Men and Women

In my Ravens and Shadows class last week, I talked about gender roles with my students. But in order not to bore the pants off them, I didn't use the words "gender roles." We read Little Red Riding Hood and watched "Thriller", and discussed the "Wolf" in each piece. Most of the students agreed that your boyfriend (males) are supposed to take care of you, bring home the bacon, rescue you from scary monsters, and love and care for you. The damsel (girls) are supposed to look pretty, have babies, keep the house clean (!) and other such stereotyped ideas. Interestingly enough, everyone said the man is supposed to protect the woman, not turn into a wolf and torment her.

Most of us know that the little piece of garbage known as Chris Brown beat up his girlfriend (and not for the first time) earlier this year. One of the most shocking things about the whole situation was how little criticism the beating garnered. There was either silence -- which signifies a tacit complicity -- or a grudging excuse of some sort: "Well they are both young and good kids and he made a mistake..."

That's some bullshit right there and makes me think of Michael Vick and his evil treatment of his pitbulls. So many friends of his excused this atrocious behaviour by saying (Whoopi Goldberg I am looking at you!) that is was part of "our" culture. "Culture" excuses many atrocities, does it not? Anycrap, Brown recently got his final sentencing and quite frankly, I am appalled. He should have gone to jail. What message does this send out to his fans? The sad fact is a lot of young people look up and admire this douchebag, this little coward with self-entitlement issues, and will be influenced by this whole affair. I don't even think he is talented! Why does he make a living at singing. Auto tune much? Anyway, off topic, but his sentencing was a joke: "The judge placed Brown on felony probation for 60 months -- 5 years. He must obey all laws. He must report to probation within 72 hours. Brown can perform community labor in Virginia. She wants reports from the domestic violence program in Richmond, VA. Brown must keep in touch with the Probation Department. He is subject to search and seizure 24/7 for the next 5 years. He can't own any dangerous weapon, including guns or knives.

The judge will issue a protective order ... staying away from Rihanna. He must provide DNA samples as requested by authorities.

He must complete a 52 week domestic violence program sponsored by the Commonwealth Catholic Charities.

Brown must personally come to court every 3 months during his probation. The first appearance will be November 19.

Brown must perform 180 days of community labor. He must also pay $2,500 in restitution. He'll have to pay another $2,500 in probation expenses. He must also pay a $30 criminal conviction fee --BARGAIN! He must also pay $400 that goes into a domestic violence fund.

The judge issued a protective order. Brown is ordered not to harass, assault, threaten, molest, threaten, etc. Rihanna. He must surrender all firearms within 24 hours. He can't have any contact with Rihanna, even on the phone or through a 3rd person. He must stay 100 yards away from her, unless there's an entertainment-related event, in which he must stay 10 yards away. The protective order lasts 5 years.

Brown must get prior approval before leaving the country." Source

As well, his mother recently spoke publicly for the first time, saying she wasn't ashamed of him: "Her statement continued, "I made a promise. I would never be ashamed of him no matter where I am or who I talk to. You see this whole thing isn't about Chris, it's about God. He wants to show all of you the goodness of him through Chris. Chris will be addressing all of his fans very soon. We love you so much and so does God." Source.

Oh, Lord, denial much? Mother, you SHOULD be ashamed of your son. He beat up a woman, he put his hands on another human being and threatened to kill them. And he will do it again. Didn't you see him out partying after the sentencing? Does that look like a young man full of remorse?

A colleague of mine was telling me of a young student who came to her to tell her that her boyfriend beat on her. My colleague -- let's call her Agnes -- offered to get all the help at our disposal to her, such as counselling, police intervention etc etc. The student violently declined any aid, saying that her boyfriend was the love of her life and he was going to be the father of her children.

Why has no one told her that the love of your life does not hit you, insult you, spit at you, put his hands on you, have sex with you against your wishes?

I hope Jay-Z sees to it that Chris Brown mysteriously gets what it coming to him. And I hope people like "Agnes's" student wake up. And stand up.


Anonymous said...

I remember finding a quit smoking book at a yard sale at the end of my street. At the time, my father smoked cigars and I thought this book would help. The person holding the garage sale, shook his head and said--honey, you have to be willing to turn to the first page for it to do any good. I was too young to understand at the time. Someone can be told over and over that a situation is bad but they will not hear it unless they want to. I'm sure many people, including Agnes, have told the student that you hitting someone is not a sign of love. But, the student isn't in the place to hear it and so it will not change her situation.

I was thinking of a different situation although similar when I saw the movie The Soloist. In the movie, one of the main characters most likely has schizophrenia. He refuses to take medication and will not sleep inside a home even though there are people who would take him in. Robert Downey Jr. considers "forcing" him to get help, sleep inside, take medication. But repeatedly he hears from a mental health advocate that this will ultimately do no good: the person must make the decision on his own to get help or it will backfire. In the end, Jamie Foxx's character chooses to no longer be homeless, but it happened because he made the choice to sleep inside, not because anyone was able to force him, talk to him, reason with him, etc. to do this.

Patra said...

I cannot tell you "anonymous" how much I appreciate such insightful and thoughtful comments. Thank you so much for taking the time.


ad said...

This has been so since the beginning of time, and will (sadly) probably be true for many generation to come.

I don't know what we can possibly do to prevent it from happening. I just hope that we all continue to talk about it in the hopes of even one woman being saved.

Great post, p.

Patra said...

Thank you Adriana number one for reading and b) for responding in such a sensitive manner. I don't know what to do, but I know we must do something.

Respect and love,
patra xx

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the attitude you take towards Chris Brown. Calling him names is an abusive response to his already abusive behaviour; as a Buddhist-leaning vegan you should probably be aware of such hypocrisy!

This attitude is nevertheless symptomatic of the villification abusers are subjected to by our culture. What many of us do not understand is that abusers were not in control of the discrepancies which led to their abusiveness. Most abusers were victims of a form of neglect or abuse in their formative years. This led them to develop an unhealthy relationship with themselves, which in turn prevents them from having healthy relationships with others. Abusiveness is an emotional illness. Although abusers are not to blame for their circumstances, they nevertheless can and must be held responsible for their actions. We must not condone abuse; we must, however, be sensitive to its nature.

Since abusers strip the abused of their power, the backlash of survivors (and their sympathizers) sometimes attempts to strip the abusers of their dignity by villifying them. This does not help the problem, as abusers already feel inadequate; this feeling is what originally pushed them to be abusive. By participating in this unquestioning devaluation we serve only to confirm the unfounded suspicions of abusers that they are indeed worthless. So long as they hold this belief about themselves, it is unlikely that they will seek help for their illness.

Just as victims of abuse must stand up to their abusers, so too must the abusers own up to their responsibility to themselves and to others. But let us not treat them as lesser human beings. Let us be open and sympathetic, patient and forgiving. Let us never settle for a society that villifies those it cannot understand. That would be an awful lot like taking the blue pill :)

Patra said...

Thank you anonymous for taking the time to write an extremely well crafted response. I appreciate you reading. My response was an emotional response; however, I disagree with your stance that it was hypocritical. Please keep reading! And responding. Open dialogue is key. And I like your "inside" references, like "blue pill." Nice touch.