Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Woman's Marriage Bed - How Many Evils Has It Brought On Mankind

I don't blame you if you don't catch that one. Medea - Euripides. I'm knee deep in thesis work so excuse the lack of blogging lately. If anyone has a great passion for Medea and wants to chat, let me know. It's an interesting, disturbing text - well before she takes the sword to her children.

Violence in women - Topic for today. I watched the CBS Evening News last night with Katie Couric, and she discussed the "disturbing trend" of girl fights. Girl fights have increased by 24% apparently since 1995, while boy fights have decreased by 18%. (Notice no exact numbers were given so the increase doesn't necessarily mean there are more girl fights than boy fights, simply that there are more girl fights than there used to be. Also notice, this does not include inter-gender violence.) Viewers were warned that there were going to be "upsetting" images flashed across the scene.

Note: I'm not attempting to discount the horrible fact that these girls are taping fights where one girl is targeted and beat up by multiple others and then posting these tapes on the internet. However, there was a discussion last week at feministing.com about how the media helps to propagate gender differences, and I think this is yet another way it is done.

Having said that, the author of the book See Jane Hit (Garbarino) appeared on the news, stating that for once, girls are realizing that they don't have to follow such gender-specific guidelines.
"It's very clear that girls are being told, 'Even good girls hit,'" Garbarino
told CBS News. "It's not surprising that some of them are taking that to
dangerous extremes."
Girls are no longer being told, "Nice girls don't hit." Part of me wonders if this trend is in response to that. These girls are growing up in a generation that is more aware that girls don't have to like pink and sit quietly in the background and let boys answer all the questions and get into the playground fights.

3 comments:

Julep said...

Yes, these girls are foraying into a realm that--during our childhoods at least--belonged to the boys.

This news doesn't exactly make me jump with joy. I would be overjoyed, however, if we saw reports on the decreasing frequency of physical violence and improved skills in verbal conflict resolution among school boys.

If this alternate phenemenon were occuring, do you think CBS would still be reporting on it?

Mamacita said...

As a parent of two teenaged girls, I can tell you that these fights usually break out with troubled girls. Girls are more verbal than boys and usually hurt one another with them or exclude them. Also, in at least one case (since I knew the girl) she had almost no fathering, was lonely for her father. Maybe this reflects the need for fathers to be present in their daughters lives and to model conflict resolution.

jrav said...

I think that is part of my point, Mamacita - girls have, in the past, been more verbally abusive. Something has pushed them beyond that, into the realm of physical violence. I wouldn't necessarily state that it is a lack of a father figure, although I am sure that may be the case for some girls, but it does make me curious.

I have a hazy idea that comes and goes about this. I recently read an article in the New York Times Magazine by Peggy Orenstein discussing the "princess effect" and how it creates a sense of competition in girls. I think this may be a contributing factor. If everything is about "me" then anything that interferes is the enemy. But that's just my own hypothesizing.

And I think julep has a point too. I'd like to see that study. That's partially the point of this. Where are those studies?