Thursday, March 12, 2009

How NOT To Talk About Domestic Violence

The S.O. alerted me to this Kevin Moore comic highlighting not only the issue of domestic violence, but also the manner in which it's discussed in mainstream media. Moore uses his blog to discuss the subject, and his treatment of it, in more detail.
I've caught only bits and pieces of the media "discussion" surrounding Chris Brown's abuse of Rihanna, but what I have caught has almost entirely fallen within that third panel. Even some of what I heard Oprah talking about fell into that vein.

One should expect, I think, some level of vapidity with TV and the talk show circuit. It's very much geared towards that lowest common denominator. The nature of TV (and movies) is that it comes and goes so quickly that the viewer has little (if any) time to reflect, which is conducive to lots and lots of style with very little substance.

Comics, on the other hand, have a greater permanence to them and give the viewer to digest the message. There's a much greater capacity for substance. (Indeed, this is exactly what some critics have said is the greatest disappointment of the Watchmen movie compared to the comic.) Kevin Moore, I think, gets that and makes a very concerted effort to not dismiss the subject too casually. His concern is a completely valid one and, readers might note, that he doesn't so much discuss the abuse itself as the media's discussion of the abuse. It's not a dissimilar approach to The Daily Show which spends at least as much time criticizing the media and their reporting as it does the subjects of their reports. Moore's comic is criticism of the discussion.

Which isn't to say that's not a valid subject! Just that he needn't have worried so much about tackling domestic abuse as a subject since, effectively, he didn't.

Which further leads me to wonder if domestic abuse itself is a subject that warrants more attention in comics. Moore certainly has a point that it's not something that should be taken lightly or laughed at, but comics as a medium haven't spent much time discussing the subject. A few occasional superheroines try to highlight the misogyny inherent in metaphorically locking women in refrigerators, but the subject of domestic abuse is tackled very seldomly.

Now it's a subject that I, personally, am by no means an expert -- I don't know that I'm qualified enough to even bring the topic up -- but I would be interested to see somebody tackle the issue as a serious subject of comics. We've got people out there smartly writing about all sorts of political and social issues; why doesn't this one get more play?

1 comment:

Saranga said...

There is a comic out there about domestic violence. Its' called dragon-slippers - This is what an abusive relationship looks like, by Rosalind B Penfold.

It's good, it does the trick, it show you what it's like living in an abusive relationship. It shows the different types of abuse and how it affects the whole family. More ifno here:
http://www.dragonslippers.com/home.html