Thursday, 9 July 2015

Why I Hate The Phrase "You Should Never Hit A Woman"

I'm worried.

Worried because I've delayed writing this post for about a year and a half.

Worried because I know most people out there won't agree with what I'm about to say.

But before you jump to conclusions, let me explain why I hate the phrase "You should never hit a woman".

Let me tell you a story.

During my final year at university, I was hanging out with some friends at a park. One of my friends was teasing another friend, a girl. Eventually, she decided he had gone too far. So, she punched him in the face. The next day, he had a black eye. Everyone laughed.

Now, what's funny about all this is that if it had been the other way around, no one would have laughed. Everybody would have turned on the guy who hit the girl. Would have been appalled at his behavior. Distanced themselves from him. Maybe even attacked him themselves.

Skeptical? Watch the video below.

When it comes to guys hitting girls, I know the status quo is. I understand where it comes from. But that doesn't mean I agree with it. Nor should you. Especially if you're a guy. But talk to most guys and they'll all be too quick to bow before it. Like a good soldier just following orders. Whatever they may be.

However, the ugly truth is that it doesn't make any sense. Think about your gut reaction when you hear of, or see a man being slapped by a woman. You either think it's funny, wonder what the guy did to deserve it, or have no response at all. But a woman can never deserve to be hit, it's unmanly.

There are 3 reasons why I find all of this kind of funny:

1. The Pop Culture Effect 

Perception controls everything. And when you over emphasize that "You Should Never Hit A Woman", the reverse, men being hit by women loses importance. Think about some of the shows you watch, there's bound to be a scene somewhere where a woman slaps a man. I've been watching a lot of Revolution and The Originals lately and there are certainly some fine slaps been dished out left, right and center. 

The problem is, when such behavior becomes a natural part of our TV experience, it makes it harder to separate it from day to day life. You could argue that seeing a man being slapped on TV has become normal. But if you saw a man give a woman, an uppercut to the jaw, eyebrows would be raised. That's not to say this encourages women to slap men, but it doesn't exactly discourage them either.

2. False Equality

You could call me a feminist. Or you could say I reject male chauvinism. I'm not interested in having thoughts as outdated as dinosaurs. Either way, I think it's fundamentally difficult to separate how you treat someone, from how you view them. If men don't think women are their equals, they won't treat them as such. This may be a stretch, but I believe the gut reaction to men hitting women relates to this.

If a man goes out of his way to annoy another man, by calling him names, insulting his mother, or something similar, and the man being insulted resorts to violence, a lot of people would call that justified. It would be stupid NOT to expect that reaction. But society has conditioned us not to treat women in the same way, not to treat them in the same way we would treat other men, even our closest friends if they pushed us too far.

Watch this distressing video and analyze your reaction to get my point.

3. The Phrase Itself

If you think I'm condoning men hitting women, you are truly mistaken. I'm a pacifist. I hate the phrase "You Should Never Hit A Woman", not the fact that men don't go around handing out left and right hooks all day like candy on Halloween. I hate it because of all the reasons mentioned above. Because logically, it should read "People Shouldn't Hit People".

I don't know about you, but I'm certainly not a fan of it being okay for people to hit each other. And although the lion's share of physical violence might be dominated by one sex over another, clearly the best thing to do is to encourage no violence towards each other at all. Sure, it's a tough pill to swallow, but you're not supposed to like your medicine, it's supposed to get the job done.

What do you think?


  1. In this world of equality, it would be discriminatory not to treat women in exactly the same way as men are treated. Women want equal pay, equal promotion, half of your items in a divorce, equal votes e.t.c.
    So if a man hits you and you hit back, then why should it be different if the person hitting you is a woman? Equality is the name of the game.
    Imagine saying I did not give her a job as she is female. You would be in trouble. So how can you now say I did not hit her because she is female?

  2. If I understand you correctly, you share my view, that the discourse is framed incorrectly because men and women do not get the same treatment in this regard. In that sense, I agree. But don't you think history has shown us that a free licence to hit women, although I know you state only as a response to when they hit men, would only make matters worse?

  3. Whuh-Oh! I accidentally popped onto your blog when I was supposed to be working on MY blog and now your writing has become my procrastination tool. Fortunately for me, your articles are spot on! I'm a woman. I don't know that I'd like to be hit. By anyone. Yet it irks me to no end when I hear men get all manly and declare "Men should never hit woman." Suddenly I cease to become an individual, with my own subjectivity and my unique set of life experiences. Instead I become, simply, a "woman". Which is confusing to me anyway because binaries never felt quite right to me and the idea that my vagina (not discounting the history and context, of course) automatically means I should not be hit by a human with a penis kind of pisses me off. What if I am a buffed out, 6 ft 2 in cage fighter woman and I am about to attack a 5 ft 8, 112 pound dude - THEN does this rule that a man should never hit a woman apply?! I often hear this declared by conservative, simple-minded, uneducated fellows who I'd not like to interact with too much anyway. These are often the same men who prescribe to other frustrating stereotypes such as "A woman's place is in the kitchen" and "I like my women like I like my milk!" So. I guess, I agree with you Charles. Now! Back to my writing!

    1. Hey Tifanny, thanks a lot! I was wondering how women would react to this. I'm also sick of the macho "Men should never hit women" attitude. Because I think it's just accepting what the majority says we should do without challenging why. And I like you're example, what is a guy supposed to do with a 6 ft 2 cage fighter who hits like Bruce Lee? True, a rare occurrence, but still shows there's a problem with the framing.

      I've had this argument with a lot of my friends, and most of them have their 'blinders' on and are quite shocked when I come out with this.

      Your psychoanalysis blog seems pretty interesting. I remember I studied a bit of that back at university. Based on your vagina comment and reference to binaries, I think you'll really like the book - The Second Sex - by Simone de Beauvoir, If you haven't read it yet.

  4. Why can white people never use the term "Nigger," but black people can? -- you may find similar reasons

    1. I'm not sure I entirely understand your view, but I do think that's an interesting point you've raised. I think it's because, whether rightly or wrongly, the context is often different, or certainly perceived differently when a white person vs. a black person uses the term Nigger. Again, still not sure how that relates?