Jul 29

stephen-a-smith

Men have been pounding on women in relationships since…well forever? We are physically bigger, stronger, and we are bred to fight–despite what the well-behaved men blogs will tell you. This makes us extremely scary. Not just to women, but to other men as well. Have you ever been to jail or seen an episode of Lockup? A savage with no self-control and/or a temper can be a nightmare to anyone around them, let alone a weaker person trapped inside a car or house with them. On the flip-side, a woman that knows how powerless a battered man feels in our society (where we are told that we are bigger, stronger, and bred to be warriors), and takes advantage of him by being the abuser is just as frightening to have as a family member.

To make light of any of this is a well known slight that most of us avoid. Domestic violence is deadly and happens frequently, but society only notices when a case goes viral (more on this later). Shame does not fix it, social media lynch mobs does not fix it, and telling someone who is being beaten what you think they should do (while you sit comfortably in a position of hypothesis) has not fixed it. So the struggle continues. People are assholes, and some of those assholes use their fists, teeth and feet to get their point across. None of our op-eds, strategy articles, or “open letters” will change any of it. But it sure does make us feel smart writing them doesn’t it?

“Sometimes a NO COMMENT is the best answer for a man.”

Domestic violence is one of those issues that we have been trying to fix and bring awareness to for a really long time, but only rings important to people when it affects them personally, or when it affects a celebrity. Not since Rihanna’s face got plastered all over the internet–battered, bruised, and disfigured–did the majority of Twitter, blogs, and our cousin Jimbo on Facebook give any sort of care about it. Many of us think we have the answer, others just don’t think about it at all.

We all have selective memories, and whenever an opinion comes up that doesn’t reflect the hive mind’s cry for blood, the person is vilified, taken out of context, and made the target of a massive smear campaign. In the meantime, no battered woman or man benefits from it. A few opportunists write articles to call for the head of the newest target; blog commentaries explode with men saying that the fist swings both ways, and women countering them with stats about how it’s rare for men to be the victim of anything. Nobody benefits.

If anything, instead of awareness, viral DV incidents only serve as a reminder of the shame, the feeling of helplessness, and the embarrassment of being in one of these situations that has become the latest “thing” to rally behind on twitter accounts. It’s pretty sickening and none of us is surprised by it, but you know what? Let’s go ahead and get Stephen A. Smith fired. Let’s make that loud mouth pay for weighing in about domestic violence. Not because we disagree with his statements, but because we just don’t like him. That’s bound to help end domestic violence right?

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  • People always find one person as the escape goat for everything to avoid the real issue. Getting Stephen A. Smith fired won’t do anything but make the people who dislike him happy for about 5 minutes.
    People also do not like the truth on any situation. Not all men are bigger than women. Take a small man and a large woman. I have seen this first hand where a woman has physically smacked the man on the back of the head. The woman looked like an angry pit bull and the guy looked like a small starved cat. Even if the guy wanted to smack her back she would have beat him to death.
    Yes, most men are physically stronger and larger than women but there are some big, heavy, physically stronger and foul mouthed women out there beating the crap out of men. Men just are to embarrassed to say anything.
    Men don’t get together with their buddies or call their mom and say their girlfriend or wife is smacking him around. Men don’t get together and talk about issues like women do. So there are a lot of men getting beat that we just don’t hear about.
    Society is not ready to accept men get the crap beat out of them also by women.

  • Antonio M. Daniels

    Very good job with this piece, Greg. Too many people are using Stephen A. Smith as a scapegoat. Even though many disagree with what Smith said, he did not advocate for men to assault/abuse women. From my perspective, he was giving out some pretty useful advice to women: don’t run up in these crazy men’s faces, and don’t provoke them to activate the crazy that’s already in them. Of course, many feminists and others will slay me for agreeing with this advice and characterizing his comments in such a way, but my record evinces that I am in strong opposition to men being violent to women. In fact, I was fighting against assault and writing about it before it was popular. I was fighting against rape culture before people were even using the term “rape culture.” ESPN pays Smith to say provocative things, and he was simply doing what he was paid to do. ESPN used the suspension to cover its butt. Suspending or even firing Smith does more harm than good: it gives off the false sense of hope that the cause of against domestic violence is now improved in some way sense Smith was punished. People have false hope if they believe that the punishment of Smith actually accomplished something useful in the cause against domestic violence.

    • Quote of the day:

      I was fighting against assault and writing about it before it was
      popular. I was fighting against rape culture before people were even using the term “rape culture.”

      Thanks for weighing in Antonio. As you well know there will be a lot to do even after Stephen A. is tarred, feathered and run out of town. People will forget, and assume that domestic violence will slow down, but this is a war not a skirmish, and it takes more than shaming celebs to stop people from beating one another.