WST Feminist Contributors

Search This Blog

Friday, April 15, 2016

RESPONSE TO "VOICES OF MEN"

By Emma Vescio

            After experiencing the one-man play by Ben Atherton-Zeman, I walked away discovering many new facts about men’s violence against women but also realizing a couple new notions that were much more problematic than I had originally understood. One of these facts was every twelve seconds women are abused. This fact really resonated with me because of the effective way he demonstrated it in the first few minutes of the play. Ringing a bell, the audience silenced. Wondering why he was doing so, this immediately grabbed my attention. With pauses in between, he continued to ring the bell about ten more times. My initial thought was damn I hope he doesn’t do this the whole length of the play. However once he explained his reasoning that he was doing so every twelve seconds to show how women are abused that often I felt chills on my arms. To be able to hear that noise just for a couple minutes repeated was slightly annoying but what we should really be frustrated about was the rate in which this occurs. By presenting this statistic in a more tangible way it caused a greater impact and symbolically revealed that just like this ringing can’t be ignored we shouldn’t turn a blind eye (that we so often do) to violence in any form towards women.                                                                                                                                        
By using humor and celebrity male voice impressions it not only successfully educated the viewers but brought about new notions that would otherwise not be considered if comedy was not a part of the skit. Firstly, the choice of popular television characters was commendable because most people could relate to or at least understand the perspective from which these characters were coming from. They also depicted the stereotypes that very often men are portrayed on the big screen. Rocky Balboa, a movie icon is known for his big heart and lovable personality, although not very intelligent. Because of this we can excuse him on his behavior towards Adrienne in the film, which too commonly we do with men because we have the expectation that they didn’t know any better so it makes their actions justifiable. In a scene from the film, the number of times Adrienne said no to Rocky’s insistence was counted compared to the number of times Rocky insisted. In the end, Rocky got his way with a very uncomfortable Adrienne. During this scene I found myself justifying Rocky because he wasn’t exactly the smartest man so he probably just didn’t really understand Adrienne. He also was insisting so much to try and make Adrienne more comfortable because her character is a traditionally submissive, indecisive, shy woman so if anything he is a great guy for continuing to persist. Wrong and wrong! This was a new notion to me. Very obviously on the screen, Adrienne looks uncomfortable but because of her stereotype we are lead to believe that it is just because she is quiet and not really sociable. The number of times counted that she said no to him were well in the double digits. Just because of her softly saying it, laughing while saying it or going back and forth with her body language does not give you the right to assume that she wants to come into a stranger’s house. She said no and it should only take one time for a man to listen to a woman and respect her decision. Too many times, I myself have justified men being persistent as a positive trait, especially when it doesn’t seem like you are in a dangerous predicament. By not hearing what a woman tells you the first time around, regardless of her personality shows a lack of respect and can escalate to dangerous situations when men take advantage and believe that no means to try harder.

Another popular character in film, the humorous and again lovable and unwise Austin Powers is characterized for being a sex-crazed man who objectifies women. We think it’s funny and forgive him because poor Austin doesn’t realize his actions and often times just cannot control his urges. Using this example the “point of no return” concept was introduced and how men cannot control themselves. Once a woman turns men on by choosing to wear something revealing or sexy, suddenly men become animals without reason and go after their “uncontrollable” impulses. Wrong. This not only gives us a notion that diminishes the man’s capacity to reason once his testosterone takes over but also puts the responsibility solely on the female for being the reason that provoked the male to take violent action towards her, making the victim wrong and at fault. Because society often puts less responsibility on the men who commit violent acts against women, it is no surprise why this is such a problem. If there was more accountability on the perpetrators and less on the victims, there is no doubt that the statistic of women being abused every twelve seconds would be dramatically lower.

No comments:

Post a Comment