Posts Tagged ‘tool academy’

Let’s not hit each other, ok?

March 5, 2013

What’s far more troubling than admitting I watched the Vanderpump Rules reunion special yesterday? That the show so quickly glazed over domestic violence. Though in this case, it was female-on-male.

Now, now, now — I’m well aware that 85 percent of domestic violence is perpetrated against women, and oftentimes those violent acts happen in the midst of a relationship. One-third of homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner — that shit isn’t to be taken lightly, and it isn’t to be overshadowed by what I’m about to say.

But, lately I’ve seen a lot of double-standard acceptance of female-on-male violence. In Vanderpump‘s case, Stassi admitted to physically hitting ex-boyfriend Jax during an argument — to the point where she bloodied his nose. If you’ve seen the muscle-bound Jax and the small Stassi, you probably shrugged off her admission as harmless — along with his agreement that he deserved it, a statement far too many women confess sans Jax’s confident, self-assured demeanor.

But I kind of hate that. Self defense aside, I don’t like the public acceptance of this kind of violence. Or maybe I don’t get the public acceptance that a woman isn’t dangerous and can’t inflict actual emotional and physical harm on a man. Or maybe I hate how these interactions trivialize assault and violence — after all, many victims don’t have Jax’s confidence and strength when faced with abuse.

I’ve blogged many a time about male-focused abuse regarding Amber Portwood from Teen Mom and her violent behavior — and yes, once regarding Tool Academy but it’s important to remember. We should label domestic violence as a seriously offensive act, but we can’t be selectively outraged about who the recipient is.

It’s counter productive, even to those who recognize that women are far more disproportionately the victim.

P.S. I still think men should be able to march in Take Back the Night, too.


The Tool Academy double-standard of partner violence

March 5, 2010

Men shouldn’t hit women. But women shouldn’t hit men, either.

If you’ve never seen Tool Academy, then you don’t know the premise: girlfriends sign their douchey, self-obsessed boyfriends up for “Tool Academy,” and the boyfriends unsuspecting agree to go on the show because they think it’s some reality show about being the best guy on the planet (e.g. on the first season, they thought they were competing to be “Mr. Awesome”).

Once the secret is revealed, the couples start group-couples therapy and tackle issues like honesty and fidelity. Emotions run high, hidden camera footage often reveals boyfriends flirting or cheating on their girlfriends with actresses who are posing as models. Sometimes, the therapy sessions get ugly.

I was taken aback when — after lots of the girlfriends simply crying or shouting — one of the contestants on Tool Academy’s first season actually slapped her boyfriend after viewing some of this footage. Throughout the three seasons, it’s become more commonplace for the women to hit the men, yet the relationship therapist rarely says anything about it.

Partner violence is wrong, not to mention patently unhealthy for a relationship. It’s socially unacceptable for a man to hit a woman, but society often brushes off when women hit men. This is largely because men are supposed to be strong, masculine beings and should be able to take a hit from a weak, non-threatening woman — in society’s eyes. So even if a man is abused by a woman, he isn’t likely to report it or complain about it.

The double standard really came to me when watching this season, when a few of the “tools” are actually women, one brought on by her girlfriend and the other by her boyfriend. I thought about what would happen if the boyfriend — hurt after watching his girlfriend flirt and grind on another guy — had slapped his girlfriend for being so disrespectful.

Of course, this didn’t happen (the boyfriend just got up, threatened to leave and sobbed), but I think Tool Academy is one of many places in the media that sends the message that it’s perfectly fine for a woman to use violence against a man when they are having an argument — not even in self defense, just to show that she’s upset about something he did.

This is double standard is often portrayed as OK, violence is violence no matter who commits it. The relationships on Tool Academy and elsewhere, the relationships where the immediate reaction to anger, sadness, or disappointment is physical abuse, those relationships have problems that go beyond honesty or humility.

Don’t stay in a relationship that is violent, but especially don’t stay if you think you deserve it or are supposed to be able to take it because you’re a man. The media shouldn’t portray this as the norm or passively accept it.