This is something that has gnawed at me for years. As someone who loves movies but has also been a crime reporter, it seems that Hollywood feels there is a double standard when it comes to domestic abuse.
Back in June, reports came out that Chris Brown was again accused of domestic abuse and violence against women. Of course, Brown was the topic of jokes by stand-up comics, Bill Burr and Dave Chappelle in recent years. Both seemed to point the finger at Rihanna even though Burr was less offensive about it.
At least Burr, who seems to be in a pissing contest with Mark Wahlberg on who can be the biggest Boston stereotype, said that you shouldn’t hit women. But he went after people who say there’s “no reason” to hit women. Well, semantics, aside, there’s no reason to hit anyone.
I’m a Zen Buddhist pacifist. There are going to be people who are always looking to provoke you for some reason. Maybe it’s the fact that I walk with a cane people don’t want to go after a disabled person or that they think I could very easily whack them with it as a defense.
I’m not a violent person. Even as people tried to get me into fights in school, I realized it was pointless. For one, there’s always a double standard. And two, it doesn’t accomplish anything.
If someone is attacking you, fight back. But fight back accordingly. I’m a big guy too. So, I know defense can turn bad very quick.
That being said, there’s seems to be a general consensus that men of average stature and size are generally the deserved victims of abuse in movies. I don’t find it amusing or funny at all. I don’t find it funny in movies like Me, Myself and Irene or Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star where Tony Cox or Emmanuelle Lewis start hitting on Jim Carrey or David Spade.
The Lobster Boy Grady Stiles used his disability as an advantage to literally get away with murder. John DuPoint also used his disability to try to get away with the murder of Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz. It didn’t work.
I once covered a case in which a man confined to a wheelchair was the gunman in a drive-by shooting. Thankfully, no one got hurt.
With the the still ongoing aftermath of the toxic marriage between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard, people are taking sides on it, with many women coming out to defend Depp.
Now, Depp himself, has gone on to say his mother was very abusive, saying she “hurled things” at him and was the “meanest human being” he had ever met.
I personally believe a lot of people like Depp and others grew up with toxic mothers. One common thing I’ve seen on TikTok is how many young women are talking about the toxic relationships they have or had with their mothers. While traditionally, fathers were considered the ones who determine the discipline, any number of reasons exist for women to have treated their own children a certain way.
I think mainly, it’s because the abuse was inherited and only got worse. Marriage at one time was the only way for women to move out of their childhood homes and possibly the abuse they endured at the hands of their fathers and possibly brothers. Unfortunately, since it wasn’t something that was discussed, women internalized it until it snapped whenever their 3-year-olds spilt juice on a rug.
Domestic abuse and child abuse has only been illegal for what, two generations now. Women couldn’t get credit cards in their own names 50 years ago. And men were allowed to rape their wives and beat their kids within an inch of their lives.
But it’s not always the men who were the abusers. In Boogie Nights, Wahlberg plays a 17-year-old who is verbally, emotionally and physically abused by his mother played by Joanna Gleason. No reasoning is ever given. She’s only in a few scenes and when her husband tries to kiss her, she gets mad at him for not shaving, so it’s obvious this is something that’s been happening for years.
She berates Wahlberg’s character because he’s dropped out of school but that’s no reason. There is also no reason to explain why his character did it. She calls him “stupid.” But if he has a learning disability, then it should’ve been examined. Then again, this was the 1970s. No one had learning disabilities then. You either passed your classes or you didn’t.
This is one of the rarest times I can think of when abuse by women against men was used in a serious way. Normally, it’s a joke or worse, used as a way for women to be empowered.
Take Waiting to Exhale, where Angela Bassett’s character burns all her husband’s personal items because he was leaving her. In real life, she probably would be charged with arson and destruction of private property.
Bassett became famous for playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It where Tina is a victim for years of sexual assault and domestic abuse at the hands of her ex-husband, Ike. If she had done this to Ike’s possession, it would’ve been a sign of empowerment. But in Waiting to Exhale, it doesn’t come off as such. Yes, her character put her career on hold to be a housewife and mother of children, but she made that choice. So, what if her husband is leaving her, for a white woman nonetheless? She’s better off without him.
Sadly, destruction of property by women is scene as a sign of payback and empowerment against men who did nothing. Don’t get me wrong. Men can be creeps and do deceitful and hurtful things.
