You roll your eyes at me! I scream at you! You slap me! I punch you! You yank my weave to the floor and before anyone can stop it, grown women are tossing to and fro across tables, chairs and loungers with the vigor to wrestle a 500-pound bull.
These pitiful images are splattered across reality television on a regular basis. From Love & Hip Hop, Teen Mom, all of the wives, basketball and house ones, Youtube postings of 30 second fights, to the leave you totally speechless Bad Girls Club; the ability to handle a dispute without physical confrontation has become a principle of the past and is wrecking havoc on the development of girls across the country. Administrators and teachers alike find themselves in a conundrum as they seek out solutions to combat the volatile images that are creating a profoundly negative impact on schools and communities across America.
According to an article found on Safe Schools News, “1 out of 4 violent episodes are being perpetrated by teen girls.” And the U.S Department of Justice has released reports that girl violence is on the rise. Girls are viewing these so called reality shows and believing the lies. The lies that tell them physical violence is not only the norm but also the Only way to handle a dispute or issue with another human being. The shows create the lies by controlling the environment by placing participants within high stress situations, fueled with alcohol and paranoia.
Adolescents don’t realize that these reality stars are being paid to show themselves in a ridiculously demeaning light simply because it increases viewership. Yes, people watch these shows because of the sensational appeal. Millions of viewers find these scripted fights unbelievable and even comical. And although most realize that the acts are no different than the World Wrestling Federation match staging. Adolescent girls who have experienced years of reality television actually struggle to understand the fight club story line is not real. When Meghan, Natalie, and Tanisha throw blows, while banging pots and pans in their drunken logic; teens find it difficult to decipher what’s real and what’s not.
These images have an even greater influence when teens lack the role models and support system in place to steer them away from “Hollyweird’s” idea of great TV This influence is comparable to the impact males experience when consistently listening to gangsta rap or lyrics that promote violence and criminal behaviors. For example, Chief Keef, age 17, has had a huge following that subconsciously support his violent behaviors and criminal activity. Possessing a rap sheet with over seven criminal felony charges and hits like, Love Sosa, Darker, and 3hunna, Chief Keef’s lyrics and lifestyle create thousands of easily influenced fans. Many adolescents and teens are without guiding adults willing to say, “Everything is not for everyone,” and “turn the television off or change the channel.”
So what needs to happen to decrease the attitudes and actions that support Girl Fight Club ideology? Educators need to recognize the realities of the increased acts of violence shown by girls and counteract them by explicitly teaching values that represent empathy, non-violence, non-confrontational dispute resolution, and plain and simple kindness. The Teaching Tolerance Project states, “by explicitly teaching students to be more conscious of other people’s feelings, we can create a more accepting and respectful school community.” Also explaining that television reality is not truly reality can also be an effective strategy. These stars, to use the term lightly, are being paid to do a job; create steady consistent viewers. This increases ratings and increased ratings make the network rich from ad sales. Finally, educators who work closely with teens of today can demonstrate their knowledge and powers by flooding networks with letters of protest against shows and not give them viewing ratings.
There are some struggles within this editorial simply because freedom of press, and speech reign supreme in a writer’s philosophy. However, to save a generation and prevent further damage a stand must be taken. And in an attempt not to seem old and crotchety, but in the best grandma Sara voice one can muster, “What you put in you is going to come out some way, baby.” Lets put an end to violence begetting violence.