Welcome back family! I’m glad you made it back through to check out another post. This, I feel, is going to be one of my more interesting posts because it tackles SO many issues. I’m also going to warn you. This post is going to be longer than usual. So, here we go...
My brother Brandon called me last Friday, I believe, and asked me had I heard about the stabbing that took place on the campus of Frostburg State University. If you haven’t heard, a stabbing occurred sparking from a conflict between two young adult women at a site off campus. Not even 2 months ago, my alma mater Bowie State University, experienced a similar tragedy just before celebrating our homecoming. This event really grabbed people’s attention because a) it’s the second fatal fight at the Frostburg State University in the last year and a half and b) the second stabbing/death within the last couple months in a University System of Maryland school.
So Drae, are you writing a blogpost about women and violence?
No, not quite. However, I am going to dive into why I believe this situations have occurred and what we need to do in order to prevent any more of these happening. As Brandon and I continued our conversation, we talked about what we believed to be the cause this violence, lack of female role models, parenting, and the like. He mentioned a couple weeks ago how he asked his students who they wanted to be like. Particularly focusing on the young women, the majority of their responses revolved around Beyonce’ or Nicki Minaj. He was very disappointed that those were the two names that floated around the topic of discussion. I believe that to be pretty disappointing as well especially when there are so many gifted influential black women around right now and those who have gone before us. I made a statement that really hit home and resonated with the both of us. “B, I think its television. What if we took a look at what’s on television and what are the more popular shows especially for women now? Basketball Wives, Braxton Family Values, Mafia Wives, Housewives, Bad Girl’s Club, and many more.” What’s my point? My point in naming these shows is that these shows are particularly centered around women and their drama. Not just drama, but drama handled INEFFECTIVELY! More times than enough they end with a drink being thrown in someone’s face, pulling of hair, or some type of scuffle. The difference between what happens on those shows and what we see happening in our society is there are no security guards and stage/camera crews following us around to break-up these scuffles. The results of the scuffles we see are lives taken, people injured, and relationships broken.
Call me pressed, legalistic, or anal, but I talk to V (my wife) often about how much of those shows she watches. Just about every time I happen to walk through the living room or bedroom and she has the television on, I hear a lot of bickering, yelling, and cursing (being bleeped out though). I end up stopping dead in my tracks, watching for a couple moments, and then asking V, “What in the world is going on?” What’s my point? My point is these are the more popular shows that women are watching. They’re also being exposed to the various types of conflict these women are experiencing. My problem is they’re NOT being exposed to how to handle conflict productively or being shown effective conflict resolution skills. I told V, “You got one time to respond to me like these women on these shows respond to their husband or each other.”
Studying Organizational Communication, a couple of the recurring topics discussed are conflict and crisis management. How do you deal with the ugly terms “conflict” and “crisis”. Two of the most ugly words the majority of people run from! Well, reality television gives us a false perception of how we, in this case particularly women, should deal with conflict. I hear it all the time. “Evelyn (cast member from Basketball Wives) is my girl! I love Evelyn.” I’ve seen portions of a couple episodes and it seems as if she is the nucleus of all the drama taking place on the show. And because this is one of the more popular shows on right now, it’s also a hot topic of discussion on Social Media.
Social Media plays a HUGE part in why we don’t handle conflict well. It has given us a false sense of an “outlet” and a mindset of “Now that I put this status up, I finally got this off my chest.”. In a recent talk I did about Organizational Conflict, I was asked the question by one of my cohorts, “Don’t you think we should master handling conflict through technology/social media?” My response was a tactful, respectful, yet simple, “No.” No, because if we must master communication via technology/social media, what will happen to face to face conversations? A lot of people don’t have iPads/Tablets and won’t buy them because they love the feeling of having a book in their hands and turning the pages not swiping their fingers across a screen. The only reason why people went Digital (TV) was because Analog was made obsolete.
So to say we must master handling conflict via technology/social media is to say face to face conversation is going to become obsolete.
There are some “valuables” we cannot afford to sacrifice. If you’re sitting in front of me, you can pick up on a number of things during our conversations: emotion, sensitivity, body language, facial expressions just to name a few. I cannot accurately pick these things up during an exchange via text, email, tweet, and/or wall post. This form of communication has been so popular, law enforcement use twitter and facebook pages as legal evidence to see just what the person tweeted, what they could’ve been feeling when they put that status up, etc.
Last thing and I’m out of here. I promise. A couple weeks ago, I came across a program called Miss-representation. Lisa Ling, Executive Producer & Host of OWN’s Our America, says “As a culture, women are brought up to be fundamentally insecure.” This is a 90 minute film exposing the tactics of how media represents women, which is degrading, violent, demeaning, or sexually offensive. I challenged a large group of women to watch this program to open their eyes to this “elephant in the room”. One of the women interviewed says “A women can’t be what a women can’t see.” I KNOW there are some strong, intelligent women out here however and that’s A BIG HOWEVER; if the media aren’t portraying these type of women as much as they are the “housewives” then that’s all our young girls and teenagers see. In the end and after all this has been said, I want to see women do better. Prove society wrong by being more than just mere objects for men and their fantasies.
Thanks for reading. I’d love to get some of your feedback.