Hollywood Uplink: November 2009 – TV Violence Against Women on the Rise

by Dick Rolfe, Co-founder/CEO The Dove Foundation

I do not usually comment on television programming, since The Dove Foundation’s focus is on movies and DVDs. However, once in a while someone points out a critical issue that impacts media-watching families everywhere.

Women In PerilSuch an issue was recently reported by our friends at the Parents Television Council. PTC’s newest report, Women in Peril: A Look at TV’s Disturbing New Storyline Trend, is a stark reminder to those of us who enjoy an occasional crime drama on television. (My favorite is NCIS.)

Until this important study came out, I was not aware of a disturbing pattern; creators of these crime drama shows are writing a disproportionate number of stories, whether intentional or not, that emphasize violence against women…usually young, attractive, vulnerable women. This mixture of violence and sexual images is referred to as “sexploitation.”

According to a PTC spokesperson, “Just last week actresses like Nicole Kidman testified before the Congress that ‘Hollywood probably has contributed to violence against women by portraying them as weak sex objects.’” The PTC rep goes on to say, “We all must pay attention to the fact that this is a problem in our society. The fact is that children are influenced by what they see on TV and that certainly includes media violence.” We only have to look around at all the copycat crimes that are committed almost daily, due in part to electronic news media.

I encourage you to read the report and download the PTC study, Women in Peril. We must always guard against becoming coarsened against violence by over exposing ourselves to those media platforms that focus on violence and sexploitation; whether television, movies, DVDs, videogames or the Internet.

The maxim, “you are what you eat” not only applies to our food selections, but our entertainment choices as well.