Boys Do Not Hit Girls!
Hit her! Slap her hard!
This is one of the things that was said to a number of young boys during a social experiment. By now most people have probably seen the viral video that has been passed around by an Italian site called Fanpage. The video is very interesting and brings up a lot of good points. Most boys grew up with their parents telling them that they are not supposed to hit girls. However, we also hear stories of domestic abuse and rape. These two things do not seem to go together. The purpose of the video is to see how children react when told to slap a girl during an interview. In case you have not seen the video yet, you can watch it here:
When I first saw this video I thought it was pretty good. It makes you smile that the boys decide to treat the girl well and claim to be men. But then I saw some of the comments, and I thought about some problems that I saw with the video. It starts out innocently enough by asking the boys their names and how old they are and what they want to be when they grow up. They are cute and have really good answers. Suddenly their reactions change when a girl is brought into the picture. They get a little nervous because she is pretty and they do not know how to react to her presence. When told to “caress” her they do so shyly and sweetly. But then it gets really awkward when they are told to slap her, and to slap her hard. They all refuse and their reasons are amazing. “She is a girl.” “I do not want to hurt her.” “Jesus does not what us to hurt people.” “I am a man.” There is nothing wrong with the message behind the video at all, but you can ask some pretty interesting questions if you think beyond the scope of the video.
Switch the Roles
One of the popular discussions that I saw going around was what if it was a group of girls who were told to hit a man. Would a girl have done it? Would anyone have thought anything bad if she did? I feel like most people would laugh at a girl hitting a guy. Culture says that this is funny. Is this fair? We laugh when a girl hits a boy and think that it is cute but we chastise and teach future men that they should not hit a girl even in jest.
Or would the girls also not have hit the boys back? If they would not, then what is there reasoning for it? No one teaches a girl that she is not supposed to hit a boy, at least not in the same way that boys are not supposed to hit girls. Would a girl stand up because “she is against violence” or because “Jesus does not want us to hurt people?” That would be ideal if she did, but girls are brought up differently. If I had a daughter, I would teach her to not hit anyone, but I would also make sure that she was willing to defend herself against an attacker.
So What Happens?
If boys in general at a young age will not hit a girl, why do we have cases of domestic abuse? Why at the end of the video do we see a quote that says in the eyes of a child, women do not get hit? This is clearly not always the case. So what happens? What makes a boy grow up and forget his childlike innocence and decide that it is okay to hit a girl to get what he wants or exercise his power or “authority” over her? Somewhere along the lines the mindset changed and selfishness takes over.
One problem that I have with this video is that it seems to assume that it is mostly men who are going to be hitting the women. This is not always the case as I have seen plenty of wives hit their husbands out of anger. There is playful hitting and whatever, but having seen it I felt that it went too far as the guy just took the hit and moved on. If a guy were hitting the girl in the same way in public, he would likely have been arrested. It is kind of a double standard here. We forget that violence in violence regardless of the gender or age.
Ultimately, I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the video, only that it is only telling a small part of a very big story. It can be seen that men are the violent ones later in life and this is not always the case. At the very least, I would be curious to see what would happen if this study was done with the roles reversed.
What are your thoughts on this video? Are there any other deeper questions that are begging to be asked? Or am I just over thinking things and should take the video as it is? (Some people even go really far and say that the video shows that just because the boys would not hit her does not mean they are respecting her i/e they more than willingly “caressed” her. However, I think this is a pretty big stretch myself.)