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The Golden Age Of Broad Smacking

June 19, 2012

Yes, I know, I’ve been away. I’m not dead, I wasn’t lying in a ditch somewhere, nor was I hospitalized in an institution for the criminally insane. I don’t have a good excuse for not blogging; I just didn’t wanna. So there you have it, just good ol’ irresponsible lazy me, but baby, I’m back. At least, until the next time “I just don’t wanna.”

Now, that the trials and tribulations (or lack thereof) of Olga (referencing yourself in the third person is the new black) have been covered, let’s move on to “Broad Smacking.”

I was slapped by a guy once, across the face, hard. To be fair I slapped him first,  but then again, he asked for it. He wasn’t being a dick (okay, he was being a dick), but he literally asked me to slap him. You see, I was a loudmouth eleven year-old hanging outside our local cinema. Listening to a bunch of older guys talk shit to each other like I belonged, when I made a joke that didn’t sit well with one of the gentlemen in question. I don’t remember what I said; it might have been something along the lines of: “Punch him.”

Yeah, so I was young and thought making a bad situation worse was cool. Dumb move. One of the guys turned around and decided to take his anger out on me. Long story short, he asked me to slap him. I didn’t move a muscle. Everyone’s attention was turned to me. He asked me again. I let my hand fly. My hand had barely landed on his face when he lifted his arm and gave me one hell of a good one. He was big, he was a lot stronger than I was. It hurt like a bitch.

I was also beyond humiliated. One of the many lessons that taught me to mind my own damn business, especially when my actions where motivated by something as stupid as wanting to fit in or be cool. That slap hurt like a motherfucker. I’ll never forget how the force of it made my head fly to the side, knocking me off balance.

It was incredibly shocking to be hit like that. I didn’t know what to do. One thing was for sure though, I would never show that guy how much it hurt. I walked away as tears welled up in my eyes. Had it killed me, I still wouldn’t have blinked.

The strange thing was how nobody said a word. Everyone just stood around in stunned silence. It was as if all these people could feel the sting on my cheek and were afraid to move in case they made it worse.

I wonder if anyone actively remembers that incident besides me? One thing is for sure, it wasn’t caught on video:

I don’t know where I was or what I was watching when I came across this video; all I know is that I bookmarked it in my “blog post leads” folder for future commentary.

I feel like I should go on some feminist critical tangent, but to be honest, I kind of find the video funny. Of course, I don’t think violence against women (or violence of any kind) funny, unless it’s a guy falling through a manhole cover, but this is the movies, people; you’re allowed to enjoy or find amusement in things you wouldn’t otherwise like in real life. Not that a good spanking isn’t fun, occasionally.

Looking below the surface though, it’s easy to see that “smacking broads” was much more acceptable in the Golden Age of Hollywood than it is today, you know, a good, fast, efficient way to calm a hysterical broad or put her in her place. That alone says a lot about social norms and how they’ve changed.  Nowadays, when you see a broad gets smacked in a movie, which doesn’t happen very often, it’s usually meant to shock and dismay you.

Of course the above video doesn’t address any of the underlying issues inherent in violence, domestic or otherwise, against women, but I think that’s okay. Sure, it makes light of a deeper societal problem that affects many people, but I don’t think it glorifies it either.

Besides, the song used in the video is kind of ironic, or contradictory, which I dig, as you may or may not have noticed with my use of pulp artwork.

A lot of people get upset when topics like: rape, abortion, domestic violence, etc, are talked about through the filter of comedy, but I don’t think we do anyone a service by continuing to address these subjects through the all serious dramatic veil of saintly decorum. Yes, they are serious topics, but we need to open the dialogue up to different styles of speech and expression.

For us, for anyone, to get anywhere, it has to be possible to have casual/light conversation about these subjects, if only to make it easier for everyone to have a voice.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2012 7:56 pm

    Congrats, you challenged me. It took me a minute to realize that the song playing in the background was “I am woman, hear me roar”, of the famous catchphrase. I didn’t even know where it came from. Yeah, the first time I heard this feminist anthem was to a montage of bitch-slapping.
    Feminism really is a rich topic to explore. We’ve come a long way and yet all those layers are constantly happening all the time….the past is not erased, but continues simultaneous to new forms. I grew up in an environment where a man “putting a woman in her place” like that was almost unthinkable. It was probably happening in some of the houses in my neighborhood, but I was totally unaware.

  2. Gillian Colbert permalink
    June 19, 2012 11:23 pm

    It is such a balance. If it is never okay for a man to hit a woman, why is it okay for a woman to hit a man? I’ve watched women beat the hell out of men and the man not raise a hand to defend themselves when I literally thought, “smack the shit out of her! Defend yourself!”

    Like you I had a similar exchange with a guy, I was 13 and he and I got into it and I tried to knee him in the nuts, he punched me in the face. That was it. Stunned silence just like you had. I remember it, I know for a fact he remembered it, but we were friends after. I shouldn’t have tried to do that to him, he shouldn’t have hit me. We were both wrong.

    I’m not sure where I”m going with this ultimately, but excellent post.

  3. June 20, 2012 7:14 pm

    @Ladyyaga: Yay, I challenged someone. Sometimes a song can make all the difference. I didn’t grow up in a violent home, but I was aware of it happening in homes around me. It happened when I was a kid living with my mom and a neighbor who had just gotten the shit beat out of her by her boyfriend ran to our house for shelter… it happened to me recently, same story… a woman running away from her violent boyfriend and seeking shelter at my house.

    @Gillian:It’s true, some women take it for granted that it’s okay to hit a man. I remember in high school, this girl started beating up this guy after school. I mean, she was really wailing on him. His face was all bloody, and the only thing he could do was put his arms in front of his face. He kept repeating over and over again that he wouldn’t hit her back and she just wouldn’t stop. She was so angry, no one moved a muscle to help, but they weren’t gathered around like teenagers usually do during a school fight either. It was really strange. There are definitely instances of domestic violence where it’s the woman who’s the violent one. It’s just not as common, or not talked about as much. Either way it’s no good.

    I know I’ve been in the wrong once or twice, when as a kid I kicked a guy in the nuts who probably didn’t deserve it.

  4. December 22, 2012 2:57 am

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