In October the Parents Television Council released a new report titled “Women in Peril: A Look at TV’s Disturbing New Storyline Trend”
Normally I would shy away from reading reports by an organization called the Parents Television Council because I’m always a little scared of any type of organization trying to curb 1st amendment rights – not that this org is trying to do that but I’m always brought back to images of people burning books or rap cds or condemning nudity on tv.
However, this report’s findings are SHOCKING.
Some of the major findings in the report:
Incidents of violence against women and teenage girls are increasing on television at rates that far exceed the overall increases in violence on television. 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.
The most frequent type of violence against women on television was beating (29%), followed by credible threats of violence (18%), shooting (11%), rape (8%), stabbing (6%), and torture (2%). Violence against women resulted in death 19% of the time.
Violence towards women or the graphic consequences of violence tends overwhelmingly to be depicted (92%) rather than implied (5%) or described (3%).
Every network but ABC demonstrated a significant increase in the number of storylines that included violence against women between 2004 and 2009.
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.
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.
From 2004 to 2009 there was an 81% increase in incidences of intimate partner violence on television.
Yowza! Total sad face at this.
One would think that maybe Lifetime’s repeats of Mother May I Sleep With Danger? could be the cause of this drastic increase but the study only looked at the major broadcasting networks (FOX, ABC, CBS, and NBC)! Imagine the results if they checked out HBO, USA, Showtime and FX?
It makes sad sense when you see headlines like “15 Year Old Girl Gang Raped As Crowd Looks On” and then read that depictions of violence against teenage girls has risen 400% since 2004.
It’s true that our rates of violent crimes have been slowly dropping since 1997, but goddamn! We can’t see positive portrayals of two consenting adults sexing each other up on CBS?
As a culture are we really that cool with showing women getting raped and tortured on CSI vs some hot nakedness?
I’m totally writing a letter to each channel’s president to tell them that as a female viewer, I am disgusted at the amount of depictions of violence against women they choose to feature on their networks and that they can count out my viewership if these alarming trends continue.
Here’s the networks addys if you want to write your own emails or letters (ironically 3 of the 4 network presidents are women!):
Mr. Jeff Zucker, President
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10112
Ms. Nina Tassler
President, CBS Entertainment
7800 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90039-2112
Anne Sweeney, President
500 S. Buena Vista St
Burbank, CA 91521-4551
(818) 560-1000 or
Ms. Gail Berman, President
Fox Broadcasting Co.
P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills, CA 90213