Women are being beaten, tortured, and brutally murdered more than ever on network TV: A new study by the Parents Television Council shows violence against women on television is up a stunning 120 percent in the past five years. Violence overall in the same period increased only 2 percent, which seems to indicate there’s very little guy-on-guy combat happening, relatively speaking. Those stats also seem to implicate procedural dramas, which have taken over the airwaves ever since CSI became a hit nearly 10 years ago.
There’s definitely an arms-race mentality when it comes to making one team of whip-smart crime-solvers stand out from another – and one way to do that is with increasingly gory, baroque crimes, often against women. (You know, dudes just shoot or knife each other, but oh, the things that can happen to poor, innocent women…all the better to make the clues ever more twisted, the heroes ever more heroic.) And brutality specifically against teen girls has risen a whopping 400 percent, mostly in crime-solving shows as well – CSI is cited in the report as a repeat offender – which indicates perhaps that pretty, young victims grab more eyeballs than any others. (CBS hasn’t yet responded to EW’s request for comment.) One of the bigger surprises from the report comes courtesy of Fox animated comedies, which are apparently using more violent acts against females – say, shooting a woman as part of standard 18th century divorce procedure on Family Guy – as a punchline. (Though, to be fair, those shows are just plain chock full of intentionally shocking stuff.)
ABC was the only network not to see a significant increase in female victimhood – no surprise from the home of Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives (though even the latter is basing this entire season on the strangling of a young girl, Susan’s daughter Julie). We’re not asking that every network dedicate itself entirely to post-feminist hospital staffs and empowered ladies of a certain age, but it wouldn’t hurt to lay off the gruesome playbooks for committing intricately heinous acts against women.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Is there too much violence against women on network television? Have you noticed more of it in the last few years? Does it turn you off to certain shows?
Photo Credit: Robert Voets/CBS