Violence has made a home in American society. Since TV shows and movies provide a large source of entertainment for Americans, networks and Hollywood find themselves constantly competing for viewers. As the competitions heat up, so does the content shown on the screen, but some of that content as struck a nerve with people. The large amount of violence, and more specifically violence against women, portrayed on TV and in movies has people taking action to clean up the screen.
Violence: The Facts and Figures
Americans have experienced a great increase of violence on TV and in movies throughout the years; unfortunately, violence against women has escalated more. A study conducted by the Parents Television Council in the time span from 2004-2009 concluded that instances of violence against women increased over 120 percent. The study compared the number of instances of violence against women shown on each of the four largest broadcast networks (ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX), during their two sweeps periods of the years 2004 and 2009. The study showed that the networks had a combined 195 instances of violence against women in 2004. The number jumped to 429 in 2009. The network with the highest increase was CBS. In 2004, the council counted 96 acts of violence against women. In 2009, the number skyrocketed to 180. The network with the lowest number of acts of violence against women in both years remained ABC. In 2004, the council counted 26 acts of violence against women on the network. In 2009, the number had only increased by seven to 33 (Parents Television Council 1-2).
Another problem that arises when studying the violence against women on TV and in movies is that of how the incidents occur. In the same study conducted by the Parents Television Council, a trend was noted that many violent acts against women occurred at the hands of a boyfriend, husband, intimate partner, or other relative (Parents 3). Simply stated, most women faced brutality from someone they knew, and knew well. This poses a problem all on its own, but the real problem exists in the fact that in many real-life situations, women experience violence from someone close to them. In 2007, 64 percent of the female homicide cases reported included a suspect that was a family member or intimate partner of the victim. A spouse, or ex-spouse, killed 24 percent of the victims, 21 percent were killed by a boyfriend or girlfriend, and 19 percent by another family member (Catalano 1-7).
Horror Films Started It All
To find out why so many of the TV shows and movies people watch contain so much violence, and violence against women, it is important to take a look back to where it all started—horror films. The horror film genre started in the 1930s, and the early films such as Dracula and Frankenstein used monsters to scare their audiences. As the years progressed, so did the subjects of horror films. The 40s saw a switch from zombies and werewolves, to insects and aliens as the source of fear for...