I don’t think of myself as a feminist, however, as a woman there are things that really bother me and one of them is violence against women.
When a woman is missing, attacked or murdered, the first suspect is usually the person with whom she had a relationship because more than 50% of the time when something violent happens to a woman it’s most likely done by someone who once told her that they loved her. Otherwise it’s a stranger who feels their screwed up past makes it okay for them to hurt somebody else especially a woman. We see this over and over again in real life and on television.
SPOILER ALERT: Don’t continue reading if you plan on watching The Following and haven’t seen at least the first two episodes.
The winter TV season began in January and there was one new series that generated a lot of attention. The show begins with the escape of a serial killer who was in prison for murdering 14 women and almost killing his last victim. By the end of the first episode he finishes what he started and brings his total of women murdered to 15.
Now the game really begins and in the second episode one of his “followers” also goes on a killing spree and murders three more women. So just two episodes into the series and 18 women have already been tortured and murdered. There is also a woman who kills herself as a devotee of the serial killer because he asked her to do it as well as another follower who kills her own mother. That makes 20 dead women so far heading into episode three. This series was picked up for 15 episodes, so image what the total female murder count will be by the end of the first season.
I mostly watch television for entertainment and I was disgusted. I can’t enjoy a TV series where killing women is the foundation of the story. I personally don’t find that entertaining at all!
It happens way too much in real life for me to be tuning-in every week for the latest installment of how many women can we kill this episode. For those of you who like this show, I do know that there is actually more to the plot, but you know what — it’s built around a man that likes to torture and kill women to make “art” and people who admire him for his “vision” and help him carry out his plans. Totally not something I can support!
I also started thinking about TV shows that began with the murder of a young woman. I counted five — Twin Peaks, Veronica Mars, The Killing, Pretty Little Liars, and Deception. Did I miss any? Weird, but I can’t think of any series built around solving the murder of a young man. Is the death of a young man not interesting or is it because nobody judges the actions of young men?
In all of these shows the young woman who was killed was not a so-called “nice” girl. She broke the rules, drank, used drugs, and had numerous sexual partners. The implication is that her lifestyle led to her murder, so she somehow deserved it. Since society generally doesn’t think badly of men for behaving in similar ways, it could be why there hasn’t been a show built around the death of a guy. After all, boys are allowed by society to be boys!
I know TV dramas often depict real life and it’s ALWAYS open hunting season on women. So really, what’s one more TV show that just reflects the world we live in with a dramatic plot twist or two?
For me, it’s one too many! Listen, I LOVE television and I LOVE great storytelling! I’m not against realistic dramas. One of my favorite TV shows is Justified on FX and there are a lot of violent acts on that series. But you know what – it’s spread across both genders. It’s not like women are the primary targets for any reason.
Okay, I’m getting off my soapbox now!
I’ve drawn my line in the sand as to what I’m willing to watch as entertainment and I encourage all of you to do the same. Everybody has the freedom of choice and I’m not here to judge. For me, however, when it comes to shows like Criminal Minds, Dexter, and now The Following, I’m choosing to change the channel until we get to a place where shows built on murdering women are not a TV ratings hit.
The White Ribbon is the symbol for ending Violence Against Women.
(Fox has renewed The Following for a second season.)