Normalizing Violence Against Women
Films are a bigger part of society than ever. It is a great and simple way to entertain ourselves when there is nothing on television to watch. Violence has become a huge part of movies in the past decade with almost every movie having some type of it. Comic book movies are not the exception since superheroes love to fight villains. With the success of violent superhero movies such as Deadpool, there is no doubt that violence will be crammed even more in the films of superheroes, but where does one draw the line? X-Men Apocalypse crosses the line with their marketing billboards that showed Jennifer Lawrence’s character being choked by Oscar Isaac’s character. The billboard only read, “Only the strong will survive,” causing many fans to be applaud. The X-Men Apocalypse billboard promotes and standardizes the violence against women making the crime tolerable; however, the poster is not the only offensive thing women have faced in the past decade. Women are regularly seen as objects instead of human beings, making it even trickier to break the way society views women.
Violence is something most people are accustomed to seeing, whether it is depicted in television, movies, or in their own home. Being so accustomed to seeing violence makes it difficult for people to call out the wrongly act because it does not disturb them like it should. The billboard is just one debate that shows how people react to violence against women. “Women of all ages, races cultural and social backgrounds are victims…” (Egharevba 8) of violence which impacts their lives. The billboard started a conversion about the fragile topic that most people turn away from. The crime is wrong, yet this billboard praises it. It makes it normal to see women being assaulted, and while it does bring awareness to the topic, the meaning behind it is all wrong. “Greater public awareness must be provided…” (Egharevba 8) for people to talk about the topic. Talking is the first step toward solving the issue. This billboard has created a discussion that can help people learn what it is like to be a woman. The first place to start changing the way women are viewed is in the media. Whether it is movies, television, news, or social media something must change first for others to follow. Even though the billboard could have been a mistake, it shows how careless people are when it comes to this important issue.
Equally important, movies affect the way people think. Films shape our personalities with what we agree or disagree on. While X-Men Apocalypse was not sexist like the billboard it used for marketing, it does have violence in it. Violence is something that children are being subjected to whether they want to be or not. A study found, “…film influences opinions in ways consistent with the framing of certain topics” (Gosselt 2) making it a key role of how one person develops rights and wrongs. Movie roles of men and women tend to differ. While more violence happens between male characters instead of women. “Fewer women are victimized…they are portrayed in a negative matter; they are often sexualized, and they are portrayed in stereotypical roles” (Gosslet 4). With women being labeled and fit into stereotypes, it teaches children from a young age of what women are expected to do. It allows society to view women in an objectified way instead of breaking the labels given. It also does not help when actresses of these characters do not fight back against the sexism. It sets a poor example instead of promoting that sexism is not something any women should be okay with.
Moreover, actors are paid to pretend to be a character, and while most just stay behind the scenes, some have spoken their mind when it came to their character being subjected to life problems such as sexism. Actress Rose McGowan was one of the first to speak out about the billboard for X-Men Apocalypse. She pointed out all the reasons the billboard was insensitive and why women should not let Hollywood or the media be sexist to women. However, not all actresses agree. Actress Sophie Turner who played Jean Grey in X-Men Apocalypse does not seem to understand what sexism is. While she did not speak her opinion on the billboard, she did talk about her character from Game of Thrones. When asked about a scene where her character in Game of Thrones is raped, Turner told, “Entertainment Weekly that she loved how messed up it was” (Docketerman 2) that showed her view of not just the scene, but how careless she is about the horrible crime of rape. While it is a fictional scene, it portrays what real women go through daily. She is not the only actress who does not care about the rights of women. People look up to celebrities like they are gods. When a celebrity is seen out wearing a pair of three-hundred-dollar pair of Nikes, fans who want to be like their favorite celebrity will go out and get the same exact pair no matter what it takes. They are role models for young children and teens whether they ask to be or not. Each one of them plays a major role when it comes to sexism in Hollywood that can be changed if they fight for it.
Promoting violence against women is intolerable. Normalizing any sort of crime is what society is doing instead of letting the topic go unnoticed. It can be easy to miss the sexism or violence, but as a society we must stop the hate. Children grow up seeing horrible things that impact their lives, leaving an impression. It defines who they are when they grow up. It sets stereotypes that are outdated which does not help society change. For a change, everyone must teach the future children the right way to treat not just women but everyone. The billboard is not the only thing that promotes violence against women, but it is important for people to see how wrong it is. The billboard showed how anything, fiction or reality, can be offensive to women.