Domestic abuse on “Teen Mom,” again

Amber punches, slaps and kicks the father of her baby. Why are we so much more tolerant 0f female-on-male violence?

Topics: MTV, Broadsheet, Motherhood, Teenagers, Love and Sex,

Domestic abuse on "Teen Mom," again

Last night’s episode of MTV’s “Teen Mom” featured a textbook case of domestic violence — but not the kind we’re actually used to seeing or hearing about. This was a case of female-on-male violence: Amber punches, slaps and kicks Gary, the father of her child. There is name-calling and intimidation, and for much of it daughter Leah is right there, sometimes literally in the middle of the fight.

These scenes are as predictable as they are disturbing: Amber choked and slapped Gary on the last season of the show. At the time, some questioned whether there was a double standard at play since the network aired Amber’s attack but censored footage of “Jersey Shore’s” Snooki being punched by a guy in a bar (after catching heat for running uncensored footage in a preview for the episode). This time around, MTV made sure to take the issue seriously, peppering domestic violence PSAs throughout the episode and even continuing the conversation online with a special interview with the couple about their volatile relationship followed by an analysis by a domestic violence expert.

That’s great, really, but I can’t help wondering what the public reaction would be if the direction of the violence in their relationship was reversed. It’s hard to imagine comparable male-on-female violence continuing to air, season after season, without major outcry or intervention.

Tracy Clark-Flory

Tracy Clark-Flory is a staff writer at Salon. Follow @tracyclarkflory on Twitter and Facebook.

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