Violence: A Double-Standard

Violence is never the answer.  Unless we’re talking about Japanese anime and manga.  In that case, violence towards men, especially when inflicted by women, is totally fine.  This is a double standard!  Why and how is society fine with this?

People may shrug off my concerns by saying, “it’s a joke” and “it’s lighthearted; loosen up!”  But these responses just further bewilder/annoy me.  Yes, we’re talking about cartoons.  But imagine if the roles were reversed.  If it were men, even (in fact, especially) in animated form punching and kicking women “just for laughs,” would anyone be laughing?  Oh my god, it would be the apocalypse; a total faux pax of social norms.  There’d be concerned parents everywhere protesting at school board meetings and writing breathless op-eds.  As there should be.  But if it’s men on the receiving end of physical violence, then there’s total silence and outrage.  Is this how we want to educate our children?

I honestly hate when I see double standards like this in modern times.  Yes, in the past– society’s sensibilities were different.  And so there existed tons of sexist material that denigrated and objectified women.  But nowadays, we preach equality everywhere, right?  We know better.  If we want genuine equality between the sexes, we need to actually start treating everyone the same and not condone/encourage double standards.  This starts with, “saying no to violence towards everyone.”  Violence inflicted upon men for laughs is despicable and teaches our children the wrong values.

More broadly, I’ve actually wondered about something for the longest time– here’s a question for all of the sociologists out there who actually study these kinds of things:  I don’t know if it’s exactly true, but by my observation, I’ve noticed that in the hierarchy of what is “generally acceptable”– a historically marginalized group or class bullying the current “in-power” and more dominant group is usually okay.  But not vice versa.  Eg. It’s okay to laugh when black people tease or jokingly make fun of white people.  But not vice versa.  Or:  It’s okay to watch female cartoon characters violently assault male cartoon characters and share such content with children, but not vice versa.  Again, I’m not exactly sure if this is true but it is pretty much what I’ve observed.  If I’m wrong, please let me know!

Edit:  Okay, someone has brought to my attention that the violence in anime and manga apparently does go both ways.  I don’t consider myself sexist but watching this video did make me deeply uncomfortable.  Yes, I know they’re just cartoons.  But my social indoctrination is pretty strong at this point.  Even I think (or maybe, feel, is the better word– I think these are more emotional responses than anything else) that women beating up men in anime is kind of funny (despite intellectually detesting it) while watching it go the other way is actually just disturbing.  Man, I’m conflicted.  This is a tough one.

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