Wednesday, January 07, 2015

{slap her?}

There's a video going around Facebook (because when is there not a video going around Facebook?) right now called, simply, "Slap Her". It's supposed to raise awareness for violence against women, and all my friends are sharing it and saying things like, "This gives me hope for the next generation!" and, "This made me cry!" and "This is the sweetest thing!"

I hated it though. I did not think it was sweet, it did not make me cry, and I don't think it actually says much about the next generation at all. I think it says something about this one though.

Watch it. I'll give you three minutes and twenty seconds.

If you thought it was heartwarming, okay. That's fine. The bottom line message is good: you shouldn't slap people.

But didn't you find it weird the way that they chose to convey that message?

Here are some boys. Here are some things about these boys. They are this age, these are their names, they want to be this when they grow up, they like pizza and helping people, they are human.

Here is a girl. She is pretty. Notice her physical appearance. Her name is Martina.

That's all.

"Caress her," says the adult in charge.

I don't know if you noticed, but Martina looks kind of uncomfortable at this point. I would be, I don't blame her. I don't think that's supposed to matter in this little scenario here. That's not the point. Because Martina is a pretty prop.

And then, "Slap her, hard," says the adult in charge. Everyone looks uncomfortable now. Me included. And in the words of the first little box on Facebook that popped up this morning and alerted me to the presence of this video: What they said next will amaze you!

(They said no. Amazed?)

I'm sure this is scripted (which kind of defeats the purpose of the video). It has to be, right? I mean, if it's not scripted, then a team of adults actually put a pre-teen girl in front of a bunch of pre-teen boys and instructed them to first touch her without her consent, which is at the very least kind of awkward, and then to slap her, hard. Taking the chance that one of them might have actually slapped her. Hard. Oops, sorry, Martina. We didn't think he'd actually slap you, hard, even though he was commanded to by an authoritative figure. Caught us off guard. Won't happen again, we hope.

And then. "Kiss her."

And the boy asks the adult, not the girl, whose face he's going to be kissing, where he can kiss her (the mouth or the cheek?). Because up to this point, the man behind the camera has been the one in charge of the girl's body. So, great. The little boy has learned that the girl is not the one he needs permission from to kiss, caress, or slap her.

I understand the point of this video: even little boys know that they shouldn't hit girls. But what I'm taking away from this video is that girls are props, and that you shouldn't hit them because they look nice, and, just...poor, poor Martina. What an awkward day for her. 


  1. Yeah... it doesn't sit right with me either...

  2. Freaks me out that they used the word "caress" and that the boys knew what it meant, and that they didn't have any problem doing that part. I would have hailed the boys if they had said at that part, "No, she's not to be touched at all by me b/c I'm a strange man (boy) who shouldn't be touching any woman (girl) that's not my wife!" Not THAT would have been incredible!

    1. That's similar to what my friend Hannah said. (And I quote: "Like, what would've been touching is if when asked to touch the girl he had said, "Shouldn't I ask her first?")

      Maybe instead of teaching boys the "right way" to touch strangers, we should teach them to keep their hands off?

  3. I think this video is nonsense. As if a normally violent man would go hit a woman when a camera man asked for it on command. As if this proves that it doesn't happen on the playground anyway. And indeed, why is no-one asking what Martina wants? Why is Martina not interviewed about what she wants to be when she grows up? And the boy in the end doesn't make me laugh. It freaks me out that he considers the option of kissing her on the lips even thought they just met and they are young. "Hello adult who seems to be in charge, do I have your permission to do this and this to her body when I want to, even though I won't take your advice when you ask me to hit her.. because THAT is wrong?' Double standard. This video is so weird.

    1. Yes. The whole contrasting hitting to caressing is so disturbing. As if it's okay for a man on the street to caress me but not okay for him to hit me because one is "good" and one is "bad".

      You know what the opposite of hitting a woman is? It's not unwanted touching. It's NOT TOUCHING HER IN ANY WAY AT ALL.

  4. Ew I know. I hated that video too.

  5. I'm so with you.
    Actually I was so disgusted by it, I didn't get to the kissing-part, so I didn't even know about that.

    I mean, if you take adults, or teenagers, or any age of men and you put an unknown woman in front of them and say "slap her", who would do that? Nobody would. There's nothing natural about this situation. It's a completely useless video.

    That being said, you noticed it was Italian. Italy has a big problem with violence against women. I haven't been following it recently, but there was a period last year when at least 2 or 3 women a week were killed or attacked by there partner.
    There have been several campains for awareness about violence against women lately.
    So I believe the video was really made with the best intentions.

    (And about the 'props-part', with the risk of being 'racist' or 'subjective', the position of women is not the same there as it is in northern Europe or in the US or Canada. Without judging wether it's good or bad, it just is another culture.)


  6. Thank you so much...i thought i was the only one who finds this more than disturbing!

  7. Thank you so much...i thought i was the only one who finds this more than disturbing!

  8. Something about the video didn't sit right with me, but I couldn't identify what. I think you just identified it for me.

  9. I felt uncomfortable watching the video because it feels to me like the children are being taken advantage of. The man commanding the children to caress and then hit another child was so creepy! Adults should not command children to do sexually indicative things- it felt almost pornographic there for a minute which made me shudder!


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