By Teen Voices editorial intern Ally Betker
Storylines depicting violence against females are increasing according to a report released by the Parents Television Council last month. The PTC’s report, Women in Peril: A Look at TV’s Disturbing New Storyline Trend, examined female victimizations on prime time broadcast television and found that violence against women is being shown more graphically and in ways never before seen on television.
PTC President Tim Winter said, “…by depicting violence against women with increasing frequency, or as a trivial, even humorous matter, the broadcast networks may ultimately be contributing to a desensitized atmosphere in which people view aggression and violence directed at women as normative, even acceptable.”
The report found that there was a significant increase in all forms of female victimization: an increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims; in the use of female victimization as a punch line in comedy series; and in the depiction of intimate partner violence.
Some of the report’s major findings include:
- Every network but ABC demonstrated a significant increase in the number of storylines that included violence against women between 2004 and 2009.
- Although female victims were primarily of adult age, collectively, there was a 400% increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims across all networks from 2004 to 2009
- Fox stood out for using violence against women as a punch line in its comedies — in particular Family Guy and American Dad — trivializing the gravity of the issue of violence against women.
PTC Director of Communications and Public Education Melissa Henson said, “We all must pay attention to the fact that this is a problem in our society. Children are influenced by what they see on TV and that certainly includes media violence.”