Recently on an American talk show the panel discussed a recent case where a husband sadistically mutilated his wife’s genitals after she announced that she was filing for divorce. Then disgustingly the all male panel laughed and cracked jokes at the expense of the disfigured woman. A male audience member even shouted out “that will teach her” to the cheering and laughter of the rest of the predominately male audience. One of the male panelists described the husbands attack as “fabulous” and excitedly described in detail how he imagined the attack to take place. Although another male panelist eventually added that it wasn’t very funny and it was wrong to laugh at, the general consensus in the male audience seemed to be that the woman deserved what she got.
Apart from a few angry blog posts there hasn’t been much of a backlash against the TV show. Advertisers and the network seem perfectly fine with laughing and cheering at the abuse and mutilation of women for entertainment.
All this is true, except I switched one thing.
I’m sure most men and women would find Sharon Osbourne’s violent and hateful misandry disgusting, so I’m not trying to suggest that all or most women share her views. But when I first saw the clip my first thought was that if the clip was reversed with male celebrities hysterically laughing at a women who had her genitals mutilated by her husband that the backlash would have been quite louder. Laughing at torture and mutilation is disgusting and barbaric and it deserves to be condemned regardless of the victims gender.
Related, a good article in the Guardian a few days back about the largely unreported male rape victims in Uganda, its a harrowing read. What it made me think about was that even in the west the attitudes to male victims of rape is probably a few decades behind our attitudes to female victims. Prison rape, which is largely male on male is generally considered funny or in some way deserved and there seems to be little interest in cracking down on it. Two years ago a magistrate even jokingly implied to a 19 year old male that he would probably get raped if he was sentenced to prison.
We still have some changing to do.
Oh and Sharon Osbourne, go fuck yourself you disgusting individual.