Domestic violence and the media
Recently the media has shown a great amount of attention to the problem of domestic violence, with NFL players and famous actors doing commercials for ending domestic violence. Research papers on domestic violence and the media can look at how the media handles the issue of domestic violence. Possible topics on domestic violence and the media may include:
- How does the media portray domestic violence of famous individuals?
- Is the media softer on well-known stars versus the common man/woman?
- What is the impetus for the recent focus on domestic violence among actors, sports stars and politicians?
The media portrayal of domestic violence in the entertainment media, such as movies and television, has similarities and differences, compared to news media reporting on domestic violence. Research papers on the Media and Domestic Violence have noted that since the news media began discussing domestic violence in the 1970s, it has increasingly confined the subject to the private sphere and focused on the individual women involved, either blaming them for the abuse or viewing them as heroes fighting against a cruel individual. During the 1980s, unwillingness by police to arrest abusers, an unsympathetic legal system, cuts in public sector housing and lack of national funding for women's refuges reinforced the notion of individual responsibility and the view that domestic violence was a private matter.
The Treatment of Domestic Violence
This treatment of domestic violence as an individual crisis does not reflect the nature or scope of this social problem. Likewise, the entertainment media offers the same perspective, with the focus on individuals. The entertainment and news media both present their perspective of domestic violence from a realistic view, which adds validity to media representations of domestic violence. Reality news shows like Hard Copy and reality-based movies, such as the cases of Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco and the Menendez brothers illustrate how narrow the lines between fact and fiction can be in the media. Although these two cases have many elements in common with thousands of other domestic violence cases that occur each year, they have been singled out and made larger than life by both the news and entertainment media, as if these cases are extremely rare. It is the media that have made the characters involved in domestic abuse appear unique and sensational, rather than exposing that these cases are only a small part of a much larger domestic violence problem in society.
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