In Next Friday, Mike Epps plays a character whose ex is more or less stalking him and damaging his car. She even pepper sprays him in the face on his own property. This is all used for laughs. But it’s not a laughing matter.
Last year, The Wrong Missy was released on Netflix. I got about a third into it before giving up, not laughing once. The woman in that movie was deranged. If she existed in real life, the police would’ve been called within the first five minutes. She even goes as far as to commit two sexual assaults, all for laughs.
Men are constantly stalked by women, just as women are stalked by men. Physical abuse and destruction of property is very common in toxic relationships. It’s not funny. It’s not funny because the victim is a man. If the roles were reversed, people would have been throwing things at the screen.
Epps was also in The Hangover, another movie that used domestic abuse and toxic relationships as a punchline. In this movie, Ed Helms plays a character whose girlfriend threatens him with physical violence and berates him. One of my good friends said he was in a marriage just like this. He was in a marriage. Thankfully, he got out of it.
In White Chicks, Marlon Wayans plays a fucking FBI agent whose wife gets on to him because he doesn’t come home in a timely fashion, i.e. taking a few extra minutes. This isn’t funny. I had a young woman work for me who lived a mile or two from the office, but had to text her or call her husband when she was leaving work. He would often “pop in” to see if she was there.
Yes, it’s abuse, either way you place it. Now, I’m not being an InCel or some Proud Boy upset that he has to make his own dinner and do his own laundry. I was in a relationship for almost half my life in which I had to make my more disabled partner meals, do her laundry and even help her shower. And I would gladly do it again.
In 2010, after my ex and I got a car she had been looking at, we went out to celebrate at a Chinese restaurant in mid-afternoon. We were the only ones there for a while until a younger couple walked in. The man was still on his cell phone but trying to get off. He didn’t get off too quickly, because the young woman spent the rest of the time at the restaurant berating him until finally, he just paid the bill and they left, probably to continue their fight more in private.
Another time at my office, a former colleague of mine got into a huge argument with her soon-to-be ex. They walked past my office into the back where my office was adjacent and I could hear them arguing louder through the walls. I almost went to my supervisor to tell him but their argument didn’t last much longer. But I wasn’t sure he’d do anything about it.
I’m not sure what type of relationship my colleague had with her ex but I’m glad he got out. She was always trying to throw her control around the office even though she had no authority in my department.
But going back to the movies, women are always slapping men for reasons that in no way constitute a physical attack. Movies like Boomerang, When Harry Met Sally and Groundhog Day are just a few when men are slapped for something they said or cheating on the women. In Houseguest, Sinbad is slapped for missing a date.
In reality, many of these women would face jail time or a day in court for at least a restraining order. And it’s not funny.
Take Road Trip, another movie directed by Todd Phillips, who did The Hangover. A woman takes a baseball bat to a man’s car because she thinks he cheated on him. When he comes to her, she begins pummeling him with the bat.
Again, this is supposed to be used as comedy, but in reality, it’s no laughing matter. Imagine if a man used a baseball bat to destroy his girlfriend’s car on suspicion of infidelity and then began hitting her. You probably don’t have to imagine it because it’s more or less happened.
Christian Slater was the victim of domestic abuse when his ex-wife threw a glass at him at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas, Nev., cutting his neck and requiring him to get 20 stitches. It was not a laughing matter.
Well, I know what you’re thinking. You can’t like movies because there’s violence in movies. Yes, there is. But there’s always limits to what I’ll watch. I don’t care for the Saw movies and The Walking Dead resorted to basic gorno that I stopped. Violence can be used to propel a story, but I don’t like movies that violent just to be violent.
Domestic abuse is a serious matter regardless of who is the abuser and who is the victim. I once covered a story in which the police chief of a small town was openly gay and got into an altercation with his boyfriend, who was charged with an outstanding warrant for assault and battery in another county. The victim in that case was the police chief himself. Since this was a jerkwater Oklahoma town, the fact that two gay men could be in a toxic relationship was something that people could laugh about.
I think CNN, MSNBC or Fox News picked the story up. And this was only in 2008. It’s crazy that people think domestic abuse is funny if it involves two gay men. Toxic relationships exist in the LGBTQ community.
Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and even Green Party people can be victims of abuse or involved in toxic relationships. It affects vegans and vegetarians just as much as meat eaters. Christians, atheist, agnostics, people of any religion are at risk.
It’s a universal problem. And the only way, we’ll greatly reduce it is the moment we start taking it seriously.