Friday, April 09, 2010

MCSR's College Chapter Breaks Down "Jersey Shore"

Georgetown students watch an episode of Jersey Shore

Check out this post from Jared, a member of Men Can Stop Rape's college chapter at Georgetown University, Men Creating Change (GUMCC):

Yesterday GUMCC hosted a viewing of MTV reality show Jersey Shore and invited Georgetown's Take Back the Night and Diversity in Justice and Action Magis Row House to give their two cents.

The show is a great and hilarious way to look at performances of hypermasculinity and how these performances are not entirely acceptable when they play out with people in real life.

The episode we watched dealt with the aftermath of one of the female characters, Snooki, being punched by a man at the bar.

We discussed the aggressive responses the characters had to that specific case of violence against a woman. One character, Vinny, stated that he would have rushed the police in order to get the man that hurt Snooki.

What was lost in the demonization of the man who hit Snooki (he was often called a lunatic and crazy) was that his violence was not a result of mental instability, but was very much encouraged by the overly masculine culture of the Shore.

At one point in the episode, Vinny basically claims that some women are whores and other women you have to treat like human beings.

If there are only some women that Vinny feels he has to treat like human beings, why is he so bewildered when a man treats a woman like something less than human?

This contradiction shows the deeply ambivalent attitude our culture has towards violence. If we as a culture are going to cheer Ronnie’s show of masculine power in knocking a man unconscious, then we have to be prepared when such violence hits the people we love.

We talked about Mike (aka The Situation) and how his alpha-dogness is easily subverted when a woman he likes stands him up.

We also found interesting how the men of Jersey Shore’s hypermasculinity is so closely connected with what could be considered a “feminine” attention to looks as embodied in the GTL (gym, tan, laundry) philosophy of life:

The fact that their masculinity is bound up with characteristics often considered feminine demonstrated for us the incoherence of the concept of the “real man.”

All in all, we had a great event with a lot of laughs and a lot of deep discussion.

Jared Watkins, a double major in English and Women’s and Gender Studies, is from Farmington, New Mexico. Jared is also interning for Men Can Stop Rape's Training & Technical Assistance department. Share

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