Violence, Sex, and Football

I watched the Super Bowl like most Americans (Is it most? It sure seems that way…), only a few hours delayed because I wanted to go grocery shopping without the crowds.  I wish every Sunday all the people stayed home from the grocery store so I could shop in peace.

And I watched it half-heartedly because my team is the Packers, but that’s for another day.

It was a fun show- a really exciting game that came down to the wire.  I enjoyed watching it…except for one part.  And I was sadly surprised that there wasn’t more outrage about this one part the next day on social media or daytime TV.

I’m talking about the horribly immature fist-fight that broke out during the last minute of play.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t too surprised to see grown men hitting each other at the culmination of months of playing a pretty violent game.  It reminded me about studies I read during college about how aggression levels in pro football players increases as the football season progresses (which points to the “catharsis effect” for getting rid of aggression as completely bunk).

I remember there being a good amount of outrage after Beyonce’s halftime show – how she had been too sexy, shown too much skin and/or done too many sexy moves.  “Little kids are watching this!  Cover up!  Be a role model!”  I remembered parents saying.

…so why not outrage at the fighting?

In my opinion, there should be far more outrage around the inappropriate display of aggression than around any display of sexiness.

The way I see it is this: most people will have sex in their lifetime, and even if they don’t have sex, they will be aware of their sexuality and will express their sexuality in some way.  It’s innate, it’s normal, and it’s healthy.  I draw the line at harmful, destructive behavior.  Yes, aggression is also innate (to a point), but most people do not go around hurting others.  It’s not healthy, and I don’t want my kid seeing it.  I am not advocating an all-or-nothing or good/bad approach – of course, kids’ exposure to both sex and violence should be both age appropriate (interpret how you will) and in context.

I find it really interesting that, when it comes to what we allow our kids to see in the media, we seem to be so much more permissive of violence and aggression than sexuality.  What makes sex – even healthy, consensual sex – so shameful?  And what makes violence so acceptable?

Eve Ensler once said something to the effect of (I’m paraphrasing from memory): people are more afraid to love than they are to kill.  I think she has a point, and it saddens me.

Shame on you, NFL players who took part in that fight.  It’s a frickin football game and everyone is watching.

October in Purple

Today is October 1st, and everyone on daytime TV wore pink, and we all know why.

It’s breast cancer awareness month.

At the risk of pitting one great cause against another (because they’ve already been pitted against each other by being assigned the same month) – it’s also domestic violence awareness month, but very few people know that.

Why?

Personally, if we had to choose (and I don’t think we should have to choose, but for the sake of argument) I think we should be choosing domestic violence awareness, but I get why breast cancer gets center stage.

It’s easy to get behind fighting a disease.  A disease is a logical enemy.  It’s an other.  It’s not human, and no one is to blame for getting cancer.

But with DV – that’s perpetrated by our neighbors.  Our sons and daughters.  Our brothers and sisters.  Our moms and dads and grandparents.  It’s hard to rally people against DV when so many people out there are perpetrators or silent bystanders.

But we have to.  We need to.

Yes, 1 in 8 women are affected by breast cancer.  That’s huge.  But more than twice that are affected by domestic violence.  MORE THAN TWICE.  And that’s people hurting people – which means it’s 100% preventable.

I look forward to the day when everyone proudly wears purple in October to take a stance against domestic violence – and not just when there is a current scandal happening in the NFL.