The Parents Television Council (PTC) has reported that the number of “storylines depicting violence against females are increasing”. Now I have to say that I am all for awareness. However, the TV shows have also been depicting these violence in a more graphic way, blurring the line between helping raise awareness and desensitizing viewers to violence against women, or worse, trivializing the whole issue.
According to Tim Winter, PTC’s president, “Our new research points to a disturbing trend: by depicting violence against women with increasing frequency, or as a trivial, even humorous matter, the broadcast networks may ultimately be contributing to a desensitized atmosphere in which people view aggression and violence directed at women as normative, even acceptable.”
Here are their major findings:
Violence, irrespective of gender, on television increased only 2% from 2004 to 2009, while incidents of violence against women increased 120% during that same period.
1. Every network but ABC demonstrated a significant increase in the number of storylines that included violence against women between 2004 and 2009. (Hooray for ABC!)
2. Although female victims were primarily of adult age, collectively, there was a 400% increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims across all networks from 2004 to 2009.
3. Fox stood out for using violence against women as a punch line in its comedies — in particular Family Guy and American Dad — trivializing the gravity of the issue of violence against women. (Boo to Fox!)
4. From 2004 to 2009 there was an 81% increase in incidences of intimate partner violence on television.
Read the entire study “Women in Peril” here.