Hitting Women


LEO PARKER-REES says violence is bad, whether or not you have a vagina.

Men must never hit women. Everyone knows it. When a man hits a woman it’s pure misogyny, shameful and barbaric. When a man hits another man it’s just Lads being Lads. And when a woman hits a man? Girl Power!

That attitude is one of the most unpleasant results of half-baked feminism. Women aren’t always the weak, delicate ones. 40% of the victims of domestic violence are men. Men are twice as likely as women to be the victims of violence from acquaintances, and three times as likely from strangers.

Everyone is at risk from assault, and it isn’t just women who should be Reclaiming The Night.

The idea that female victims deserve more attention because they are weaker than men is an unpleasant generalisation. Not only is it frequently inaccurate (imagine a fight between the weakest man and toughest woman you know), but it implies that ‘real men’ should be able to look after themselves. When they can’t, they are failures. Punched by a girl? Lol, wot are you a gay?

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Men hitting women is bad, but so is violence in general. When this is overlooked, it encourages a culture where female aggressors are somehow empowering, making up for past (and present) inequalities. I don’t deny that there is making up to do, but it isn’t up to individuals to dole out corporal punishment, and it shouldn’t be encouraged or forgiven when they do.

TV is full of tough, ass-kicking heroines, who overcome gender stereotypes by beating up men. That’s fine, violence gets viewers, the victims have it coming. The problem is, unlike male ass-kickers, the female ones are often justified in their violence only by being annoyed or offended. That sexist jock makes a crack about Buffy? Boom, broken nose. That’ll teach him for sharing rude opinions.

Men hitting women is a terrible thing, because there’s the idea that women won’t be able to hit back. Well, that’s true of smaller men as well, but nobody seems so outraged when they’re the victims. And now, it’s men who can’t hit back. I could be attacked by a woman twice my size, and all I’d do is lamely try to hold her wrists while she hit me. Why? Because of historic injustice? I didn’t do that. Don’t take it out on me, you hypothetical bitch.

The ethics of violence shouldn’t be based on sex. Whoever you are, if you hit someone you’re a piece of shit and you shouldn’t be shocked by retaliation. I’d still never hit a woman myself, but I’m aware that that just stems from latent sexism on my part. I’m not proud of it.

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