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noname223

Visionary
Aug 18, 2020
2,515
I currently watch some cartoons. Or I also think of animes with similar content. One good example for what I mean is the relationship of Homer Simpson with Bart Simpson. I have stopped watching it a long time ago. But it is kind of a well-known example. Homer (the father) chokes his son quite often in the series.

One could say I am too politically correct. One should have the right to make jokes about that. I don't deny that. But myself a survivor of child abuse ask myself why people have to laugh when they see something like that. VIolence is often a gag in series or movies. I think of one anime where the wife slaps her husband all the time. And all the time it is seen just as a little bit of funny arguments between them.

I am not sure whether such fictional series contribute to the problem of domestic violence. I have the feeling in some series it is compared with showing affection to your loved ones. And yeah it is kind of sick to imagine something like that. But this is exactly how my mom perceived the abuse of her children. Very sick indeed.

One could say my mom is just too dumb to differentiate between fictional humor and real life behavior. Call of Duty is also not responsible when someone starts a shooting. And I doubt that fictional series gave my mom the idea for the abuse. I rather think this is a behavior which was inherited over generations.

However I ask myself whether such jokes contribute to an environment where we consider such a behavior as sanctioned.
And why exactly do people laugh when a child gets beaten by their parents? Like in cartoons violence is a mean to make people laugh. It is kind of natural to sometimes feel schadenfreude. It would also be lame if this would be fully prohibted.
 
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veryhappyhuman

veryhappyhuman

Experienced
Aug 25, 2021
253
In fairness, in the specific case of the simpsons, Homer is shown generally to be a crude, unintelligent character with backward thinking who can barely tie his shoes. So I don't think the audience is supposed to take his side in the abuse or consider it justified. I guess it's intended to contrast between Bart's intelligent/creative (for his age), but cunning and cruel pranks vs Homer's brutish, "this is the only way I know how to respond" response to whenever Bart crosses the line. I could be wrong tho.

But overall I get and agree with what you're saying. There is nothing funny or entertaining about child abuse. Sadly until recently corporal punishment was not only considered acceptable worldwide, but kind of the default way to handle out-of-line kids, so the general attitudes will take time to completely change I guess. In my third world country there is even a saying which translates to "the hand which hits, also embraces", which some parents (still) use to justify physical abuse.
 
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WhatPowerIs

WhatPowerIs

Experienced
Jun 19, 2022
233
I think everybody has a joke about a certain subject matter that they would like to draw the line at.
 
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Banshee

Member
Oct 25, 2021
44
I've always believed that no matter the subject, whether it be innocent or horrific, all jokes should be fair game. Actively censoring jokes because of the feelings of some people will lead to the death of comedy and humour. I totally understand why someone would get upset over something like a dead baby joke, especially if they lost a child; or rape, assault etc.. And it can be very triggering but at the same time I used to work with a person who would have panic attacks when people would start a knock-knock joke because they had someone knock on their door years ago and when they answered they got robbed. When people start to accept the censorship of something, people start to say "well what about me". Over the course of time we'll all be living in the real life Equilibrium lol.
 
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RareSoul

Member
Oct 18, 2021
10
I have very mixed feelings on this subject. When I was a child, I was abused (mostly emotionally) by my parents. I was also an avid reader of Donald Duck comic books, I had a huge collection of them. I remember very well one specific comic (the title was "Generation Clash") in which Donald Duck was shown running after his nephews with a rod with the intention of beating the hell out of them. (Whether there was any actual scene of beating, I don't remember). Throughout the whole comic Donald Duck was shown exhibiting a lot of aggression for his nephews. I remember the scene in which he looks at some gift they bought for him, but then remembers their bad behaviour and gets into an angry frenzy, kicking their toys and so on. The nephews themselves were not portarayed as innocent victims but very nasty themselves, playing all sorts of cruel tricks on Donald, such as posioning him and trying to humiliate him in front of other people. There is even a scene in which they give a tip to child protection services and a suspicious lady visits the house. But it doesn't seem to lead to anything and if I recall correctly, the comic ends with Donald lying in a hospital bed (poisoned by his nephews) and the nephews by the bed, making some kind of peace with Donald.

I have extremely mixed feelings about all this. From today's perspective it's clear to me that the comic was so important to me because Donald as portrayed there was extremely similar to my father, with his angry fits and switching between anger and „love". But did that comic help me or rather harm me? I don't know.

In the current moment, I would probably rather say that it helped me. Yes, by portraying Donald's nephews as very nasty (and basically deserving of Donald's wrath) it might have contributed to my belief that I am myself evil and deserving of my father's wrath. But the thing is, I had to believe that anyway to survive. It's terrible when a child believes that he/she is bad and deserves the abuse, but it's still better than the realisation that they are not loved by the parents, that the parents are incapable of love. The latter option means no hope at all, and every human being needs hope to survive.

So in what way could the portrayals of abuse I saw as a child (which I couldn't know at that time were portrayals of abuse) help me? In the same way a good movie/book in which I identify with some aspects of some characters help me today. When I watch, say, „Consequences of Love", a film with whose very lonely and desperate character I identify, I somehow feel less lonely in the universe. I somehow feel understood.

But that does not mean that I support portraying abuse in children's comics or cartoons. To be honest, I don't really know. I just wanted to share some reflections about that one comic that I remembered in relation to your post.
 
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